Do you have negative or toxic people in your life? You know what I mean, the types of people who just suck the air out of a room and can rarely say anything without tearing others apart, or be condescending to so many around them?
I'm sure many of us have encountered people like this in our time in this realm. Sometimes they are strangers. Sometimes they are family. Sometimes they are co-workers.
The latter two can make things especially difficult, as the common advice you will hear from Buddhists or even Psychiatrists is to "remove toxic people from your life."
In fact, here is an excerpt from "Being Buddha at Work" by B.J. Gallagher and Franz Metcalf:
"THE BUDDHA DOESN'T mince words with his advice: avoid whiners, chronic complainers, and any other negative people.
Avoid them like the plague. Why? Because it's contagious. Just as a drunk wants you drunk, too, if you're going to be around him, so whiners want you to join in their whining. It's easy to get sucked into the negative energy of negative people-we all have frustrations and complaints about work, and sometimes it even seems like fun to join in the pile-on of cynicism and anger.
But don't do it. Resist the pack mentality that transforms these negative people into jackals. Run away if you must.
Instead, seek out positive people at work. Look for people who are up to something good and hang out with them."
They are right. It is contagious. How quickly when someone snaps at us or takes a condescending tone do we immediately place ourselves on the defensive, ready to strike back with our own comment or tone because we feel attacked?
I myself have fallen into that trap and reacted that way many a time, often times doing nothing to alleviate the situation. Instead, it just keeps the cycle of viciousness going, likely raising one's stress levels and blood pressure in the process.
Should we be forsaking our own mental and physical health because this one person will not let up?
I'm trying to learn from past snaps and take a more laid back approach. Sometimes, meeting a snarky question with a laid-back "good point," or "interesting question" can keep you from flying off the handle, the way our defense mechanisms immediately make us want to react. Sometimes it can make the person who is treating you poorly frustrated because they aren't getting to you.
Remember when on the schoolyard someone would bother you and your parents would say "just show them it doesn't bother you." Tough? Absolutely. In time, however, what is their point of going after someone who is not bothered by their attacks?
I don't know how familiar any of you are with the work of comic book legend Jack Kirby, but among the plethora of his creations was a character called Darkseid, an evil tyrant form a world known as Apokolips. On the fiery planet of Apokolips, with the exception of Darkseid's minions, all people are enslaved and hope has been wiped from their minds.
In those tales, Darkseid was always on a quest for what was referred to as "the anti-life equation."
The Anti-Life Equation is the equation for total control over the minds of sentient beings, and is the reason that Darkseid sends his armies to Earth, as he believes part of the equation exists in the human subconscious. Naturally, he often runs afoul of the likes of Superman and other heroes. Various comics have defined the equation in different ways, but a common interpretation seems to be that the equation is a mathematical proof of the futility of living.
They want you to give in to their own anti-life equation, abandon your hope for a brighter tomorrow or life and be miserable with them.
But you don't have to. You can resist.
It will be tough and there will be days that you feel like giving in or lashing out.
Let them choke on their own hate. They feed off your despair and without it, you will force them to starve.
2 years ago