Does someone's negative attitude ruin your mood often? You can do something about it but it may not be what you think. Let's look at an example and see how it works.
John’s wife sometimes gets grumpy, and her bad mood makes him unhappy. He thinks she shouldn't be in a bad mood so often. She “allows herself” to be irritated by things that are really no big deal.
A few times John has been angry enough to tell Darleen to quit being such a negative person, but it didn’t go well. What can he do? How can John change Darleen’s attitude? If he did, John is sure he would be happier.
This is a fairly common situation, but there is an inherent flaw in the whole thing. Something is happening that puts Darleen in a bad mood. Darleen’s bad mood puts John in a bad mood. John would like Darleen to change so he is not in a bad mood. Darleen would like the circumstances to change so she isn’t in a bad mood.
In other words, John is doing exactly what Darleen is doing, and then he is self-righteously condemning her for what they are both doing.
If John can’t get himself into a better mood regardless of what Darleen is doing, what right does he have to ask Darleen to do so? And if John can get himself into a good mood regardless of what Darleen is doing, he no longer needs Darleen to change her mood to suit him. Either way, if you find yourself in the same position as John, you need only to focus on one thing: Improve your own mood regardless of what the other person is doing.
If you can do that, you won’t need to change the other person. At that point, however, you would be in a position to help the other person by telling her what you’ve done that works. And your showing and telling wouldn’t be done in self-righteous anger or impatience. It would only be done out of caring because you no longer need her to change. You no longer have any urgency or a demanding demeanor. That will make your suggestions much easier to accept.
And you’re in a position where whether she accepts your help or not, you’re okay either way because you know how to improve your own mood regardless of what she does.
Here are some articles on improving your mood that do not rely on anyone else’s cooperation: Feeling Good.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Direct Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.