Every once in a while I see posts and quotes that advise if you want to be more positive, remove negative people from your life. When I read these, I think I might be taking it personally so I want to find a new perspective on the subject.
I'm sure everyone knows what I'm talking about but to clarify POP explains it like this:
“Even though you’re doing your best to practice positive thinking, you may not realize that it’s those around you that unload their negative energy onto you. You know who they are, talking negatively about the people around them and their own life experiences. And they may not even be realizing it, but their “venting” process is actually affecting your own positive energy.” ~ Power of Positivity
Now I totally understand the meaning and the reasoning behind this. And I honestly believe that we must leave the really toxic people and unsafe relationships behind; the ones that are harmful, that use, and abuse you, and destroy your sense of worth. I've even had to do this myself in the past but what about the people who are not harmful, the people who are just lost in their way, the people who haven't been shown anything different yet. I was one of those people just a few months ago, despite years and years of trying to find happiness, it just always seemed to elude me.
We all are going through life on our own path. Our paths intertwine with others, some for a short time and others for a long time, depending on their purpose in our life. It doesn't matter how many negative people you walk away from, more will just keep coming your way until you learn the lesson they are meant to teach you. In reality, not many people are going to walk away from the majority of negative people in their lives. I know if I did, I would be pretty much alone. I don't have a positive support network of family or friends that I can rely on. I must seek out my inspiration in other ways.
I decided to write this article because I read and replied to the following comment on one of Power of Postitivity's articles concerning their quote above.
“Other people's negative spirit can not affect you if you choose not to let it. It's unkind to reject negative people. They are like that for a reason. Have some compassion for those who have not yet learned the value of a positive spirit. Instead of cutting them off, bathe them in your own positive light. Rejecting others because you believe they disturb your sense of positivity is selfish. Help others.” ~ Aisha Shah
Now, I want you to think about these quotes too:
“God manifests as love – love for other people, compassion for their problems, and a real willingness to help them.” ~ Carry the Message
“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” ~ Thomas Merton
I have never in my life met someone that enjoyed being miserable. Deep down we all want something more, something better but most of us just don't know what it is yet. We have created a world where we are so consumed with our preoccupation that we are blinded to see what it is that we are really searching for. The vast majority of us have been down that dark road, so why when we reach the light are we condemning the ones who are struggling to catch up to us?
When I questioned my dear friend Essence Turner on this subject, this is what she told me, “In my experience, when you come from being a negative person and you want to change to a more positive outlook, you don't have the strength, the energy to combat the negative energy with your positive energy. The person hasn't built that muscle; they're still very impressionable. So in the beginning a person may have to be selfish, and that's fine.... I think to cut off may be harsh but sometimes you have to distance yourself from others until your light begins to shine or until your light is bright enough to cast out their darkness, at least while you're in their presence.”
I really like her view on this. “Distance yourself” is so much more acceptable to me. Especially if you are in a vulnerable state in your process of finding yourself and even more so if the distance you create is for the greater good. The finality of “remove yourself” and “cutting people off” was what provoked my need for a new perspective.
So maybe when we reach the light and are strong enough to cast out the dark, we can confidently show others and inspire them to find their own happiness. Smiles are contagious; the tiniest spark of light will illuminate the dark; others are drawn to and inspired by happy people; love is the strongest weapon we have. If we can do our best to succeed in our own happiness, the people around us will see our transformation and say, “Wow, what are you doing? I've seen such a change in you and I want what you've got!”
Sue Fitzmaurice said it well with, “The more my path becomes clear, the more the people around me change.” I think as we improve ourselves, we just need to change our perspective concerning negative people and fill ourselves up with love, acceptance, compassion and empathy.
We wont be able to help everyone that's travelling that dark road along with us but we can show them by example if we keep going that they just make it too. And every once in a while when someone reaches out to you, don't stop, just slow down your step, grab hold and walk together for a time. If someone didn't do that for me a couple months back, I would still be stumbling around. Sometimes her step picks up a bit and she's in front of me, and other times she staggers a little but my favorite times are when we are walking hand-in-hand.