Good day dear readers,
Our minds are memory banks for two sorts of experiences, positive and negative. What is your happiest memory? Your most touching moment? What was one event in your life that brought you an overwhelming feeling of joy and gratitude or pride in an achievement? How do these things make you feel when you recall them? Now recall one of your saddest memories, or a moment when you were really angry or felt defeated, rejected or just plain hurt? How do those memories make you feel? Which set of memories made you feel good and which ones made you feel bad? Which do you prefer recollecting? Hmm.
Now take a second to think about your general self-talk, that inner dialogue that whirls around in your head all day. Positive or negative? Do you realize the incredible power that lays within your mind, yourself, to choose how you feel every single waking moment? It struck me some time ago that by eliminating negative people from my life I eliminated all the emotional baggage and drama that they brought with them through my door each time I had contact with them. I am sure we all have people like this in our lives. People who are emotional vampires, who suck the joy out of our lives, who spread their angst and misery with them wherever they go, always playing the victim, always vomiting their drama into the foyer of our lives.
We patiently play the role of supportive friend, patting their backs as they weep over their latest follies or as they drone on endlessly about this abusive person or that unsolvable problem, or worse, they inflict subtle emotional torture on us. They never stop to think for a moment how their actions affect those around them. They’ll emotionally abuse you and dump all over you and you’ll excuse their bad behaviour repeatedly… They’re going through a breakup, a divorce, a bad day at the office, a personality disorder, PMS, a broken toe, an addiction.
Think about the people in your life who make you happy, who lift you up, support you, care about you, cheer you on during a challenge or project. The people who will answer their phone or door to you at 2am if you need a friend to talk to or will be there to help you if your car breaks down on the highway. I’m sure there are people in your life who when you leave their company you leave happy and smiling and had a good time with them.
Now think about your collection of people who when you leave their company you feel exhausted, emotionally depleted, worried, concerned, angry, sad, insulted, confused and whatever other negative emotion comes to mind. I’m not talking about a once off, but people who repeatedly, continuously leave you feeling negative after you’ve been in their company. Who’s company do you prefer? Hmm. Now ask yourself why the hell you do it to yourself? If you have the power to choose who you spend your time with, will you not consciously choose to put more effort into the positive relationships and just simply cut out the negative ones? Imagine that life and how nice it would be to just be surrounded with the positive people that you allow in, that you choose to spend your time with. Ah, bliss.
Several years ago I had occasion to evaluate all the relationships in my life and this concept struck me quite powerfully. Why on God’s green earth was I making an effort to spend time with people who made me feel crappy whenever I left their company? I’d call them up, make plans to see them, and when I left I felt hurt and confused, as though I needed to somehow seek their approval and wasn’t making some sort of indefinable grade that that they’d set for me. I’d endure veiled insults and aspersions and on the drive home I’d find myself wondering what they’d meant when they’d said that, or if I’d somehow misinterpreted something, but that feeling in the pit of my stomach was uncomfortable and unwanted and overwhelmingly negative. I’d lay awake at night fretting and trying to figure out how to make amends for some imperceivable infraction I must have made…
One day I just adopted that brilliant Indian philosophy I happened upon amongst the nuggets of wisdom that are often scattered on my Facebook page. Fuck it. Fuck them and fuck this. I chose the positive relationships in my life and I surgically removed the negative ones. I can’t tell you how odd it is to not find myself worrying over this or that person’s self-inflicted drama or relaying a negative experience I had with so-and-so to my good friends. I admit I think I was oddly addicted to it. The lost causes, the birds with the broken wings, the problem friends who always asked for advice and then never took it, making one bad decision after another. It’s all gone and the void where all that was is now filled with peace and contentment. I’ll admit I was a slow learner on this one. In my bid to always be a good person, to be forgiving of others faults, I forgot that there is always a choice in the company you keep and the people you allow into your inner circle. Examine your frenemies, examine your toxic relationships and ask yourself why you keep in contact with the negative people when you could rather spend time with the positive, uplifting people in your life.
I did and it has made a world of difference. Occasionally I’ll remember them, and even miss them, but then I consciously turn my thoughts to the great people who I consciously willed into my life. Believe me, when you choose to surround yourself with positive people it’s like watering a flower bed, suddenly all these amazing people pop up in your life. On that note, dear reader, hopefully I’ve left you with some food for thought. I know we can’t avoid every negative so-and-so on the planet. We have to go to work and the workplace is often filled with negative people you would never choose to associate with in the normal course of your day, but again, it is your choice to engage them or to push them to the periphery. Just smile and gravitate towards the positive people in the office and when in doubt, remember that brilliant Indian philosophy I mentioned earlier. Fuck it.
Stay inspired dear reader and thank you, as always, for reading,