I had often heard about the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive people and influences. I mean, even on instagram, quotes about releasing ourselves from anything that doesn’t contribute to our personal evolution, pop-up daily on our feeds!
At first glance, it is obvious that advice or statements, similar to these, do make sense! But in reality, more often than expected, distinguishing our positive from negative influences and protecting ourselves, in order to progress in life, is easier said than done…. What happens when negative comments come from our dearest inner circle? When the same people that let us down or hurt us are family or childhood friends?
What happens when we are so used to bad criticism from our closest ones that we do not even acknowledge or comprehend their hurtful snipes, diminishing comments, or negative influences?
It was only during this last year, and yes, well into my 30’s, that I actually sat and pondered on these thoughts. The realization came after a lot of soul searching and, as it most often happens, a change of scenery! When you change environments and people you hang out with, then new stimuli start flooding in and, inevitably, you start seeing yourself and others from different perspectives.
At first, I had to awkwardly and reluctantly hear positive remarks about myself, my work or character, in order to realize how parched I had been for some “positivity” in my life!
It was because of that, that I started actively cutting off people from my inner circle; people that I felt were bringing me down. Initially, anger took over and I did it without questioning. Then, the usual guilt made its appearance and together with it, doubts and second thoughts haunted my mind… I talked about them only with people I felt had no judgment of my deeds and feelings. People I trusted; old confidants and new ones, who surprisingly had a terrific clarity and were spot-on in their advice. I guess, when we are truly ready and we believe we deserve it, then we attract more and more people as such to our lives.
I realized that the circles of life inevitably bring changes. Yes, it is a hurtful truth, but people do come and go from our lives.
Sometimes we have to make a double effort to keep them close, and other times we have to make a double effort in order to keep them at arm’s length and protect our wellbeing. It is imperative that we protect and fight for our right to be happy and positive and thus, have a positive influence on others, as well… Making sure though, that we do not actively or deliberately hurt other people around us, in the process.
It is important that we stand up for ourselves, in order to break old patterns of guilt tripping and sentimental bullying.
And it is OK to want to change crowds, scenery, jobs, relationships, even if we feel we let some people down. Those who want will accompany us in this quest. Those who don’t, might take a step back and reappear on another “circle”, or maybe not… But this is OK, too.
Dedicated to All my Sunshines!