So I’m getting married.
…is most people’s reaction when they hear the news.
But there are some of those other people out there who pull this one:
“Oh, are you sure you want to do that?”
“Weddings are soooo expensive!”
“You’re gonna be engaged for how long? You’re just prolonging the stress, you know.”
“Marriage changes things.”
Wow. Thank you, Positive Penny. I’m so glad you support the decision we’ve made to celebrate our love.
I’m sure you’ve felt this way before, too:
You’re achieving great things or just had an exciting event happen in your life, and all a person wants to do is poo-poo all over it?
Some examples include:
“Congratulations on your recent weight loss! Now how long do you think it will be before you give up this dieting thing?”
“Wow, you left your corporate job to work for yourself? Is that really a good idea in this economy?”
“Oh my gosh, you’re pregnant! Hope you’re ready to put aside your hopes and dreams…”
Well, like I always say:
We can’t control other people’s actions, just our own reactions to them.
…easier said than done, right?
I thought I’d give this a little more attention today, especially because so many people around me are achieving great things! Let’s keep that positive momentum going and shield our happiness from the Negative Nancies!
This is what will probably happen in you subconsciously after being questioned or confronted…
1. You tell the person how excited you are about XYZ.
2. The person acts or says something unsupportive, negative or just plain mean.
3. Defenses go up, making it difficult to listen to reason, your own or theirs.
4. You feel upset that this person took the wind out of your sails, either blaming them and getting angry, or questioning yourself and your happiness. You might even feel stupid for having gotten excited about it in the first place.
Stop right there!
It’s time to reframe the way we’re looking at this situation.
Instead of closing off, getting mad, or turning in on yourself, take a breath and remember these steps:
1. It most likely has nothing to do with you
Step one is to realize that most people’s comments are a reflection of their past or present that they are projecting onto you.
For instance, most people that have been negative about marriage to me are those who have gone through nasty divorces.
There is a case of “let me save you from the hardships I went through” here, and for that, we should be grateful. Even though it may come across as harsh, they are trying to save us from pain or disappointment. They’re trying, in their own way. :)
Another factor could be jealousy. They might look at what you have or what you’ve accomplished, and wish they had that, too… but since they don’t, they don’t want you to bask in the glory of it either, so they’re gonna try to take you down a peg.
Yeesh. Scary to look at on paper, but all to common out there in the real world.
Maybe they lost weight and gained it all back before.
Maybe they desperately want to leave their job but never got up the balls to do it.
Maybe they’re having a hard time getting pregnant and it hurts to hear that someone else has been successful.
People don’t want to suffer in pain by themselves. If they don’t have the right coping mechanisms, they could very well try to drag other people into their misery so they feel less alone.
They feel weak and out of control, so they try to gain back control over YOUR feelings by taking away your happiness.
Do me a favor:
Don’t let them.
These Negative Nancies–whether they’re this way by choice or subconsciously–can only take away your happiness if you let them.
2. Before you respond…
Deep breath in.
…aaaaand let it out.
3. Frame an honest, level-headed response
With this step, you want to address two things:
A. Be honest and open; it will have better results than if you were to come from a place of anger or melodrama.
B. Let them know that comments like this are not welcomed with a rebuttal that stops the conversation entirely.
Letting this person know how their comment hurt you is a way to avoid negativity like this from happening in the future.
This person may have no clue that their words have such an effect on you.
Acknowledging their attempt to save you from pain and without placing blame, tell them how you feel about their response.
“When you ridicule my diet, I feel like you’re not supporting me and my journey to health.”
“I understand that you want the best for me, but I feel that this is what’s best and I would really appreciate your support.”
“It means so much to me that you care for me enough to voice your concern, but this is something I’m really excited about and something I’ve been working toward for a long time. I don’t appreciate the negative comments.”
…or mine: “I think every couple’s journey is different and since we’re not the typical couple who relies on a piece of paper to keep us together, we’re just really excited to celebrate our love and take this next step in our lives… but I appreciate your concern. Namaste.”
Be ready for their defenses to go up. Be ready for them to fire something right back at you.
They most likely aren’t expecting a calm and collected rebuttal from you, so their prepared arguments won’t fly here.
But they’ll probably try to use them anyways. Nastiness can start spewing here. Be prepared.
The good part about this? You’re already prepared to deal with whatever they throw back at you.
Just repeat steps one through three!
The more calm and confident you are when discussing your feelings, the less they’ll feel they can pull one over on you. Eventually, they’ll probably give up trying to sway you with their “advice.”
You’ll be hearing less poo-pooing in no time.
Are you coming up against Negative Nancies in your life? Have you dealt with them successfully in your past?
I’d love to from you in the comments:
How do you deal with negative comments, and what would you suggest other people do to avoid taking poo-pooing personally?
Looking forward to hearing from you guys!
photos by Helga Weber