In this wonderful video, “How to Stop Absorbing Other People’s Energy,” Ralph Smart details five ways to deal with negative energy from others. I’ve listed those ways below.
As a former public school teacher and college professor, I inherently know how to deal with negative students and parents and redirect negative people very quickly in different directions, sometimes even transforming their anger or negativity into a talk about what is really going on in their lives to make them lash out at me or others. Other times, they are sent in a different direction all together so that I can focus on others who are willing to learn and grow. Ralph Smart’s responses make sense to me, and I incorporate most of these techniques automatically in the classroom.
Each situation with a negative person requires a slightly different response and a different set of skills, but the main point is that negativity doesn’t get to win. I won’t let one student’s negativity detract from my mission from the light. I wasn’t sent back to earth after my NDE to let negativity interfere with the light and my mission. I am meant to shine light into my own life and the lives of others. My guides don’t let negativity win, and I don’t let it win either. At a basic level, I must help my students become better communicators, thinkers, and writers. On another level, I have an intent to help others feel better about themselves and achieve their personal goals.
I don’t talk about the negative students in the lounges and with other professors unless I want input on how to more effectively deal with a troubled student and think someone I know can offer sound advice. I don’t complain about students and spend my energy in that way. I talk about the students who inspire me with their drive, ambition, and ability to persist despite adversities.
The Five Ways Ralph Smart Recommends for How to Stop Absorbing Other People’s Negativity:
- You can’t please everyone. Everyone is here for a different reason. There is nothing wrong with being nice, but it’s more important to be yourself. When you trust yourself, you are loving yourself and accepting of yourself 100%. If others don’t like it, they can hit the road. (As a teacher, realize that every student will not appreciate your style of teaching, your content, or your ideas. Realize that you are there to reach who you can on a deeper level and to help every one of your students succeed whether they like you or not. Things generally run smoothly if you take this approach. And remember the ten second rule. Students make judgements about you in the first ten seconds they see you. Smile, hold your head high, look in control, and ask certain students informal questions before class starts to show that you care about them.)
- Choose whether you want to be invited where this person will take you. No one can enter your world without an invitation. We are consciously and unconsciously inviting others into our temple which is ourselves. (Pay more attention to the students who are doing things right–learning, growing, and participating. Those who are working as a distraction need to be dealt with in various ways. Extroverted students can be fun, and if you make room for discussion in your classroom, give them specific ways to talk about the content. Engage with them during discussions. Negative distractions should not be invited into your consciousness for long.)
- Do not pay attention. Some people can be classified as energy vampires. A parasite can only live on the host’s body. Whatever you focus on grows. Energy vampires work by making you think of them. Just the thought of them alone is tiring. Pay attention to where you pay attention. Are you focusing on what you want or on what you fear? An “emotional drive by” is when someone dumps their negative energy on you and then drives off. Don’t become a trashcan for someone else’s garbage. (Know what your purpose and intent is in the classroom. Don’t let your focus waver from the goal of helping and inspiring others. For example, one of my intentions is to give my students new ways to think and to give them the light and peace that comes from loving oneself and believing in oneself.)
- Breathing increasing the blood flow. Just going into nature can purify your senses. Meditate, dance, sing, and heal. Become like the butterfly. It is light and moves around quickly, not absorbing others energy. Keep your head up and pay attention to your body language. Becoming lighter is the only way to fly. Keep it moving. (Consider teaching mindfulness in your classes or let your students research ways to decrease stress and increase joy in their lives. You can also invite someone into your classroom to teach mindfulness if this is not your area of interest. On nice days, I sometimes conduct class by the river or outside somewhere. I always recommend nature to heal our bodies, minds, and souls.)
- Take responsibility for your internal condition. Ask yourself, “How do I feel?” To stop absorbing other’s energy, you must realize that you should take care of how you feel at any given moment in the day. What you fight, you give energy to. Everything is based around perception. The perception we have of ourselves is greater than the perception others have of us. That is the secret. Once you change your perception, you change your reality. No one has power unless you give them power. Fly past other people and let go of fear. (Know that with the intent to help others in the classroom, you will generally feel GREAT. All of your problems will evaporate the minute you step in the classroom ready to be a force of goodness and work for the benefit of others.)
As a teacher, you have control over the flow of energy in your classroom. If you make it known that you are there to work for the benefit of all your students, you usually gain their respect, even if this takes a while. Everyone has a different teaching style. You don’t have to make yourself into someone you are not. I’m not an authoritarian, but I deal with problems quickly.
I hope every new public school teacher and college professor has a team of administrators who support them. Years ago, when I did my student teaching, I taught an eleventh grader who abused drugs and sometimes walked on desks at random. I immediately moved his desk outside and asked him to step outside. Long term, I preferred that he get the help he needed somewhere other than my classroom. When I talked with the principal and suggested an alternative school, he looked at me with a smirk and said, “There isn’t room in the alternative school, in ISS, or detention. You’re going to have to deal with him yourself.”
This might’ve been an initiation of sorts, but I didn’t appreciate his lack of support. I dealt with the student in two different ways. By a stroke of luck, I ended up on a city bus with the student, and he looked smaller and more afraid amidst a crowd of adults. A friend of his was making fun of how little he knew about history, so I first taught them both a few memorization skills. Secondly, I confronted his actions and said, “I know you are planning on dropping out of high school. You don’t take school seriously and have a zero in my class. When are you dropping out?”
He looked startled and told he was wasn’t sure when. I told him that before he dropped out, I wanted him to take this test using the memorization skills and see if he could pass. I asked him to write one serious essay in my class and receive my comments. Amazingly, he agreed. He passed the history test and wrote a surprisingly creative essay for my class. I praised his writing and told him that the GED was always an option if he dropped out. We talked about alternative careers as well that didn’t require a degree, but I let him know he had the ability to do well in school.
He never walked on desks or interrupted my class again once I focused my attention on what he was doing right and could do right. Eventually, on the days he planned on being a disruption, he moved his own desk outside of my classroom so I could teach the other students. This student was kicked out of school after a fight, but I think about that essay he wrote, and I remember the positive moments of our interaction way more the negative.
Sometimes, dealing with a negative person means finding something they are doing right and focusing on that and making that grow in their lives. Sometimes, dealing with a negative person means not dealing with that person at all. In good school districts, I had administrators who handled negative, disruptive students in loving but firm ways. They gave consequences for bad behavior and reeducated these students.
In society and in schools, rules and those who enforce rules are very important. Schools run better with great administration who care about students, and societies run better with understanding but firm police officers and enforced laws. With this kind of help from administration, teachers can focus on all the many amazing, positive students in their classrooms, and people in the world can live their lives in peace.