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The most important relationship attracting quality
Dramas queens, whiners, gossips, naysayers, and rageaholics are some of the labels we use to describe the toxic people we know or encounter in our daily lives. We avoid them socially, limit our interactions with them at work, and when we encounter someone like this on a first date--we end the evening wishing we had stayed home with a good book or movie and take out.
No one likes to be around a negative person, so why would any of us act negatively? Perhaps because behavior often comes from an unconscious level--driven by false beliefs, past negative experiences, misinterpreted communication from others, and bad habits. Therefore, in order to assess how we interact with others, we need to view ourselves using our intellect--which allows us to apply objective reasoning and assists us in making conscious and informed choices regarding our behavior, all of which can lead to more satisfying outcomes. How do we do this? The following are specific action steps you can begin to take today.
* Begin every day with gratitude
Find one thing that is good in your life and reflect on how blessed you are because of it. Let this thought linger as you go throughout your day. This one action can not only help to lighten your mood, it will also lighten your outward appearance. Gratitude fuels feelings of security and goodwill, and leads to a sense of optimism--all of which contribute to the healthy glow we see in happy people.
* Stop negative thoughts before they become negative comments and/or behaviors
This one will require learning to take a step back mentally and take a breath literally--counting to ten when necessary before jumping into a conversation and sharing your thoughts. Once you interrupt the process, you can assess what you are thinking or about to say, and substitute something that is neutral, if not more positive. With consistent practice, you will anchor in this behavior and it will become automatic.
* Always look for a silver lining
No matter how bad a situation is at work or in your personal life--look for something positive that you can highlight or use to make it easier to deal with. There are some experiences in life that have no silver lining, but these are very few in number. Once you find that something, keep it in the front of your mind, and insert it into anything you share verbally. Others around you will feel more at ease in your presence, and will be more likely to seek your input or counsel.
* Be aware of your facial expressions and tone of voice
Smile when you pass people in the hall or on the street. Say hello and good morning, and do it like you mean it. Even when your mood is dark, acting happy will help you to feel happier--and others will register your positive behavior, even if they are aware of a difficult situation you may be dealing with. They will respect and like you better for it.
* If you can't think of something nice to say...
Yes, it's an old adage, but one that has a lot of wisdom to it. Silence is often seen as an exercise in discretion. This leads to others perceiving you as someone who speaks when you have something constructive or informative to share. Therefore, when you speak, others will listen because they place more value on your words.
* Avoid gossip
Even though others may join in, they will instinctively not trust someone who speaks badly of others. Therefore, when you walk into a room, expect lowered voices and/or confidential discussions to cease immediately. This behavior often places you on the outside as other people distance themselves from you.
* Don't make negative comments about co-workers, friends, family and/or acquaintances
It does not reflect well upon you--and often leaves others around you feeling uncomfortable and unable to trust you. After all, if these people you are speaking poorly about are your family, friends, or the people you choose to share a workplace with--what does this say about you?
* Learn to reframe negative thinking
When a negative thought pops into your head, learn to stop yourself, reframe it, and turn it around so that you find a more positive perspective. This will flow more easily once you have found that silver lining, which provides a great place to begin looking for a more positive view of the situation.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
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