"Just think of any negativity that comes at you as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss." - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Negativity surrounds us. Turn on the news and prepare to be barraged with an uncontrollable wave of tragedy. Unfortunately, it comes at us in our daily life as well -- at work and home, in business and personal relationships.
When possible, we avoid it. But sometimes we have to face uncomfortable confrontation, bad mojo, head on. When this happens, it’s important not to take it all in like a sponge or lash out like a cornered animal, as both these reactions deplete your very soul.
Might we recommend a new metaphor for taking on life’s unpleasantries? Emotional Jujitsu. Jujitsu, as Wikipedia defines, “Represents manipulating the opponent's force against himself rather than confronting it with one's own force. The principle of using an attacker's energy against him, rather than directly opposing it.”
What would that look like, exactly?
Step 1: Fortify Yourself. Imagine bad energy coming at you -- from a person or a circumstance -- as a line or a ball or a wave a light. The first step is the capture and contain it so you don’t absorb it. It’s not about you and it’s not your experience, so don’t take it on and immediately make it your own. Other people’s thoughts and emotions and tragedies cannot actually hurt you without you willingly lowering your defenses. Fortify yourself with confidence before you find yourself at the other end of negativity.
Step 2: Assess and Define your Boundaries. What’s actually at stake in this encounter or circumstance? How do you want this to play out? Accessing the situation and defining your role (or where your role stops) is key to avoiding simply reacting. If you project yourself with boundaries, then you are in control of the energy expenditure. No need to discuss your limits or throw down. Just know them. As in, “If this person does X and Y, then I do X and Y.” One good boundary example is, “I don’t speak with people who raise their voice. I deserve respect.”
Step 3: Deflect or Discard. For this, we will refer to a great article by Mentalhelp.net labeled Psychological Jujitsu, which offers specific verbal moves and also this perfect general advice: “Using the principles of psychological jujitsu you softly blend, harmonize and redirect these energies back to the one who sent them in your direction. You can simply remain poised, unemotional and non-reactively present in silence, with neither a smile nor a frown on your face. You can take a deep breath and quietly release it. Feeling and resonating with their suffering, you can show your compassionate concern.”
Step 4: Refocus and Redirect. Once the energy has been volleyed and reworked, put out the energy you prefer for the situation. Mindful, joyful, calm or detached -- this experience is as much yours to define now as the person or circumstance who brought it to your attention. You’re involved, so don’t suck it in, as it is, like a sponge. Instead, make and reshape the circumstance into what you want.
And, remember, these situations are rarely personal. The negative person or circumstance before you, has not come to you with you in mind. Protecting and advocating for yourself is your job. Often, negativity simply comes because someone else wants to feel better by dumping or sharing their stress.