One of the beautiful behaviors of people is our need to protect. We don’t like bullies. This becomes more the case the older we get. There is something about seeing someone being treated terrible that we can’t stand. Maybe it’s a new comer who is unjustly getting targeted, or it could be someone vulnerable who doesn’t have the means to stand up for themselves. Either way, when you see opportunists attacking someone, you can be assured the protectors will come out if full force.
Those of us in the arts industry know all too well the backlash an artist can receive because of their popularity. Here you are doing your best work and putting all your energy into the art you are creating, and when it’s time to showcase to the world what you’ve created, the bottom-feeders come out of the woodwork. They’re like sharks sneaking up on you from small and unsuspecting places.
Having been in and then out and then back in these environments I’ve learned a few things, and I’m going to give you a little insight on how to understand and work with the negative energy.
The first thing to understand is people are not going to stop. We can dream all day of the “what if” and how things “should be.” There are people who gain energy from being positive and creating beautiful things, including beautiful relationships, and there are people who are energy vampires and they will attempt to use their negativity to tear you down. In fact, I’m sure there are bottom-feeders reading this post right now who can’t wait to attack me for writing it.
Here’s the trick. Trust people to be who they are. If they’re known for attacking people to build themselves up then they’re always going to do so. Now, since you’ve picked out the bottom-feeders and you know how they are going to react, you can create your own reactions–not in a defensive tone but in a tone and advocacy for the positive things your doing. Just remind them and anyone listening of the good things your work is focused on. What will happen? One, they’re not getting the negative response to feed themselves, and, two, you’re giving people in your circles the opportunity to see the injustice. It’ll show the clear avenue of negativity coming from the bottom-feeder.
Next you’ll start to see other people come to your defense. The protectors will step up and say, “She’s doing good things for her people,” in effect, and “She’s trying to help,” more or less. They’re going to stand up for you. Why? Because you’ve helped them see the positive things you are doing. We have to remember: these bottom-feeders want people to only see the negativity. Everything they do will always come back to something ugly. They’re incapable of doing it any other way. In response, we must be prepared to “show” and “describe” the positive aspects of our art. When the protectors can see, meaning visualize, how you are making your community better, then they are more willing to champion your cause.
To a certain degree, exercising some savvy, you can set up these bottom-feeders for failure. Just keep putting yourself out there. At some point, they will attack you. Remember how I said, “Trust people to be who they are.” Then when they do so. Take your opportunity to call the community to action. Remind them of the good you’re doing and how you’re bettering the community. It’ll leave the bottom-feeders getting attacked for being so negative, and in the process you gain the solidarity the bottom-feeders are trying to disrupt.
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(The images used in this post were borrowed from Wikimedia and Wikipedia)