You’re feeling great and flying high… then in walks that one person who always seems to bring you down. And, just like you expected, your good mood falls apart now that you’re in their presence.
If you feel too easily influenced by other people’s emotions… Or if you find it difficult to keep your balance when others are acting overly dramatic, read on!
The fact is, you have the ability to stay positive even when you’re in relationships with dramatic people. It comes down to understanding and practicing just a few simple principles. Commit yourself to these, and you’ll achieve mastery – not just in your relationships, but in every area of your life.
Principle #1: What you focus on will expand.
The powerful Law of Attraction states that like attracts like. As harmonic energies are drawn together, they become stronger. This means that focusing on or complaining about another person’s drama will only accentuate it in your experience. Trying to combat negativity with negativity is the fastest way to create more of it.
So, what’s the alternative?
Deliberately decide at the beginning of each day or each interaction where and how you’re going to focus your attention. For example, in a work environment, you can choose to focus on your team’s past successes. With your children, you can focus on their untapped potential or on how much you adore them. Before date night with your spouse, you can mentally run through a list of their most pleasing and attractive aspects. Staying positive, even when you’re in a relationship with dramatic people, is all about intending this ahead of time.
Even in an unpleasant encounter, you can imagine it ending well, or withdraw your attention from it altogether. You have the power to direct your focus in ways that replenish you rather than weaken you.
Principle #2: Your emotions will guide you if you let them.
How many times have you found yourself knee-deep in someone’s drama and have no idea how you got there? Our emotions are guiding us moment by moment along the path of our greatest joy. But often we don’t acknowledge this guidance until the faint whisper of our inner voice has escalated to a scream.
One of the most valuable pieces of information your emotions can give you is related to your own personal boundaries. They alert you, subtly and directly, when you’re about to make a choice that is not in your best interest.
When you’re sensitive to your emotional guidance system, you don’t get swept up in other people’s momentum. You recognize that their emergency does not need to become your emergency. With practice, you will learn to stay connected with yourself – to feel yourself – no matter what’s going on around you. You can say yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no. You can stay positive, even when you’re in a relationship with dramatic people.
Your emotions tell you when the choice you’re about to make will lead to greater empowerment or to greater bondage. Choose in the direction of what feels best to you.
Principle #3: The language you use doesn’t describe reality; it creates your reality.
Words are not neutral. Both the words we speak aloud and those we ponder in our own minds have tremendous creative power. Our words reflect back to us our dominant state of mind.
When you find yourself using words such as “always” or “never…” When you find yourself justifying or explaining yourself… When you’re catastrophizing… And anytime you catch yourself complaining, stop and take a break. Recognize that in this moment, your words are contributing to a reality that you don’t want to live.
To use the power of words to your advantage, speak only about what you want, and about what is going well. Allow only those comments to escape your lips that are positive in nature, and that serve you and your happiness. Give yourself permission to use words that enhance and support the way you want to feel.
In truth, those who push your buttons are giving you a valuable gift: Their lack of control is showing you that you desire to be a more deliberate creator of your life.
You don’t need to feel victimized by their bad behavior. You don’t need to waste your energy pointing out their faults. And you certainly don’t need to assume the role of their coach, therapist, or rescuer. You can consciously decide how you want to respond to the dramatic people in your life. And once you show yourself that you have this power, you’ll be truly unstoppable.
Christy Whitman is a transformational leader, celebrity coach, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Having It All: A Woman’s Guide to Unlimited Abundance. For more insights like these on how to create joyous, fulfilling relationships, join her on her Conscious, Connected Coupling Podcast.