Overcoming Negative InfluencesSister Denise Lawrence
How can we stop the negative influence of people who are close to us and enable them to change their thinking pattern?
This is a curious question.
I don’t know if you have ever made the attempt to change anyone. I don’t believe I have met anyone who has been successful in that effort. In fact, it is possible to expend a great deal of time and energy in such pursuits, without getting any success.
If you feel someone is having a negative influence on you, if you feel someone close is having a continuous negative influence on you, you do have a few options.
One possibility is to ascertain what you think you are gaining by remaining close to that person. Is it possible that on some level you are attached to their negative influence? Is it possible that their negativity offers you an excuse to criticise them and complain? Some people even have a need for someone to criticise and complain about. Perhaps there is a habit of finding it good to blame someone close. There could even be a compulsion to exert an even more negative influence on the designated close person than they have on us, and we want to somehow outdo them.
Sometimes it is even possible to believe, to know that we are right, and that we have the duty to correct another person and help them to conduct their life in a better way. Some even feel that others should not be so independent that they can conduct themselves however they want. We can even find ourselves so caught up with how badly-behaved others are that we become willing to sacrifice ourselves in order to improve them. We may feel this is a very charitable and responsible act.
In the process, we can fail to live our own lives. We may fail to understand that each person has their own destiny which they are playing out whether we like it or not. We may fail to realise that like attracts like, and that if they are so negative, then it may be a sure sign that we might be equally negative.
We may think we are so powerful that we can take over another person’s mind and alter their thinking patterns, change their karmic history and submit them to our superior will. We may continue with this activity for months, or even years.
We may get frustrated that our efforts are not bearing the fruits that we desire. We may decide that they need to be forced to behave other than how they are, through exerting pressure on them, manipulating them, threatening them or devising ways to scare them into complying with our higher wishes for their benefit.
These are a few common practices that some people like to do for those who are close to them, but who are exerting a negative influence.
Alternatively, we could opt to mind our own business and get on with our own lives. We might even check whether we can get close to any individuals who are not negative and would not be offended by any negativity we may be harbouring within ourselves.
It is said that you can judge people by the company they keep.
What is the most valuable and useful way to use our mind, our intelligence and our time? Thought, breath and time are considered the most valuable assets. So, when we take time to think about a question, we might want to calculate whether it is worthwhile taking up that question. How will it benefit me to spend time on this or that question? What can I learn that profits me? Should I really take up questions that are of no concern to me?
It is said there are three kinds of sins. One which is well known. We should not do what we are not supposed to do, we should not give sorrow. Second, we should not fail to do what we are supposed to do. Third, which is not so well known, we should not take sorrow. If we are negatively influenced by a close person, it means we are repeatedly taking sorrow from that person by our own volition. We do not wish them to give us sorrow, but we believe we are obligated to take the sorrow they are dishing out to us.
According to the third variety of sin, it seems that we should be exercising our right to not take the sorrow. If that seems too hard, then probably we are not strong enough to handle the situation. A good solution would be to increase our personal strength and resilience. Then their negativity will not have a negative influence on us. Thus, our problem is solved.
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