Ep 025: How to Deal with Negativity From Other People

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If you have been on the internet for any amount of time, you have probably experienced negativity in some form. Whether it is directly toward you or you see it on someone else’s posts. There is negativity out there big time. It seems anytime you share something, someone will find a way to be offended by it or they will have something negative or irritating to say about it.

Negativity is never going to stop. It will always be there. But instead of trying to avoid it, we need to speak out truth. We need to live our best life and live how we are called to live. We need to set ourselves free from the weight of the opinions of other. Because when you stop letting negativity affect you, you’ve won.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • The reality that negativity is always there. But it is how we respond to it that matters.

  • The importance of speaking out truth + living with purpose, regardless of what people say.

  • How you are not called to carry the weight of other people's opinions.

  • What to say when someone is intrusive or puts their opinions on you.

  • What she has learned about silence, when to respond and when not to.

  • The freedom that comes from realizing that you do not have to convince people of anything. Just be you!

  • How you can protect yourself from negativity by removing yourself from unhealthy situations + people.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that. If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home. And Your Uncluttered Home will guide you to that freedom! 


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hi friends! This is The Purpose Show. I am so glad you are listening. This is Episode 25 and I am talking today about how to deal with negativity from other people.

If you have been on the internet for any amount of minutes, you have probably experienced seeing a bunch of negative comments on someone’s post or page. Maybe you are an influencer yourself and have been on the brunt end of it. I have gotten negative comments on my personal Facebook page before.

There is negativity out there big time. It seems anytime you share something, someone will find a way to be offended by it or they will have something negative or irritating to say about it. No matter what it is. I have gotten so many negative comments and rude messages. I have even gotten some disturbingly negative, rude, and awful comments.

I think it’s funny. How can you even find anything like that to say about my message? I am talking about lightening your load as a mom. Living an unburdened motherhood. Helping you declutter.

It is so funny that no matter what you talk about, people will find a way to be negative. Or they will find a way to say something that grates your nerves. Or see some way where you are wrong and they feel like they have to show you the right way and put you in your place.

I have also found that if you are an influencer or you have a blog, people seem to think that you think you’re “all that.” They get weird that you even have a platform. They try to be the one to say something to show that you are wrong: “They don’t know this. I know this. I am going to leave this comment and bring them down. Make sure that they know they are wrong.”

It’s like an unspoken war. People get annoyed or upset that you have a platform, and they don’t or something. It’s just funny. It’s 2018. You can literally go and make a blog about anything in about five minutes. If you want a platform, you can go make your own platform instead of purposely bringing someone down who does.

Anyway, I don’t want to talk about this in light of what I do because I know not everyone is a blogger, an influencer, has a platform or an audience. I want to share some things that I have learned from an excessive amount of negativity. I have had blog posts go viral. I have done major media circuits like Good Morning America, The Jenny McCarthy Show, The Today Show, ABC News, and Fox News. I definitely think that when that happens and you have that virality going on, the negativity swarms you.

Negativity always stands out more than positivity. While all this negativity was coming in, there was probably 90% more positive words coming in. But, by nature, we notice the negative more often. I do want to encourage you that you can train yourself to not notice it as much. You can train yourself to focus on the positive.

I have been in a position where people are slewing negativity at me all of the time. Some of it is really hurtful. Some of it has been disturbingly negative, hurtful and awful. It has taught me how to handle negativity in real life, in day-to-day interactions, that apply to everyone.

I have gotten asked about this quite a few times lately, probably because you see the comments and wonder how I handle it. I am happy to open up and hopefully shine some light on this subject and offer some encouragement.

The negativity is never going to stop. There is always going to be negative people in the world. There is always going to be darkness versus light. Evil versus good. Rudeness versus courtesy. I think instead of trying to avoid it and be people pleasers, we need to speak our truth and live out our purpose. We need to live our best life and live how we are called to live.

