How to Obliterate Negative Feedback and Become a Better Person

Overcoming Negativity

It’s coming up to the new year and at that time of year, we all start thinking about the year that’s fast approaching. There’s such desire to do new things, different things, zany things. We are filled with the desire to set new goals so that we can craft our new year in to the one that the current one, maybe, wasn’t.

I’m sure that as you look around, you’ll see the magazines filling up with the usual copy, the talk/chat shows lined up with the usual content and guests and the usual fare of movies preparing to come out at the cinema Everyone’s encouraging us to get out the pen and paper and write everything down that we think we want to do and achieve in the upcoming year. They’re telling us to get excited and get started now so that we don’t miss out and let another year slip by.

Recently I found myself doing just this and it was in one of these moments that I started to remember, albeit not too deeply, a time and experience that was the complete antithesis of this. I started to remember a time a few years ago that was very negative for me personally. To be honest it was at the end of a pretty bad relationship break up. Now I won’t bore you with the sordid and fetid details; but suffice to say that a couple of the statements that were made I still remember clearly to this day.

So What Happened?

A lot of things were said with main inference being without her I was going to be nothing; The implication was that I was incapable of really doing much and that my life was now over really. Now so often words can sting and have a far greater impact on us than physical damage or violence. One of the primary reasons is that we don’t always have a clear mental defence or recovery mechanism and that our own psychology and imagination can work not for us, but against us.

Instead of having a mental system, as we have white blood cells, to fight off and protect us from these experiences, we take in and store the experience and then our imagination and ability to rationalise stimuli get to work, contorting the experience out of all reasonable proportion. However this time, when I found myself remembering this experience, instead of feeling sad and sorry, I did the complete reverse.

I looked at my life since that time, particularly since relocating to London, England. I started going through the successes that I’ve had and how my life could not have been more opposite to the judgement that handed down to me. It’s not to say that I’ve not made mistakes since that time, I have. Doesn’t everyone?! But the more I looked at the last 4 years I continuously saw that I’d used that experience as a motivator instead of a poisonous experience and have been determined to make the most of what I have each and every day since.

Now I don’t want to have revenge or see any form of “sweet justice”. I don’t see that there’d be any point in attempting to do so – and quite frankly, why bother. It’s been and continues to be far more rewarding to take that experience on board and to become a much better, more complete, person as a result of it, to see a very positive and uplifting opportunity in it and to reflect how my life may not have become what it is today if I’d not had it. That’s not to say that I want to go through anything like it again - I don’t – but it hasn’t been a crippling or degrading experience.

What Can We All Do?

If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it,” the master replied, “to whom does the gift belong?

- Anon

Now this is all fine an dandy for me you say, but what steps can I do, what things can I do in my day-to-day life to make the most out of experiences like these? Handling negative feedback is different for everyone, but here’s a set of 4 tips to use to put it in to perspective and take away a positive, constructive outcome from the experience.

  1. Attempt to see if there’s an underlying intent beneath the negativity. Despite how much we like to believe that we’re rational creatures, our more base emotions still control and influence us much more than we admit. Often times, if people lash out, it’s because they’re not in control of their emotions; emotions such as embarrassment, pride, hurt and jealousy. Given this, their emotions ride rough-shod over the true intent and distort it out of proportion. So try and look at what the real point they’re trying to make is without all the surface noise they’re going on with.
  2. Remove yourself from the situation. When we feel that someone’s attacking us, it’s not unattural to want to defend ourself from the perceived attacker. But when we do this, not only do we, potentially, give the attacker more credibility, but also more justification and material to work with. What’s more, we blur our own sense of self and ability to act maturely and rationally. So by stepping back from the situation and taking time out – we’re able to lower the intensity of our own emotions and get a better perspective on what’s really going on.
  3. Accept your own responsibility. As much as we’d like to believe that it’s all them and not us, it’s rarely that simple; especially in interpersonal relationships. So as you take time out, look to see how much responsibility you have to accept yourself in the situation. Which leads to point four…
  4. Refuse to accept the negativity. Irrespective of how much or how little justification someone has, or feels they have, getting nasty and negative is rarely called for. So after you’ve done your best to understand them and accept your own part in the situation, feel free to throw the rest away and disregard it. Negativity rarely gets anyone anywhere, so don’t waste your time analysing it. If the other party calms down and wants to talk rationally and maturely, then let them come to see you then. But until then, you don’t have to take it on board if you decide not to.

How Do You Handle These Times?

When you have, seemingly, negative and detracting experiences in your day-to-day life – do you break yourself down through the process of analysis of it, or do you see it as an opportunity to become more than you were before? How do you come away from your negative experiences and make yourself an even better person? Share a comment – I’d really love to know.

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