By Yvonne Wallace
Let’s think about this a little bit more. What if we’re surrounded by people who talk about their problems over and over again? They complain 95% of the time, kind of like emotional vampires – sucking out your positive energy until you feel drained.
Or maybe you surround yourself with people who contradict you. They judge your decisions and challenge everything you say. In either situation, if you leave the conversation and feel exhausted, it might be time to take a close look at these relationships and assess how they impact your life.
The top five people you spend your time with should be people whom you admire and give you energy. If not, then it’s time to slowly shift some of your tribe.
While you’re going through this process, it’s totally normal to re-evaluate relationships with friends and family members. You need to ask yourself if these people are giving you positive energy or taking it away. There is such a thing as friends and family who challenge you in a positive way. They might ask questions that help you better understand your feelings. When they come to you with a problem it is because they trust you and seek your input, not because they are in chronic victim mode with chronic complaints.
It’s not always easy to be honest with yourself when you evaluate relationships, but just pay attention. I’m not asking you to dump all of your friends and ignore your family members. All I’m asking is for you to notice who helps you feel renewed and connected as opposed to who brings down your mood. Once you figure this part out, you can begin to make some small shifts with your time to protect yourself and your emotional health.
At the same time, it’s important to start connecting with people who bring a sense of fulfillment into your life. These can be friends, family, teachers, authors, conference speakers, etc. Slowly begin to figure out who lights you up and makes you want to burst out smiling. Maybe you get inspired by simply watching You Tube videos by an inspirational speaker like Louise Hay. Maybe it’s by reading an amazing book on personal growth. MK and I are big fans of Brené Brown’s work on authenticity. Or perhaps it’s taking an annual weekend trip to the beach by yourself (what mom doesn’t want this??) to re-calibrate and re-charge. There, you might read or listen to inspiring authors or thought leaders as you sit by the water.
The first step in all of this is to make a list of things you value in friends and relationships – the things that light your fire. Then, go and seek people that are aligned with these values. You will know you’ve found your tribe when you find yourselves engaging in conversation that fills both of you up, when you are reading the same books, or you are attending the same conferences.
As you make these changes, you will begin to have less time for the people that make you unhappy. Suddenly, negative people (on social media and in real life) will seem very unimportant. And never-ending complaints from, “the person who won’t quit,” will have less space in your life.
Try to find more of the relationships that light you up. If you do, I promise your mood and your heart will thank you.
Have you made shifts in relationships at certain points in your life? Are there relationships that you currently find exhausting? Let us know how you’ve handled these situations.
Yvonne and MK