Keep it Positive
Kick Out the Crashers
Your life is your party. You are in charge.
And, like a party, you can, and should, kick out the crashers.
At a party, unwelcome crashers are easy to identify. They help themselves to food and drink, offend your friends, maybe break stuff and are generally obnoxious. You would not hesitate to insist that they leave.
So why is it sometimes hard to kick out the crashers in your life? I’m talking about the people who waste your time, kill your vibe, weigh you down with negativity. They come in various sizes and shapes. Some just like you for your money, others hope that you can fix them or make them happy. In any case, you are worse off for having them around.
If you think about it, very often, you may wince when they call or find yourself stressed after spending time with them. You’re not quite sure why you allow this to happen. Maybe you feel sorry for them or you just don’t want to be rude. Or maybe they are family or long-time friends and you just can’t cut them loose.
These people are toxic. Get away from them. Get away as fast and as far as you would from nuclear waste! The stress and energy drain that they represent gnaws away at your ability to pursue your best life and can even shorten your life span.
Seriously. Take an inventory of all the people in your life. Did they choose you or did you choose them? Do you really want them in your life? Start planning to disengage from the toxic people. Trust me, it is important.
You Are the Sum of Your Closest Companions
Keeping toxic people in your life is sort of like eating junk food. It just isn’t good for you.
We’ve all heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” Obviously, if you keep eating junk, you will probably gain weight and become less healthy. Eat junk, turn your body into junk. Simple.
Here is another one for you: “You are the sum of the five people with whom you spend the most time.” Think about it. If you spend an hour or two with someone who has a great sense of humor, is kind and genuinely cares about you, won’t you end up feeling pretty good and being full of humor and kindness yourself? Of course you will. Sadly, this works with negative people too. If you hang out with someone who is negative, angry or gossipy, maybe you won’t become those things after one visit. If you’re lucky, you’ll just come away with a mild headache. But if you keep them as regular companions, eventually, you will be a worse person.
So, what should you do? Remember that you are in charge. Begin to actively decide who you want in your circle and how you will spend your time. You do not have to take every call. You are not obligated to spend your precious time doing anything that you would not choose to do. When you realize these things, you begin to feel very free and empowered. Your life belongs to you.
Spend time with people who are positive and be positive yourself. Commit to incorporating “positivity triggers” in your daily routine. (After all, YOU don’t want to be one of those toxic people!)
Here are my top seven positivity triggers:
- Feel gratitude. Start each day by thinking of everything for which you are grateful. Make a point of expressing gratitude to at least one person each day.
- Smile at yourself in the mirror. What better way to start the day than with a smile?
- Seek beauty in nature. Say hello to that special tree on your morning commute. Know which windows in your home offer ideal sunrise or sunset views. Or if you are traveling, find the café with the rooftop bar or waterfront view and make that a regular stop.
- Have an exercise routine, even if it is only a ten-minute core routine that you can expand when you have more time.
- Stand up straight, smile and walk confidently. Yes, walking the walk can make a difference.
- Enjoy music. Have a playlist of your favorites to get you going.
- Have an “end of the day” treat. It could be a bubble bath with scented candles. Or a nice glass of wine with some really good chocolate. It does not have to be much, nor does it have to be the same thing each day. Just a little something to pamper yourself.
Turning the Negative to Positive
Of course, despite your best efforts, there will be some negative things that creep into your world. Instead of moaning about it, do your best to turn them into positives. Here are some possibilities:
Be grateful for the learning experience, even when it is someone else’s fault.
Maybe you have a client who is being very demanding. A real jerk even. It is hard to be grateful for that. Use this as a chance to hone your communication skills. Or, maybe try and really understand what is required and learn how to be better than you were. Or, if there is just no getting past the fact that the situation is unreasonable, use it as inspiration to find a new direction.
Be grateful for the learning experience, even when it is your fault.
On the other hand, maybe no one is being a jerk. Maybe you just really messed up. Whatever it was, you dropped the ball. Be big. Apologize. Make it right. Learn, grow and move on.
Very often things bring us down because we take the whole situation, and ourselves, just too seriously. Whatever it is, in the grand scheme of the universe, it probably is not that important. Don’t take it personally and try to move on.
Remember, life is your party. Even if you must deal with a negative person, you do not have to tolerate a long rant or agree with a negative outlook. You can politely but firmly redirect the conversation. Who knows, you may even do some good by challenging a negative outlook with a positive one.
Disengage from conflicts.
You don’t have to win every fight. You can creatively seek to find a mutually agreeable solution, commonly referred to as a win-win. Or, you can simply walk away. Again, in the big picture, most things just aren’t that important.
Kill negativity with kindness.
Kindness is probably not the impulse you feel when you are surrounded by negativity. However, kindness can be extremely powerful and can disarm the negative. Try it, you never know!
Encourage positivity by rewarding it wherever you find it.
Be generous with compliments.
For the helpful act, the smile, the delightfully beautiful appearance, the laugh, the encouragement, the wise advice…whatever it was that brightened your day, acknowledge it and it is more likely to happen again.
Share the positivity.
Whether you adopt the positivity triggers that I mentioned earlier, or you have your own, occasionally find ways to share them with other people. They say that misery loves company. Well guess what? Happiness loves company too!
Bring positive people together with other positive people.
Actively seek ways to help others make useful connections. This makes you a truly valuable friend and multiplies the positivity in your circle.
Most of all, reward yourself.
End each day reminding yourself of the good things that happened that day.
You will find that with a little nurturing, the positivity in your life grows by leaps and bounds. In turn, you will be stronger in your resolve, happier with your successes and more fulfilled in all your relationships!