Just last week, three businesswomen from different social groups confided in me that they were experiencing serious chaos in their lives and businesses. While listening to their stories of the craziness and frustration, it was difficult for me not to identify with them. I’ve been there too.
Woman number one mentioned that she was experiencing employee drama at work and personal drama at home. It seems that her employees were not getting along well and each was complaining about the other. While she was trying to navigate and resolve the employee relations issues, she was also trying to get to the bottom of why her child had started acting up at school.
The second woman lamented about having to fire a favorite employee for poor performance, only to be taken by surprise the next day when another employee announced his resignation. He didn’t think he could handle the workload. Ugg!
When the third woman shared her story, it got me thinking; there must be a reason why all these women were having similar experiences. I asked myself, what, if anything do these women have in common? Was this just a fluke, or was chaos becoming the new “normal” in businesses everywhere? That evening I asked my husband, the general manager of a local private country club (he oversees 275 employees), what he thought. Was he experiencing the same kinds of chaos at his company?
He answered, “People are making really stupid choices right now. It’s not like they don’t know what they are doing is wrong. They just don’t seem to care.”
As I stepped back to look at the bigger landscape, bigger than just the 1.5 million people who reside in my city, I mean the much bigger picture of the United States, I was reminded of all the chaos going on everywhere. In our government, schools, shopping malls, and on our freeways. People everywhere are doing and saying things that are inappropriate, hateful, and underhanded. I know that you’ve noticed it too.
Everyone is being affected.
Even if you haven’t been directly connected to the hot issues of sexual harassment, polarized politics, or mass shootings, you feel the energy impact these events are having. It’s the energy of anger, fear, lack of control, and blind hatred that penetrates the television screen filling your living room and across your social media channels. It negatively affects you. This sticky ugly energy sucks you into a story, causing you to feel desperation and hopelessness. Worse are the stories contrived to meet a single group’s agenda and manipulate your thoughts and feelings, like the mudslinging episodes during political campaigns.
Ultimately, what happens without us even realizing it, is we are sucked into the same cycle of fear, anger and resentment as those who are directly experiencing the mayhem. No matter how distant we are from the actual events, when we over-consume a storyline, the negative energy sticks to us, attracting similar events into our experience. That sticky negative energy acts as a beacon, drawing chaos to us on a smaller and more personal level. We are attracting confusion and disorder as we get more emotionally involved with the craziness going on. The more we expose ourselves to fake news, mudslinging, and disdainful behavior, the more we lose our own humanity and become one of them. In addition, we start to believe that our beautiful world is an awful place; when it is not!
What to do? Insulate yourself
What can you do to shield yourself from the chaos? What can you do to avoid becoming infected by negativity? Following these five steps will help.
- Put your shields up. Do you remember the TV show Star Trek? (OK, I realize that some of you reading this post will not recall the Klingons or Start Trek, so Google it.) When the Klingons would attack the Starship Enterprise, Captain Kirk would call out, “Shields up!,” and the entire ship would be surrounded by an invisible forcefield that protected it from incoming lasers. When you encounter negative energy from others or on social media, remind yourself to put your “shields up.” Protect yourself by imagining an invisible forcefield surrounding you. Let everything negative you see or read bounce off of you. Don’t let it get through the forcefield to hook your thoughts and emotions.
- Recognize the negativity for what it is – Other people’s emotions getting hooked. The negative energy of others does not have to be yours. Recognize that they, too, have gotten hooked just like you and me in the past. The thing is that they don’t know they have a choice to be unhooked. They’ve been sucked up onto the bandwagon and don’t even know it. You and I have the knowledge and where-with-all to make a different choice.
- Don’t engage. At all costs, avoid engaging with the messengers of negativity. Avoid reading, watching, and discussing negative messages. Don’t respond to emails, text messages, or social media posts that belittle, make wrong, or tout accusations about a person or group of people. Don’t share, retweet or repost messages of hostility or anger. Doing so perpetuates and expands the negative energy. Instead post positive, encouraging and supportive comments. Include stories of random acts of kindness, events of exceptional customer service, words of appreciation. Use language that lifts others up.
- Think for yourself. Don’t allow others (political groups, candidates, news media, workplace bullies, friends, or talk show hosts) tell you what you should think or believe. Question specific points of view. Work to understand other perspectives. Choose to be informed, but not easily swayed.
- Choose in advance how you want to feel. The power is yours to choose. By choosing in advance, you avoid leaving your emotions vulnerable to outside influences. That way you control what you want to feel. To this statement you may be thinking, “I’ve never thought about emotions that way. I thought they just happened.” They do just happen when you are not paying attention to them. The best way for you to control your emotions is to determine what it is you would like to feel. If you would prefer to feel just content, go right ahead, feel content. But if you’d like to feel optimistic, all you need to do is to decide to feel optimistic. For example: I’ve decided to feel optimistic. I’m optimistic that I’m going to have three new paid speaking opportunities show up for me very soon. I’m optimistic that our grand community, the US, will choose the path of kindness and humanity soon. I’m optimistic that I’m going to have sex with my husband tonight. You decide what you want to feel optimistic about. It’s truly up to you.
Remember, every day you get to choose whether you are going to live in chaos or something better. You have the power. It’s your choice. Stay alert to the events around you. Don’t get sucked in. And choose happiness and civility over negativity.
Interested in learning more ways to resolve and overcome unwanted emotions? Read my book, Emotional Self Mastery, The Best Book on Personal Power, Self-Confidence and Peace. In it you’ll find 12 techniques to help resolve negative emotions so you can live freely. Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Click here to read the first chapters for free.