Unless you are purposely hurting someone, there is nothing wrong with that. You should be unashamed of that. Unashamedly living our lives well in the way that we feel called to live it, even if others disagree. We need to know how to deal with blatantly negative comments from people.

Let’s first talk about what to say or do when someone is intrusive or puts their opinions on you. Everyone always says, “everyone is entitled to their opinion.” Yes, that’s true. But I don’t think you should be entitled to just blurt out your opinion of how someone else is doing their life.

For example, if an article is on the internet sharing about minimalism. Then saying, “what does everyone think about this?” Then letting everyone share their opinion because “everyone is entitled to their opinion.” How ever strongly worded they want their opinion to be is on them, and that reveals their character.

But here is an example, in my opinion, of a “not OK” time to share your opinion. You decide to stop homeschooling and put your kids in public school. Maybe a relative or someone says, “Well, they are definitely going to get mixed up in the wrong crowd now. It might be fine now, but when they are teenagers, you are really going to regret this.”

That’s a “not OK” time to put your opinion on someone else. That’s a complete opinion - that every kid who goes to public school turns out a certain way. That is totally untrue. It is not backed up by anything, and that’s someone’s opinion. If these were her children, she would not do that, which makes it her opinion. But these are your children and you are doing this. For someone to forge their way into your life and inflict their opinion on you is wrong and rude.

I think the best way to look at this is that this person is being a bully. They are making you listen to their opinion. They are putting you down. They are making you feel “less than.” And that’s what bullies do. The best way to handle it, unfortunately, is to “kill them with kindness.”  And it sucks. It is hard. It definitely not my normal reaction to things.

Either be silent and smile. Or maybe say, “Wow! You feel really strongly about that. OK, I am going to go check on the kids,” and then just walk away. Or say something totally kind like, “Wow! You feel really strongly about that. I am really impressed by your striking opinions about raising kids. I think it is really neat that you feel so strongly about that.” You literally turn it on its head and reverse it. You get what I am saying?

It is almost sarcastic. You are backing up and giving them the floor. Acknowledging, “That’s a lot. That’s a very forceful statement that you just said.” They wanted you to see that they feel really strongly and it’s very important to them. You can just smile and move on.

I have had a circumstance where someone was very rude and intrusive, and they really put me down with the decision that I had made. And I just said, “Wow! You really feel strongly about this. I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t feel that way. This is just what works out for us.” Then I just walked off.

You are giving them the space to share their very loud feelings. Then you are gently reminding them “this is your opinion; not mine. If I felt like that it would be really unfortunate for me because this is how life is going right now.” Just let it go and don’t try to match it with your opinion.

I have found that doing that, in person or on live streams, has really helped. You can just ignore a comment online. I also want to say there is such a strong case for silence. Almost always the answer is just to not respond, especially if it is online.

If you are on Facebook and there’s a relative who is chronically rude and negative, or has to find a loophole to a helpful article you shared, and has to say something rude about it all of the time, just don’t give it the time of day. Don’t delete it. Don’t respond to it. Just let it sit there. Just let them do their thing. Just be silent.

This is how I handle messages that are alarmingly rude, mean, annoying, not nice, or not helpful. I have had people tell me they hate the sound of my voice. They wished I would just change the way I talk so they could get the great message inside of my podcast episodes. I have had a few people tell me that I am extremely annoying. That I am ugly. That I am a terrible mother. That my kids should be taken away from me. What? OK.

I have had people tell me some really awful things. But I have also had people say things like “You have such a pretty face, you really shouldn’t hide it with those big, hipster glasses.” And I am like, “What do you want me to do? I’m blind. Those are my glasses.”

People are so mean. The best way to handle those kinds of things on both ends of the spectrum is just silence. Just silence. Don’t even give it attention.

Also give it silence in your own brain. It is not worth the space in your own brain and for you to worry about it, or let it bother you. Learn to let it go.

