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We are currently living in arguably the most tumultuous times in a generation. As we come out of a first in a century pandemic, our world is now faced with yet another humanitarian crisis that can drag nations into a war that can lead to more death, despair and destruction. What this world needs more now is love and prayer; not divisiveness.
People can and should have differing opinions about politics, philosophies, religions, social issues, healthcare and everything else; but we need to also have the ability to converse in loving, accepting ways and do it with intellectual honestly. In fact, I often think about the quote,
“Being taught to avoid talking about politics and religion has led to a lack of understanding of politics and religion. What we should have been taught was how to have a civil conversation about a difficult topic.”Anonymous
While we should surround ourselves with people who we can learn from and who challenge us, it is equally important to bathe yourself in the company of positivity and engage in constructive behaviors as much as humanly possible. Happiness is contagious and spending time with positive people creates a positive environment. Surrounding yourself in this environment will help you create and share happiness with others around you, and it is a very constructive behavior for your kids to witness.
We also need to create opportunities to laugh. Laughter can heal physical pain as well as help handle mental stress. It releases “feel-good” endorphins and can express a great positive influence on surrounding people. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells along with infection-fighting antibodies that improve the body’s resistance to disease.
Hanging around people that do not constantly complain is good for everyone. It lifts one’s spirits to spend time with others who choose to look at the positives in life. On top of this, people can learn great coping strategies by being inspired by those around them. People tend to mirror those who they spend the most time with. Through the admiration and respect of positive people and the environment that is encompassed, people can gain a more positive outlook on life.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”Jim Rohn
Of course this does not mean that you should avoid people who have challenges in life or are more “negatively-charged.” All people need and deserve love and compassion. I think it’s important that you do your best to have a wide variety of personalities that you spend time with, but if you want to be positive, it’s a good idea to spend more time with positive people.
It is important to understand that not all people are created with visible joy, optimism and only see rainbows and unicorns. Those are not the people I am recommending you want to limit your time with. I’m referring to people who constantly complain about everything, gossip about everyone and suck the joy out of life. You know who they are… they’re the ones who light up the room when they leave it.
In so many aspects of our lives, we do not have control over the people we interact with daily. Co-workers, neighbors, and family members are among the relationships we all share. Below are six rules of thumb to keep in mind when faced with potentially negative individuals.
Rule #1: Avoid negative talk. Don’t gossip or indulge others in negative conversations. As the old adage goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Rule #2: Demonstrate your values through your words and actions.
Rule #3: Openly talk about those values and goals you hold to be most important.
Rule #4: Support the values, goals, and ideas of others through your actions and your words.
Rule #5: Minimize the amount of time and energy you invest in negative people.
Rule #6: Surround yourself with positive people whose ideas, values, and goals are similar and compatible with your own.