Friday, March 25, 2005

dealing with relentlessly negative people

How do you deal with people who refuse to see anything positive in their life or in other people?

You don't. Just leave them alone.

You can't change someone's mind if they're unwilling to be changed. If they want to face the world by curling up into a little ball, like a hedgehog, that's their choice. If they complain about their own situation, but then do nothing to change it, then they're responsible for their own pain. If they take simple situations and make them more complicated in their minds (remember Shakespeare's wise words: "There is no good or bad but thinking makes it so"), that's their problem, not yours. And if they insist on blaming everyone but themselves for the problems in their life, if they persist in viewing themselves as perpetual victims, then such people are, spiritually, crippled. Perhaps they need help, solace, comfort, and compassion, but the very first thing they need is to learn how to stand on their own two feet. That's not always something you can teach.

So if you encounter such negative people, leave them be. There's no need to waste your time meddling in their affairs: their deliberate ignorance about their surroundings means they won't appreciate a single thing you do.

Sometimes the only compassionate alternative is forbearance.


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