I think a big part of dealing with negative people and negativity from other people, is learning and realizing that you do not have to convince them of anything. You do not have to convince them that you are a good homeschooler and this is going to work for your kids. You do not have to convince anyone that this move across the country is the right thing for your family. You don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t have to uphold that in yourself.

I always remind myself of that. I don’t have to convince people that minimalism works. That’s not my job. I don’t have to explain myself. I don’t have to convince them.

If someone is rude to me or tells me that what I do is a waste of time, is stupid and pointless, I don’t have to convince them of that. I don’t have to convince them of anything.

I don’t have to convince people that homeschooling is right for my family. I don’t have to convince them that I don’t need to have a capsule wardrobe. That was a good one. The podcast episode that came out in the beginning of this podcast (I don’t remember what episode it was), was about not having a capsule wardrobe. I got lots of messages saying, “Thank you! This was so freeing for me. I always feel like I should have a capsule wardrobe, but it really doesn’t work for me. I just want to thank you for sharing that you don’t have one and it doesn’t work for you either.”

Then I got a bunch of other messages saying, “You obviously don’t even know what a capsule wardrobe is. You should go check out this girl. You should really reconsider. You are totally being a hypocrite.” These negative messages – who cares if I have a capsule wardrobe? It was hard for me to do that episode because it was like, “Who cares?”

But I am glad I did because it put the message out there that I wanted. That it is not about following rules. Minimalists have capsule wardrobes. I am one of the trailblazers in the minimalist niche so I should have a capsule wardrobe. It is not about that. It is about setting yourself free and doing what works for you. Just sharing your message. That’s all I am doing – sharing my message. If you like it, great! If you don’t, that’s OK.

People have to try to convince you that you are wrong. That their way is better. When I release the approach of convincing other people that I am right, it fizzles out the argument. There is nothing else to say.

For example, when I did the episode about capsule wardrobes. All I said was that this didn’t work for me. I tried it for a long time and it totally stole my joy. So, I let it go. Now I am happier. This is what I do and it’s great.

Then people sent me messages trying to convince me. That’s what the fight usually is. Them trying to convince you. “I don’t like what you just said because it brings up something in me about the way I am doing my own life, so I want to tell you that you are wrong. Try to convince you that I am right.”

If I were to respond convincing them that my way is right, it just fuels that fire. Fans the flames. But when I am coming from a place where I know that I don’t have to convince anyone that I am right, then there is no gasoline on that fire. There is no more air. It fizzles out. It takes two people to argue.

Just respond with “I am so glad you love capsule wardrobes. I totally see the point of them. I think it is great that you have figured out something in such a troublesome area of life (the wardrobe) that works for you.” Or just don’t respond at all if they were super rude.

I give you these examples to base your real-life or social media interactions. Stop trying to convince people that you are right. That’s what most of them are doing to you. If you don’t do it back you can let go of that need to be right. That need to say the last word. That need to correct. That need to come out on top. If you do that, you won’t have a lot of controversy.

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Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home.

Simplify your life. alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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I think it is also important to set yourself free from the weight of opinions of others. You are not called to carry that. It doesn’t matter. If you let yourself hold on to other people’s opinions and it bothers you that your relatives don’t agree with how you’re raising your kids, where you’re moving, or your marriage choices, it really doesn’t matter. If you choose to carry the weight of their opinion, you are going to feel so heavy. I think it is really important to let that go.

For me and my faith, there is only a couple of opinions that matter to me: the Lord’s and if I am following His will for my life, and my husband. I care very much about what my husband thinks. We are in agreement with things that matter. That’s all I really care about. Of course, I care about the opinions of the other people who I care about and am doing life with, but in a healthy way.

If my mom didn’t agree about homeschooling and I know this is right for us, that would be OK with me. There is a difference in seeking wise counsel and caring about the opinion and carrying that weight. Set yourself free from that. You will feel so much lighter.

