I wonder about all these “negative” people my friends talk about from whom they always seem to be running. Who are they? I have a hunch that sometimes these “negative” people, or non-people, may really be those who don’t happen to tow our line; the ones who may not always agree with the course we have set for some reason. And because they do not support us unconditionally, we feel, as a matter of self preservation, the need to eliminate them from having any further negative influence on our lives. So we sever our relationship. My thought being: is it possible some of these negative people may actually be of value to us?
To be sure, I am not saying we should somehow put up with those who would abuse, manipulate, in short, take from us. Nor am I saying we somehow deserve negativity in the form of obstruction or insults, in our lives. These are two very destructive Cognitive Distortions.
It is possible, however, that this desire to get away from negative people may be related to issues we may have around authority. We say, “who is this person to tell me how to paint?” or “I don’t need any help from that know it all.” It reminds me of my recent blog about the The Role of the Master, where I suggested how easy it seems for healthy, growing individuals to switch between playing the role of the master or the student throughout their lives. These people seem to go further, faster than the rest of us. They accept that everything has its season and a reason for being in their lives. They know how to make the most of almost any opportunity placed before them.
I remember periods, however, at various times in my life, when I perhaps was overly sensitive to these so called negative people. I resisted “bad news” from those placed in my life to tell me what I needed to hear. I realize now, this was a result of weak boundaries on my part. Once I could accept that these “negative” people were actually separate from me, that the master/student roles are not real, but fluid, created by mutual agreement, that in fact these “negative” people had far less power over me than I thought, two things began to happen.
The difficult people, the ones motivated by envy and fear, stopped receiving oxygen for the fires they were attempting to ignite in my life and began leaving me on their own. The other thing that happened, I began drawing amazing, wise people into my life, whom I found it easily to bestow my respect. I began to accept the lessons they had to teach me, however painful, without imbuing them with any special powers over me. I became detached from them but not the truth they had to reveal to me. In short, I became my own man. Once I was able to leave behind the Cognitive Distortion that “all people who disagree with me are out to take something from me,” I was able to get on track toward realizing my full potential.
I offer career coaching for those serious about a career in art. Also, If you like/don’t like or want to riff on the ideas expressed in these blogs, I encourage you to comment. Also, you may want to get a copy of Point of Art – Second Edition, or download it today. Don’t forget to check out The Portrait – a painting video and The Power of Positive Painting, the original portrait painting video.