What kind of air are you breathing in? (how to actively avoid the negative)


I’ve talked a lot about maintaining focus when there are voices of negativity all around. But sometimes it’s really hard to figure out how to actively do that. So today, I thought I would take a little bit of time to share some of the strategies that it is good to incorporate into your life when dealing with people who mostly just want to bring you down.

It’s interesting the thing that happens when you decide to change or do something different. There will be people who aren’t willing to let you do that. There are people who are going to try to keep you where you are for various reasons, none of which have anything to do with you. We have people in our lives that play certain roles. We like the roles that they play. We like the predictability of the relationship (even if it’s an unpredictable one). We  let one another fill in however we need each other to in order to maintain what feels comfortable to us (not anyone else). So whether it is someone who doesn’t want you to do more than they do (or did), or someone who just wants to argue and provide conflict, or someone who just doesn’t know how to let you change because the like things as they are and don’t want things to be different, we have to be able to not let in the things that are designed to prevent us from growing.

First of all, no matter what, if we are changing or following a dream or whatever the case may be, we have to be willing to make sure we are moving ourselves in a positive direction. We have to make sure we are expanding to become who we want to be, and not changing for someone else. When we make the choice to become who we want to be for ourselves, then we can come back to a place of safety, because WE KNOW from the outset that we are moving in a direction that we truly want to move in. We can make mistakes, we can take wrong steps, and we can be human. But as long as we are trying to get to somewhere we feel is worth going, we always have that to fall back on.

Second, learn to breathe it out. The way we breathe affects a lot of things. There is a lot of importance placed on breathing in things like yoga and meditation, but also in other things as well (including any kind of sports preparation and exercises). It affects our endurance. It affects our mental soundness. It influences our heart rate and our muscles. And we have the ability to control it. It’s one of our more easily controlled automatic functions as humans. (this is barring those with medical disorders of course!) So if we use it well, it makes a huge difference. And one of the things I have learned to do is breathe during a conflict.

There are certain people in our lives who truly just want to bring about conflict. They want to make things hard. Sometimes we can remove these people from our lives, but other times it’s not that easy. So if we have to be around those people, it’s important to remember to breathe when the conflict starts. Breathe in love. Breathe our fear. Breathe in peace. Breathe out anger. Breathe in life. Breathe our failure. Breathe in strength. Breathe out conflict. Breathe in hope. Breathe out hate. Breathe in courage. Breathe out conflict. Only take in those things that build you up. With each breath in your mind take note of what you are breathing in. Use deep breaths to fill your body with only good things. Keep it filled with the things that keep you on track. Do not participate in conflict. The moment we engage, we invite the negative in. The moment we let the negative in, we let it distract us from where we are going.

And third, when you breathe it out let it go. Let go of what is said. Let go of the emotions. Let go of any of the tension that is building up inside. That urge to fight. The urge to explain it all away. You cannot argue with someone who doesn’t care about logic. Someone who is not interested in what is really best for you, even if they are someone who should care. You cannot force someone to want what’s best for you. You cannot force someone to support you. You can only take care of yourself, and to do that, you have to let go of what their negativity does to you. You must refuse to engage. (and if at all possible, remove yourself from the situation – even if it’s just to take a walk)

As you keep yourself calm, as you keep breathing in life and love and hope and strength and courage, you fill yourself up. You rise above the conflict. You continue on in your journey. We have the chance to sustain our path throughout each day no matter what anyone around us may feel. So take with you those who in encourage you. Actively fight against those who do not, but only by dismissing their negativity. By refusing to let them discourage you. Pay attention to what you breathe in. Pay attention to what fills you up. Because it’s when we start to overflow with love and life that they start to lift us high enough to touch our dreams and live the life we want to live.

About laurenc129

I'm a mom. Sometimes my hands turn orange. Other times I write. On twitter: @laurenc129

Posted on July 8, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 69 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Change and Well-Being and commented:
    I love this piece. Food for thought!

  2. I have nominated you for Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I think you may have already been nominated, but if not, check my post at http://headywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

  3. great post! thanks for this gonna apply this to myself

  4. cindyphantastic

    Great post!

  5. Wow, I’m so glad I looked into your blog after you liked a post on mine. You really hit a cord with me in this post, I’ve had to clean out negativity in my life on a few occasions and have been very glad I did so. Keep up the inspiring posts.

  6. Nice work. Good! Keep it up.

  7. I liked your post very much. Good!

  8. Great post, got it on my phone this morning so it was good for meditation 🙂 I’ve heard something similar from a friend a few years ago about letting go of negative self talk, sometimes we hold onto negative things people have said to us over the years. These things spring to mind whenever we try something new or try to change. But like you say we can breathe it out as well. Keep writing and sharing, you’ve got a way of connecting with people that’s real and free of clutter.

  9. Another great post; you write this stuff in a way that connects and makes sense. I too, am gradually learning to let go of explaining.