I also want to address removing yourself from unhealthy situations. I am going to use Facebook as an example. I like social media. I think it is really neat. I have moved across the country away from everyone that I know and love before. I have a business that thrives on social media. I keep in touch with grandparents that way. I have loved social media since it came out.

I used to use my personal Facebook account all the time. I would share things on there. I would share what was going on in our day, share videos of the kids, and use it for what it was meant for. But I found that Facebook, for some reason, was chronically negative. It really started to bring me down.

Then a couple of years ago around the time I started my business, I just found myself wanting to use it less and less. I started to dread going on there. Every time I did go on there, I would leave feeling “less good” about myself and my day. It became this war zone of opinions. I started to really not like it.

I found myself wanting to help and share. I would share a helpful article or something that happened with the kids, and I would get a comment, “Oh were you driving when you videotaped this?” Of course, I wasn’t driving. Why would I post a video of me playing with my son when I am driving?

Or I would share a helpful article and someone would say something like, “Oh, I read about this. Actually, apples are causing cancer and you shouldn’t eat apples, so this is all a lie.” It was really annoying all the time.

I actually stopped using Facebook personally. Now I don’t go on and update my personal Facebook ever. I actually posted on there a few months ago saying, “Hey friends and family! Sorry, we moved back to California, so we are here. We don’t really use Facebook anymore, so if you don’t follow us on Instagram, you probably don’t know what is going on with us.”

It had been years since I updated my Facebook page. I really go on there to interact with the ladies in my business Facebook groups. I don’t use my personal Facebook anymore for personal reasons. I needed to remove myself from an unhealthy situation.

You have to find the balance. What is your heart issue? What is something you need to get over and work through? What is a chronic negative energy in your life that you can expel?  Facebook was mine.

It might be a person, too. It might be a person that you can get away from. If it is someone that you work with and is there every time you go to work, that’s something that is different that you will have to find a way to work through.

Just because someone is related to you, doesn’t mean they have a right to drain you. To be a vampire in your life, to drain the energy from you constantly. You can set up boundaries and stop seeing that person.

However this may apply to your life, I would encourage you to look for ways to remove yourself from unhealthy situations where it chronically and constantly brings you down, like Facebook was for me.

One other thing I have been learning about the last few months is the idea of everyone being a mirror. I learned this as I have been diving into the idea of mindfulness. I would describe mindfulness as taking a deep breath in regular life situations. Of being a bit reflective as things are happening, as conversations are unfolding.  Being aware of what this other person means, is feeling, or why they are saying what they are saying, and how I am feeling and why I feel that way.

This has really helped me in family relationships that have always been kind of hard for me, always been strained, or I felt the need to defend myself, or act a certain way.  It has fallen away because I have been practicing mindfulness. I realize that this person is hurting and the reason they are saying things that frustrate me, is actually coming from a place of hurt. It helps you turn your disdain or frustration into pity and empathy.

One of the practices of mindfulness that I have really been helped by is the idea that everyone is a mirror. If someone says something that aggravates or bothers you, even if it wasn’t actually negative but triggered something in you, maybe that is something in yourself that you need to look at.

Maybe you find yourself easily offended at something someone said. Maybe every time you are around this person you feel on edge. Or they say something that really rubs you the wrong way all the time. If you tell your spouse, or talk out loud of what they said, and the other person doesn’t really understand why it bothered you so much, it’s probably your own issue.

I would encourage you to try this. Basically, the idea is everyone is a mirror. The way we react to the things they say and do, is really about what is going on in us and how that makes us feel. If you think someone is a really critical person and you just can’t stand how critical they are, you are maybe noticing that about them because you are really critical.  Maybe you are being critical and you don’t like that about yourself, so you notice it in other people.

If you ever stop to think about it, a lot of the times when you don’t like someone, they rub you the wrong way, or you don’t actually “click”, they are a lot like you. That’s why opposites attract. Usually people who are very similar won’t get along so well.

