How To Deal With Your Dark Side

Don't let nega vibes get the best of you. We'll teach you how to transform your unpleasant emotions into something positive.

We've all heard that old saying about turning fate's lemons into lemonade. In our modern lives, this would translate to catching up on chick lit at the airport while waiting for endlessly delayed stormy-weather flights, turning a former potted plant into a dry flower arrangement, making a hair mask from bruised bananas, and enjoying breakfast off the grand dinner last night that half the expected guests didn't turn up for. You get the picture?

Real-life snitches in which problems turn into golden ops crop up once in a while, but chances to turn your evil impulses into something positive come up every day. The emotional alchemy of going from a nega diva to shining example is so magical, so breathtaking, you'll never want to waste a single negative emotion ever again!

Backstabbing Babe

Have you been muttering behind someone else's back lately? That knife you just stuck into someone's unsuspecting back could definitely come back to haunt you. Bad karma is one reason to nip those underhanded tactics in the bud. Celebrating meanly over another diva's downfall is a fast way to morph into Miss Grinch. Backstabbing babes end up all alone because nobody trusts a double-crossing dame. In fact, folks might fake friendship with a backstabber to stay safely on her good side. But, in reality, nobody really loves her!

Still need a reason not to rat on your colleague on your way to the top? Here's one: You can't necessarily take the competition down by spreading petty lies or nasty rumors. Doing so could ruin your reputation in the process. Plus, it won't make your life any better. So, was it you who made sure the new girl didn't get too popular by circulating a vile story that nobody'll ever trace back to you? Clever, yes, but admirable? No way.

Instead of ruining another person's rep, turn that skill toward enhancing your own. A talent for networking and gathering information can give you a huge edge, both in your personal and professional lives. Be the first to know who's retiring, who's moving up, and which prestigious post is yours for the taking--all because you found out about it early. Use the grapevine to "brag" about your achievements in an oh-so-casual way (this is where your finesse with gossip comes handy).

Being a pro at the art of conversation can get you virtually anything, from invites and free movie tickets to an introduction to the hottie you've been eyeing. Turn on the charm, drop a few well-placed words, and watch your life go from drab to fab! And remember, you're doing this to make your own life happen, not destroy someone else's.

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman...

When you lose your cool, an extreme expression of anger often does more harm than good. So, should you just bottle up the fact that you're boiling? Cosmo says: No, but be wise about it. Rage fuels physical energy, so channel that burst of energy into something that really needs it. Some productive alternatives: attacking the clutter on your desk instead of your colleague, using that surge of fury to give you the nerve to ask your friend to return the money she owes pronto, and working on that deadline instead of screaming until you embarrass yourself in public.

"I think the best way to deal with anger is to work it off. If you're angry at something bad that has happened in your life, you can either bang your head against the wall, or you can try and achieve something," says Asha, 30, an entrepreneur. "Different people have different ways of reining in their temper...I'm a workaholic, so the best and easiest way for me to deal with anger is to work harder. I tire myself out so that the feeling evaporates rather than escalates."

Go to the next page to learn how to put a stop to your envious, controlling, and despairing tendencies.
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Green-Eyed Girl

Love the dress, hate the girl in it. Sound familiar? It's you morphing into the monster of envy we know so well. With the world being more competitive, our inner survivor reacts to anyone rallying for the position of alpha female. This is why the femme who looks hotter, thinks faster, or gets more kudos sparks off an immediate sliver of resentment in a lot of us.

Instead of sticking out your foot to trip her, try extending a hand. Curb the bitter feelings as you chat up the object of your envy, and try to figure out what it is about her that you'd kill to possess. Is it her Louis Vuitton tote (the obvious answer), her sense of humor, her high-paying job, or just that certain je ne sais quoi? Take the time to arrive at your answer: What you envy is what you really want.

Jealousy, horrible as it is, is the clearest pointer to the things you value and desire. Use it to find what your priorities are, and go after them--strangling her isn't an option. Instead, take advantage of this realization to help you tweak your mindset, so that your goals match your life beliefs. At this point, you can even unleash your inner bitch to tear apart that unworthy ambition ("100k totes? That wasteful Paris Hilton-wannabe! The money could have fed an entire village for a month--thank God I'm not like her!") and come up with clearer and more defined goals for yourself.

Control Freak

An organized diva can do twice as much with her 24 hours, but going over-the-top with the planning can backfire pretty badly. Instead of taking on the world, try not to run the show solo at work. "Break the habit of total self-reliance. You're not the only person who can do a good job," says Julie Morgenstern, author of Making Work Work. "Off-load one skill at a time. A gradual approach keeps both 'delegate' and 'delegator' from being overwhelmed." Doing everyone's job to make sure it gets "done right" doesn't only put way too much strain on you, it also makes you a bad boss, an untrustworthy colleague, and a complete nightmare to hang out with.

"People have a need to be perfect. But if you're a perfectionist in your day-to-day work, that needs to be checked. You have to see if it's needed to expend that much effort on a task or not," advises Dr. Anuradha Kabra, a consultant clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist. "Also, look at the results you get. If you can't finish the same job in one hour, don't spend three hours over it. Any activity in which your productivity doesn't increase, but time is lost is a wasted effort. Monitor yourself and stop yourself consciously from overdoing something, delegate it instead of trying to tackle it."

The upside of being super systematic is pretty obvious, which is why many divas tend to adopt this particular vice. But learn how to let go sometimes, and put your control monster on a leash. That kind of laidback-but-still-OC attitude will help you empower others and lead you straight to the top. "Get a job which demands professionalism and organization to use this aspect of your personality in a positive way. Being a perfectionist can be an advantage in certain jobs, like quality-control or software testing, where thoroughness and attention to detail are essential," counsels Dr. Kabra. So, put a perceived "flaw" to good use and it can become your biggest advantage!

Girl With A Broken Smile

When it comes to being miserable, you could outdo the most hardened pessimist. Your life sucks, you hate your hair, your clothes, and your butt, and you feel like nothing is ever going to work out for you, no matter what you do. And, to add to the dark clouds that shroud your silver lining, the sun's on its annual vacay as it pours cats and dogs outside. So, how can that be a good thing?

First, you need to rein in that gnawing despair. Some of the most wonderful paintings, books, and works of art the world has ever known express a universal human angst (hey, even Harry Potter's rise to fame was fueled by unfortunate circumstances, right?). So, if you're going through hell, try picking up a paintbrush or a pen. Hell, even finger painting or sculpting your small niece's Play-Doh can help express what you feel. It may not be the next Mona Lisa or David, but you'll be able to tell your story without feeling judged or exposed. Plus, the high you get from making something special will be enough to carry you through the worst.

Sure, pessimists tend to look at the dark side, but they also tend to be more grounded than crazy optimists. "We can acknowledge and seek to understand the bad in life, the evil in the world, as a means to an end, of change, of understanding, of peace. You cannot combat an evil you refuse to acknowledge and you cannot grow from a terrific paralysis," says Mina Parker, author of Half Full: Meditations on Hope, Optimism, And The Things That Matter. Temper that grim outlook with common sense, and you might just end up being the most useful babe around!

Where there is a shadow, you can be sure there is a light shining somewhere nearby. No matter how bad you feel, the way to turn it into something wonderful is just a brainwave away.

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