I am sure that if we all took a hard look at who or what props us up and brings us down it would be an eye-opening experience. It might not be a fun experience, but it would be authentic and real. It would allow us to access our vulnerable side and acknowledge who or what is good and bad for us. In turn, this would provide us the opportunity to act with our newfound realizations if we choose.

I do an exercise with my clients that allows them to explore who and what is good and bad for them and gives them the ability to create an actionable plan toward removing the bad and embracing the good. The negatives, whatever or whoever they may be, become obstacles to success, and unless we learn how to either change the dynamic with the negative influences or cut them out completely, we will not grow or be able to change the negatives in our life.

Many people are so close to having the success they want in life, but they are too comfortable with the status quo and they accept the negatives as norms. However, people cannot make transformational changes in their lives until they are willing to step out of their comfort zones and make the changes.

I am going to explain an exercise that has the potential to help you get in touch with your emotions and truly understand what helps you and what hinders you. Before I explain the exercise, know that it is most effective if you participate authentically and vulnerably and allow yourself to genuinely get in touch with your emotions.

THE EXERCISE

1. Make two columns on a sheet of paper. Label them Positive Influences and Negative Influences.

2. Think about all of the people or situations in your life that either lift you up or bring you down. Write them in the appropriate column.

3. Acknowledge the emotions you feel when thinking about each person or thing you wrote in the columns. Write the emotions down next to each column entry.

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Now that you have identified what people or situations bring you positive and negative energy, as well as a clear understanding of the emotional impact these people or situations have on you, you can work on engaging the positive and letting go of or adjusting the negative.

Embrace the positive by continuing to surround yourself with people and situations that affect you positively. These people and situations should help you feel confident and joyful.

Now that you know how to embrace the positive, it is time to tackle the harder part, which is handling the negative. In order to make effective change, you need to think about the people or circumstances that make you feel negative and then set goals to change or wholly reduce the negative. These goals should reflect how you intend on changing your negative situations and having unwanted conversations with the negative people in your life.

If a situation or person brings negativity into your life, you need to evaluate the pros and cons of the situation or person. Once you’ve evaluated the positives and negatives, you must decide if the positive benefits outweigh the negative emotions that the situation or person bring you. If you can’t foresee the person or situation having lasting and long-term benefits, despite the negative energy, then you need to remove yourself from that situation.

A negative effecting your life can be anything. If it is not a person, it can be a job, an organization you belong to, or even a situation you consistently find yourself a party to. If you can’t find a long-term benefit, you need to rethink constantly exposing yourself to the situation.

If the negative in your life is not situational but rather is a person, you need to try to grasp why this negative person does what they do to make you feel negative. Negative people are frequently negative due to negative situations they are in or negative people they are surrounded by. Often, people find themselves in situations where the negative person does not recognize that they are bringing negativity into the person’s life. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you allow yourself to acknowledge how a negative person impacts you, and you can then address the problem.

Sometimes you can help the negative people in your life to realize what they need to work on. Imagine if, after addressing how they affect you negatively, the negative person apologized, acknowledged that they did not known they were affecting you negatively, and thanked you for helping them to realize what they themselves might need to work on. That would be extremely powerful! You have the power to repair relationships on the brink of breaking, remove negative energy that affects you in unwanted ways, and help negative people realize the ways in which they need to change. If everyone realized and channeled this concept, it would be a HUGE win for humanity!

If a person still doesn’t see the value in your words after you’ve spoken to them then you may need to rethink the value they bring to your life. If you have garbage in the house that needs to be taken out because it smells, you shouldn’t just let it sit and fester. You should take it out to the trash. Likewise, you sometimes need to do this with toxic people.

You may be scared of the end result. Fear is the reason people are often afraid to step out of their comfort zones and stray from their norm. However, fear is an irrational emotion.

Do you remember the first time you went on a roller coaster? Your stomach was probably in knots and you were probably scared of getting sick at the coaster’s down plunge. You might have felt pressured by your friends to ride the coaster, or perhaps you had a fear of missing out. However, as soon as the ride ended you were likely exhilarated and eager to ride again, even though you were scared to death moments ago.

I know situations don’t always work out the way we want and that we can sometimes be hurt temporarily by a situation’s end result. Just keep in mind that temporary pain is still better than constant pain. If you want to fear something, fear regret. Regret is a far more rational fear with long lasting consequences than any other fear you may be facing.

Please share if any of this resonated with you.