Do you have any negative people in your life?
Maybe a friend who slyly cuts you down whenever she gets the chance, or a coworker who takes credit for your work and points out your mistakes, or just someone you don’t even know on the internet who’s gone out of their way to let you know that they don’t like you.
It feels bad, doesn’t it? But I have a fail-safe strategy that has never let me down for deflecting negative people. It came to me early, from a very unlikely source!
When I was a kid, there was a cartoon that was popular in the sixties (yes, I’m that old) called Bat Fink. His favorite line in each of his shows was: “My wings are like a shield of steel!” and he would use his wings to protect himself from his enemies. Any time and evil force would come at him, he would wrap his wings around himself and his enemies would be vanquished.
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Use Bat Fink’s strategy to deflect negative people
Why am I telling you this? You might be wondering.
Well, ever since I watched that beloved cartoon when I was young, that image of the protective wings has never left me.
Throughout my life, I have used this mental strategy when I’ve been around negative people. For the most part, this visual image, even though it’s just been a picture in my head, has worked very reliably for me.
My wings of steel haven’t failed me yet
I make my living succeeding and failing in public. I’m a motivational and inspirational speaker whose message about engagement and accountability is demonstrated publicly every time I go to work. So every time I get up on stage, I have the opportunity to succeed or fail right in front of people, lots of people.
I’m proud to say that most of the time, I succeed. Sometimes I even “knock it out of the park”. But believe me when I tell you, once or twice a year, every year, I really mess up and completely “STB”, on stage, for all to see. And don’t think for a minute that audience members don’t love to give me feedback on those occasions!
But I know exactly how to deal with negative people. The negative feedback doesn’t bother me. I pull out my imaginary Bat Fink wings of steel and let those comments deflect right off me. Believe me, my inner voice is loud enough; I call her “HagdaLinda”. Getting even more criticism from strangers is the last thing I need to worry about.
Be your own Bat Fink
So how can we make this Bat Fink strategy work for us in our professional and personal lives? It can be especially hard to do this when the negative people are those closest to us, even people we know intimately.
As a side note: if anyone ever tells you to “not take this personally” I give you permission to smack them. Life is personal. That thought may not be the most spiritually-evolved thought. But hey, I’m totally evolved yet either.
So when the negative people start to circle, and that feedback is coming at you, wrap yourself in those iron wings. Visualize them protecting you—an actual steel barrier blocking the negativity. That way, you can think about the information you’re receiving in a practical, removed way, rather than it literally entering your body and more importantly, your heart. This technique allows you to not take it personally. Which, in this world of constant feedback, is a secret weapon.
And keep in mind that the person who is delivering the negative message likely is not self-aware enough to realize how hurtful they are being. So just let it hit those wings and bounce right back.
Life is a crazy ride, so do everything you can to stay positive, in search of joy and peace and becoming the person you are meant to be.
Here’s to protecting yourself from negative people.