"Problems occur when we tie our peace of mind to another's state of mind."
~ Bill Crawford

How To Not Take On Their Stuff!

This quote came to me while helping someone deal with a particularly challenging relationship issue, however, it can apply to a wide variety of situations. For example, you might find a negative coworker hard to deal with. Or, it could be a family member or a friend that has a particularly negative perspective on life. Regardless, dealing with negative people can be a problem, especially if you believe that their behavior “makes you” feel one way or another.

In other words, when we need them to be a certain way (or stop being a certain way), then our peace of mind has become tied to their state of mind, and they have just become the most important person in our life! Why? Because when we focus on the behavior of another, the images that are running through our mind are of them, and how problematic their behavior is for us. This engages the lower 20% of our brain and triggers stress chemicals such as cortisol, making their negative behavior way more important than we want it to be.

If you have decided that this no longer works for you, and certainly isn’t something you would recommend to someone you love, I suggest that you make a change in how you think about and relate to these people. However, unlike most people, I’m not suggesting that you simply just stop letting them bother you. My guess is that you have either heard this before, or tried it yourself and discovered that this advice doesn’t work.

The reason it doesn’t work is because to deal with someone coming from their brainstem, or the lower 20% of their brain, we must be coming from the upper 80% of ours, or what I call the “Top of the Mind.” In other words, we must be focused not on worrying about what we are trying to stop, but on what we want to start… how we want to start feeling/being when we find ourself dealing with a negative person. Or, put another way, we must know what our peace of mind looks like, and have a sense of who we want to be when they are being negative… not to change them, but to use them to practice making our peace of mind more important than their negative behavior.

Given that practice always makes permanent, then as we continue to practice this new way of being with negative people, we will most certainly become skilled at sustaining our peace of mind, regardless of the situation. For those of you wanting some support in attaining this skill, feel free to go to my website (www.BillCrawfordPhd.com) and contact me. I would love to help.

~ All the best, Dr. Bill