This week I did not receive a specific question, so I’m deciding to write about something I feel is extremely relevant to college students and people in general—cutting negativity out of your lives. My inspiration behind this topic was sparked by a recent event hosted by Glamour Magazine, “The Power of an Educated Girl.” Over 1,000 girls attended and listened to a panel of strong, powerful and highly educated women represented in our society. One of these women was First Lady Michelle Obama.
Of the many inspirational things she said, one specific piece of advice resonated with me the most, “You cannot be successful hanging around people who drag you down. You have to fill your bucket with positive energy, and if you have people hanging around you that are bringing you down and not lifting you up, whether that’s your boo or your best friend, you’ve got to learn how to push those people to the side.”
Most of the time we don’t realize that negativity can be caused by people who are directly involved in our lives. Ironically, it’s the people we spend the majority of our time with who can bring us down the most. It could be friends who gossip or belittle you, a dishonest significant other or certain people in your sorority/fraternity who constantly complain. Recognizing this is hard, so ask yourself these questions:
- Do I like the way I feel and act when I am around my friends or significant other?
- Do the people I choose to be around support my dreams, aspirations or goals?
- Does my friend or significant other inspire me to be a better person?
- Am I happy?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you have some work to do in figuring out why these people are still around. Being in a relationship or friendship with someone who doesn’t make you feel good is unhealthy. The quickest way toward a healthier you is to cut them out of your life best you can.
Director of Counseling Services Dr. Franklin Kelemen said, “If someone’s that harsh or bad to be around, it’s up to me to do something about it, which means figure out a way to tolerate it, if I want to be around that person or let them them go. It certainly happens in loving interpersonal relationships where people are involved in relationships that are destructive, and it can be very hard to change.”
No matter how hard it might seem, if you stay away from the people who bring you down, there will be room for the right people to step in. Not everyone who walks into your life is meant to stay. You have to make active choices each day to surround yourself with people who put a smile on your face and not just temporarily.
Think hard about who you spend your time with. Is it stressful keeping up with a relationship with someone in your life? Do you feel like you are giving up pieces of yourself by being around certain people? If so, then claim those pieces of yourself back. They are yours and no one else’s.
Having good people by your side is important. Relationships are at the heart of life, but strive to be content on your own. If you seek happiness from within, rather than filling the voids in your life through external sources, you can learn how to become your own champion.
Photo by Corey Wheeler