I’ve been thinking a lot about a particular piece of advice I’ve received from my mentor, Bosco Anthony, and his mentor, David Reeves: “Work with people and surround yourself with people who deserve your energy, not those who need it.”
I like to be with people. Over the years, I’ve met many people and they have helped me in some way or another, but I have also met people who put me down. These are people who place their insecurities on me and expect me to change myself for the worst because they don’t feel good about themselves. I have friends who used to support me, but no longer do because they have given up on their own dreams and mine as well. I know friends who say they going to “do something”, but they never actually get off their arse and do it.
I know they are not “bad” people, but as I grow older and find my time becoming more and more limited due to work and family obligations, I begin to wonder why I spend my time with certain people who take my energy but don’t give any back.
It wasn’t always like that. At some point, they were a positive influence on me, which is why we became friends in the first place. Now I find myself having to sit through discussions of pettiness and distaste. All the while I am thinking to myself: my friend is having a bad day, they just want to vent. Simultaneously, I am stopping myself from saying, “Well, you don’t really know that about the other person, do you?”
I get it. Friends want you to be on their side even if they are wrong. I get it, but why do we need to talk badly of others to do so? And when you don’t give your friend the satisfaction of a shared “hatred”, why is it deemed as insensitivity?
There are times when negativity is directed to me. This occurs when my friend is not truly happy for me when I tell them good news. In some ways I understand because when you are unhappy, it is difficult to swallow other people’s happiness. Sadly, it gets to a point where I feel paranoid for sharing good events and that is not how things should be with a friend. I shouldn’t need to be so careful with my words.
So after all this, I think to myself that I should distance myself from these people who constantly give me negative vibes. I don’t necessarily need to cut them out of my life, but I should spend my time on people who make me happier than I make myself. I should be with people who discuss ideas instead of other people. I shouldn’t need to be constantly dealing with someone else’s insecurities when I haven’t even conquered my own.
I too have been this friend in the past. I have talked badly of others because I felt badly about myself. I have made jealous and bitter remarks because I remained stagnant while my friend took another step towards his or her goals. Eventually, I got tired of throwing myself a pity party and expecting people to attend. I didn’t want to be that friend. I don’t think anybody does.
When you only focus on the bad, you miss out on all the good. Negativity spreads- you might as well do yourself a favor and spread positive energy. The world needs more of that.
If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
― Roald Dahl, The Twits