Ali is a senior vice president at a multinational company.
He runs the sales department for their Middle East office, based out of Dubai.
He's successful, very fit, and has a happy and small family.
But Ali is not happy. In fact, Ali is miserable.
Ali gets my contact details from a client and sets up a consult meeting.
We meet at a coffee shop in Downtown.
I usually schedule 2 hours for my consults. I do this because this is how long it typically takes for me to outline someone's life, identify the key areas of frustration and unhappiness, and devise a plan of action on how to tackle them.
With Ali however, things became clear within the first 30min, before we had even finished our coffee.
Ali was married with 2 kids. He'd been married for a long time.
However Ali goes home every single day to a very unhappy place.
He loves his wife and adores his kids. His wife has her own little business which is doing well.
She is also fit and active, has a great social life, a great family, loves her kids, and clearly loves Ali.
But she is also an extremely negative person, and it became clear to me from several meetings with Ali that she had been like that her whole life.
She is someone who sees the glass half empty no matter what.
She completely forgets the positives in her life and focuses 100% of her energy on the negatives.
They tried addressing that. He spent an entire year putting a smile on his face when he got home, bringing her flowers and taking her to dinners for no reason.
Ali took her on vacations, brought her presents, spent “quality time” with her, and so much more.
But it was like running on a treadmill that was too fast: eventually you get exhausted and collapse.
Eventually, “she won”. Rather her “negativity won”.
Ali became someone who woke up happy, and was miserable before he even left to work.
Ali became someone who came home with a smile on his face, but that smile was wiped away an hour later.
The sheer volume of negativity in the home slowly chipped way at him until he “cracked”.
Ali “gave up”. He started “surviving” rather than “living”.
Ali’s situation is extremely common.
Many of us get that person in our lives who is negative for no reason whatsoever.
Such people deserve our help, and we can try our best to help them.
But at some point, just like that treadmill that’s going too fast, we will collapse ourselves.
This is what this article from the World of Psychology talks about.
It outlines the dangers of such situations, but most importantly, it outlines “6 Ways to Stop Absorbing Other People’s Emotions”.
This is absolutely critical for your wellbeing and for the wellbeing of those around.
Sometimes we have to make hard decisions which may hurt in the short term but help in the long-term.
Last week I had coffee with Ali.
He is divorced now, but sees his kids every single day.
He is still working at his job, is still fit and remains very sociable.
Ali’s ex-wife continues to do well with her work, friends, fitness and otherwise.
Ali asked me to take her on as a client to help her get out of her negative mindset.
When I saw Ali walking into the cafe for our meeting, I saw it in his eyes: Ali was happy.