For example, I am talking to my mom. She is telling me about her week and she says something that makes me feel irritated. Why does that irritate me? It is probably something more in me than it is in her.

This practice is really helpful. I want to always be self-reflective and looking in myself first, rather than blaming everyone else and thinking everyone else is so negative, critical, or judgmental. Usually, it is something in me that needs to be looked at and can be fixed. Something that I could work on.

This has been a good practice to mature me. It has helped me with the relationships with people who are in my life. I need to not be so tense around these people. I would say 80% of the time it has been my issue, not the other person.

A lot of the times, the person does have an issue, but why does it bother me so much? Why does it bother me that this friend seems to always need my approval? Or always needs to “one up” me?  Why does that bother me? Why can’t I accept this person has to always “one up” people and just let it be? The fact that it is irritating and bothering me says something about me rather than them.

It’s like the scripture about pointing out the speck in your brother’s eye when you have a lot in your own. It has been helpful for me to practice that mindfulness.

The other day, I was talking with a friend and they asked about what was going on in my business, so I shared some exciting new things that have happened.  This person had to add, “Oh did I tell you about this?” and added something that had happened in her life recently.

It bothered me. Instead of me thinking “Oh my gosh! You can’t let me talk for two seconds and be happy that something good is going on with me?” I asked myself why it was bothering and irritating me?  Why are these emotions coming up about her issue? If her issue is that she is insecure and she has to make sure I know that good things happen for her too, why can’t that just be it? Period? That I notice that? Why are these feelings of irritation coming up in me?  There is something in me that needs to be worked on?

See what I mean? It is a helpful thing to have in your back pocket as you talk and interact with people.

We have talked about how to deal with negativity. We have talked about sometimes they are not being negative and it is your issue and not theirs. But when they are being negative, rude, or intrusive, it is their issue with themselves much more often than it is an issue with you.  

Going back to the homeschooling example, the comments have been so fun to read about homeschooling, putting them in public school, and then homeschooling again. It is not their business.

But a lot of the time, it was the other person’s issue. Maybe they feel self-conscious that I am homeschooling, and therefore I think public school is evil and anyone who sends their kids to public school is a bad mom. Maybe they are reacting defensively before the offense was even made.

By the way, that’s not true. I do not think that. I have had my kids in all types of school. I think it is about how you are raising them and not how you school them.  

Anyway, a lot of the time their negativity is more about an issue within them than it is actually an issue with what you are doing. Even if it is an issue with you or what you are doing, remember that you know you are doing what you are called to do. You know that you are not perfect at it, but you are acting out of what you feel is best for you and your family.  That’s what you need to stand in.

For me, if someone says something that really is an issue with me and they do think I am making a mistake (we shouldn’t have moved, we shouldn’t be in this house, we should not have homeschooled again), I know that I am doing what I am called to do. I know that I am following the peace of God in my life. I know that I am not perfect. I know that I do not act like I am perfect also. I have nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

You do you. And if someone has a problem with it, it is often their problem. Even if it is truly an issue with you and a choice you have made – even that – is their issue. It is their issue that they have a problem with something you have done. It is not their life. They have a control issue or something.

I hope this helps. There was a time in my business when everything was pretty new. Things had really picked up and there were a lot more people having eyes on me, my business, and my blog. The words that I was reading were so difficult. It really bothered me.

It took a long time and a lot of practice to let things go. Still every once in a while, there will be something that really bothers me, but it takes so much more now. It is so rare now. It used to be every time.  I would have to say something back and put them in their place.

Now it is not worth the time. I am able to let it go. It doesn’t bother me. I move on.

Let these words make you better. That’s how you’ve won. Grow from it. Practice mindfulness. Do the mirror thing, where everyone is a mirror. Work on yourself. Use their words and negativity to work on yourself. Mature yourself. Grow into the bigger person.

When you stop letting negativity affect you, you’ve won.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

Allie Casazza

Allie Casazza , Murrieta, CA