In an ideal world, our brave adventures would be met with support and enthusiasm from the we people in our lives.
We’d have a cheering chorus of raving fans, saying “You can do it!” from the sidelines. Our successes, big and small, would be acknowledged and celebrated by the people we love and admire.
But that probably hasn’t been your experience.
It certainly hasn’t been mine either. It’s a lesson a lot of people have to learn the hard way.
Sharing your big goals and dreams is a big deal. In fact, it’s terrifying for a lot of people. And for your honesty and authenticity to be belittled or minimized is painful and it really does a number on your confidence.
So what is an ambitious person to do when she’s met with negativity from the people closest to her?
Take a deep breath and try one of these three ways to deal with negative people.
Ask for support.
I understand some people are conflict averse and that drawing attention to someone’s negative behavior comes with a risk of, well, potential conflict enhancement.
But here’s why I do this first: it’s possible that they’re not aware of how their behavior impacts you.
So I give people the benefit of the doubt and let them know right away, “Hey, this is what I’m doing and, you’re right, it’s a risk, but I’m asking for you to be supportive and positive. Can you do that for me?”
This is really nothing more than a clear request for support.
Find the right people.
This is so important and I say it all of the time: Find Your People.
You might need to cultivate a community of supportive people if this is something that you struggle with.
Meet-ups, Twitter chats and Facebook groups are all great places to connect with people who share your goals and values.
If you’re missing social support in your life, don’t hesitate to take the steps you need to find it somewhere else.
Create some space.
Even if it’s close family and friends that are the least supportive, you owe it to yourself to spend some time away from the negativity, cultivating new relationships and confidence, and making the time to focus on what matters to you.
This article, Creative People Say No, is a great summary of why it’s important to create boundaries around your creative work. If you struggle with boundaries, especially with people, check out the post for some inspiration.
Do you have a favorite strategy for dealing with negative people? Let me know in the comments below!