Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Avoiding Negative Influences

Avoiding Negative Influences

We all have people in our lives that focus non-stop on the negative, what they are lacking, why life is unfair, and the perceived faults of others. I once had a supervisor at a former job that was so miserable she spent an inordinate amount of her day finding fault with everybody who reported to her, trying to find evidence that our manager was involved in inappropriate relationships with subordinates and passing judgment on others. The environment was toxic. I took another job within the company and ultimately left my employer to escape the negativity. It was draining. At the time I had a counselor who recommended I imagine this person had a brain tumor and couldn’t help it, but at the time I was too fragile to really understand. Miserable people beget misery. Sharing their unhappiness and trying to create unhappiness in others is a way of attempting to feel better about themselves.

Eventually, I came to understand that for me to thrive I needed to divest myself of negative people, to invest in relationships with others who are emotionally grounded and healthy, and to keep my focus on my blessings and feeling gratitude for the wonders of life.  This meant that I needed to sever some long- standing friendships and detach with love from some family members. While in some respects I was saddened by this decision, I knew that it was the best course of action for me to live a life of peace and serenity.  Refusing to become involved in other people's maelstroms of discontent, anger, unhappiness, self hatred, gossip, innuendo, plots, insecurities, dysfunction, relationships, addictions or familial strife, set me free to live a life unfettered by the black holes or magnetic forces that pull others into the vortex of misery. 

That is a gift, progress towards enlightenment, an appreciation for a semblance of sanity, and knowledge that I do not have to take on anybody else’s baggage.

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