Ariana from Spain recently asked us:
How do I get rid of negative energy from my life? At work there’s this one woman who is constantly negative and it really drains me. She’s always complaining, judging and speaking meanly about people behind their backs. I feel like she’s a constant drain and pain in the ass, and I wish I had some better way of dealing with this.
How to Get Rid of Negative Energy
Wanting to know how to get rid of negative energy from your life is a natural human defense mechanism, and it shows that you sincerely care about your own well-being. If something hurts and brings you down, why not try to fix it and remedy it? This is a logical and rational response for the healthy person that wants to stop “just putting up with” the toxic people and the negative energy around them.
However, in the self-love and self-improvement community there is an out-of-proportion emphasis on learning how to get rid of negative energy, learning how to block “low vibration” feelings/topics of discussion, and learning how to shelter oneself from what is known as energy vampires (people who feed on your energy).
All of these approaches, while well-meaning, approach negative energy from the disempowered mindset of a victim. In fact, this morning I opened my email to find a message from a website I’m subscribed to called something along the lines of, “10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Negative Energy.” The article recommended techniques such as smudging, crystal cleansing, introducing lighter topics of discussion, making time for self-care in your day, setting boundaries, and visualizing protective bubbles.
Don’t get me wrong, these are excellent short-term approaches to negative energy. These techniques are all proactive, and they help you to feel much better in the immediate present moment, but they are limited in their ability to truly help you understand negative energy and function alongside it in the long-term.
The problem with many short-term approaches that teach you how to get rid of negative energy, is that they speak about negative energy in terms of “how to banish it,” “how to defeat it,” “how to block it.” But these common approaches don’t take into account the reality of life: there is negative energy and there is positive energy. Without one, there can’t be the other. And there is no way that negative energy can be permanently blocked, defeated, or overcome. But it can be understood, integrated, and thus transcended.
If you would like to learn how to get rid of negative energy – or better still, learn how to not be so deeply impacted by it – you might benefit from some of the lessons I have personally learned on my spiritual path:
1. Negative energy is a fact of life.
By accepting it and accepting the negative people in your life precisely as they are, you create harmony and greater peace of mind. This is because you are honoring life as it is instead of trying to futilely change it. Ironically, the moment you resist the negative energy of others is the moment you allow it to have power over you, and the moment you declare “this shouldn’t be this way!” is the moment you contribute to the negativity even more. Then, strangely enough, you complain in your mind and you complain to other people about the person in your life who is constantly complaining. So how are you any better than them? You are doing precisely what they do, but with more self-righteousness.
2. Accepting negative people doesn’t mean letting yourself be used as a doormat or toilet.
You can still set boundaries and be assertive about your needs, but in a less reactive and stress-orientated way.
3. You will always witness negative energy in your life, but you don’t always have to be disturbed or affected by it.
We spend a good deal of our lives running from what we feel is uncomfortable, but when we stop to face it, let it wash over us, and work to understand it we stop being slaves of its influence, and instead become lovers of existence. So stop running from it, and face it when you are ready to. It’s like the bogey-monster in your cupboard as a child: when the idea isn’t faced it is feared, but when faced, it is understood.
4. Permit yourself to empathize with negative people, but not to enable them.
Many people argue that empathizing is a form of enabling. It isn’t. You can understand a person’s pain that fuels their toxicity without feeding their self-pity. Very few of us are skilled empathizers, which is why we need to learn to love and accept ourselves first before we can effectively empathize with others (and keep in mind that being an empath is not the same as having empathy). But the more self-love you have, the easier it will be to love others. Here is a good article to start.
5. Think about your ability to deal with negative energy in the short and long term.
Supplement the need to accept and understand negativity with all of the short-term techniques mentioned at the start of the article (however, I don’t recommend shielding techniques as they are a clear form of resistance). For example, you might like to limit your exposure, ask the person what they plan to do to change their issue, de-clutter your work area, learn how to be mindful, clear your area with essential oils, and so forth.
The question isn’t how to get rid of negative energy, but how to accept it as an inevitable force of life, without resistance.
I want to leave you with a beautiful message from the Tao Te Ching. I reflect on these verses often:
Do you think you can take
over the universe
and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.
The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it,
you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it,
you will lose it.