  10. Awwwww….! A well EXPLICIT post. You said it in a SIMPLE and SHORT way, where no more further queries about the topic is needed. Will surely do try those BREATHING tips. 😀 🙂
    Thanks a lot for such a great share. Have a great day ahead. Cheers.\m/ 🙂

  11. As always, insightful, timely and wonderful! Thanks so much.

  12. Congratulations on the book. I look forward to reading it, and the rest of your blogs 🙂

  13. Wow, Really Like your Blog, Hope I can also create a blog like this.

  14. I love this blog, it makes me feel better. Thank you so much. Be well.

  15. You are quite frankly great! Inspiring should be your name!

  16. Lauren — I so Second the emotion. I’m a big fan of breathing – both as life support and as a quiet way to start my day – every day. Keep looking up. On behalf of the rest of us in the choir, yours is a refreshing voice. Dan

  17. Super inspiring! Having many friends who are much older than myself, I have learned at a younger age that we cannot change other people (such as those conflict-loving ones you mention), and only have control over how we react to their actions. It only takes sweet time for each of us to change and grow ourselves, but it has to be something we move forward with on our own will. Although somewhat trite, I feel this quote completely underscores your post: “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people to do the same.” (Nelson Mandela) Some people need to see things to believe them first, while others take the risk and revel in the rewards on their own faith!

    • I love that quote! And it’s so important to allow others to do the same. That’s how we lift each other up and rise higher as a whole. Thanks for sharing that! 🙂

  18. If you keep on posting stuff like this I am never going to find time to read your book !

    • Hahaha, the book is better… read the book! 🙂

      • No doubt! I do feel compelled to make one comment about this post though. It is important to remember that sometimes two very positive people can have a very negative reaction when they are together. Just because a relationship is riddled with conflict doesn’t mean that either person is intentionally causing that conflict – nor does it mean that either person doesn’t care deeply for the other.

        Either way your advice is spot on (In my opinion, at least) but it is important that we have faith in each other as individuals – even if there is no hope for a healthy relationship.

      • That’s very true. Relationships are pretty complex, and in most cases we act more out of habit than intention. Thanks for sharing those thoughts! They are great! And true 🙂

  19. Another lovely post, Lauren. 🙂

  20. ‘Toxic’ people can be found anywhere…If you’re fortunate they are not people who you have to deal with on a regular basis…and you can avoid them but it they are in the circle of close or even indirect relatives it becomes more difficult and I would agree you have to decide before each meeting how you will handle conflicts as or if they arrive…being somewhat prepared can make the difference I think in what happens….Diane

  21. A lot of good points here. Interesting how people want to control others when the choices or changes they make really have no relevance to them. I recently found myself in a conflict with someone else and kept rehearsing a dialogue in my head of how to confront it. I was really just making myself crazy. Then when it came time to deal with it, I let go of all of my rehearsed dialogue, and said, “I don’t want to waste my energy on this. It’s not worth arguing about.” At that moment I felt so much more at ease and realized I was just making it all worse for myself by making it so big. We really can pick and choose where we direct our energy.

    • Isn’t that release fantastic! I do that, too with things. And then once I let go, it’s like the weight just lifts and it doesn’t matter anymore. Even though beforehand I can’t imagine it not mattering. It’s hard leaving people behind sometimes, though. Just the way it is, I suppose.

  22. I love this and can relate on so many levels!

    I recently let go of a friend I’ve had since high school — not because of her negativity, but the way she chose to handle it. When I suggested healthy alternatives to her, she freaked out on me. You’re right, some people like to stay in a comfort zone because that’s all they know or want to know! This person in particular views being over-whelmed as a status symbol — and she neglects her health in the process. I couldn’t bear to watch her do this to herself anymore, so I let go of the friendship.

  23. Congratulations to this excellent blog, exactly right for me. I left the room the other day when everybody started to complain about God and the world! I don’t need this and they do not understand that I can still happy in this world. Breath in and out section is so great. Need to read it many times! Thank you for such a fantastic piece. It is so appropriate and you put it in wonderful words!

    • Thank you very much! Very sweet words 🙂 I have to remind myself to breathe all the time. You can definitely still be happy in this world. And doing so is much healthier than complaining about it. Glad you took a break instead of hanging around.

  24. I have yet to find a post of yours that hasn’t moved me in a way whether it’s big or small. Just like there are people who can cause you hard breathing there are others that will lend you a breath. Stay strong and keep up the great work.

  25. Nice post! Just what I need to read. Thanks for liking my blog post today. Glad to virtually meet you and your blog!

  26. Very true words… part of my thinking in trying to stay positive is to only allow myself to be around positivity… it’s not always possible… so where things are negative, I try to be positive.

    Equally, I have to be positive with the people around me too… which, given my situation, is frankly not always possible! But I do my best… I have to understand that trying to explain or (in my eyes) feeling the need to justify simply won’t always work…

    • I’m a big explainer. Not trying to write it all out or justify everything is hard for me, and one of the areas I have gotten a lot better about over the past two years. But it’s one of the best things I’ve done for myself as well.

  27. Fantastic! Wish everyone could learn this. It’s sometimes difficult to avoid toxic people, especially if they are colleagues. But as long as we stay positive, and remember we can’t control them, just ourselves, it’s okay.

  28. Very nice post…well said ..Tim

  29. Love it! Very well-written and great advice. Thank you!

  1. Pingback: Live a Big Life. Do Hard Things. | Words Change Us

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