Is There A Drainer In Your Life?

Are there people in your life that leave you feeling drained? You know the people I mean – regardless of how they start out, your conversations with them end up focused problems, what is wrong, complaints and negative rants. In spite of your attempts to steer the conversation to a lighter side, this just fuels their need to take a stand for their perspective with an almost admirable energy of conviction.

In most cases these people aren’t doing this to be mean or to bring you down. It is just the way they think.

In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) we learn about people’s Meta Programs which in short, help us to understand our various thinking patterns. Some people will have a tendency to notice what is right, working well, the good and will expand their conversations to reinforce these views. While others who naturally have the tendency to notice what is wrong, needs fixing and the bad will expand on such in their conversations.

Neither pattern is the “better way” of thinking, they each serve their purpose. Seeing what is right can lead us to feeling resourceful and good inside and as a result, more open to options and opportunities. Noticing what is wrong or needs fixing can leave one feeling needed and inspired to help make something better.

However like anything, when either focus is taken to an extreme both can lead to undesirable effects. For example, someone who insists on only ever seeing the positive, regardless of the circumstance may experience delusions and be in denial about some life situations that they really need to pay attention to. While someone who always sees the negative or notices what is wrong may experience less optimal moods on a regular basis and may become lethargic or depressed. You can avoid these extreme by remaining aware of how your thinking is making you feel – inspired, needed, curious, wanting to take action or down, depressed, isolated or delusional.

As a conscious creator, we know that ever what we focus on we will experience more of. Ideally you want to be able to see “all” of a situation, the good and bad, what is working well and what requires adjusting. From there the key is to maintain your focus on your desired outcome; to identify what the next step towards your desired outcome is and take it. Then the next step and next… continuing to acknowledge “all” of where you are NOW, to best discern what that next step will be. It is ok to see the negative, what makes the difference is what you do with this view. Do you expand on it, or does it inspire you into making a difference and taking action?

In respect to the people in your life, who are constantly draining your energy with their pessimistic views and negative conversations, remember that this is simply a thought and response pattern, in the moment being experienced at an extreme. It isn’t personal. There will always be events that will trigger us to lean more towards either end of the spectrum, bringing about more positive or less positive attitudes. However if you know someone who is constantly leaning over to the negative and find it draining, perhaps to the point of feeling toxic, here are a few tips that will help you to limit your time in this energy:

· After listening for a few moments change the subject. Start by looking for something you can genuinely compliment them on. Ideally the sincere flattery will shift their energy and focus, and then you can redirect the conversation in that lighter energy.

· Make it a constructive conversation by asking them what they would do differently. Challenge them into thinking of the opportunity being presented instead of just complaining and ranting about it.

· Acknowledge that they seem to be on a rant, ask them how much time they need to do so, (5-10min max.) and then agree to shift to a more uplifting conversation at that time – which may include what to do about it. Sometime people just need permission to clear. Give it a deadline.

· Take yourself out of the conversation. In a social environment, excuse yourself, look for people who are smiling and join them with your smile. Make sure to refrain from sharing what you just experience with the other person – leave that experience behind you. When on the phone, simply state you need to go now – no excuse necessary. If you are in a situation that you can’t escape then keep reading…

· Call them on it. Many people who have this tendency really like to think of themselves as positive people (and they usually are) and don’t even realize what they are doing. Offer that you notice they keep focusing on the negative – and get curious with them about it. There may be something going on underneath that they really need to talk about – especially if this is not their usual pattern of conversation. You could be attracting this part of them, as an opportunity to help them.

· Express your boundaries. If a friend, colleague or family member constantly brings up a topic that you do not want to discuss, tell them so and request that they not discuss this topic with you. I once had a neighbor who spoke about people from other cultures as well as people who are gay in a derogatory manner. For awhile I over looked these comments from this 70ish years of age gentleman, whom I realized grew up in a very different time than I. By overlooking, I realized I was indirectly encouraging the comments that I truly found offensive. One day I kindly, yet clearly, let him know that I neither appreciated nor condoned such comments, and respectfully requested that refrain from expressing them to me. He stopped. The added bonus was that I felt he demonstrated a greater respect for me as a result of that conversation.

· Remind yourself that this is just ONE part of their personality that you are attracting from them in the moment and start focusing on the parts of them you enjoy. This is one of my favorites, and a habit I find effectively rewarding. Believing that someone is more than they are demonstrating in any given moment is a powerfully attractive attitude; one that magically inspires the person at the receiving end of focus to embody.

© All Right Reserved 2009 Kim Barnwell –

Posted by on Friday, March 6, 2009 at 11:44 am 
Filed under Conscious Creators, Meta Programs, Negative Thinking, NLP, Positive Thinking · Tagged with

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