How do you choose who to be close to, and why? People who lift your spirits? People who inspire you? Or people around whom you feel lacking; in whose company you feel alone?
I’ve done both. I’ve been with inspirational people who have challenged me to the max, and who inspired me to grow. I’ve also been with people who I thought would inspire me as a teacher, or who I thought wanted to connect as I did, but instead, I ended up feeling like an outsider. The first increased my energy and enjoyment; the second ultimately depleted it.
Of course, nothing in life is that simple. Those who inspired me the most often began as tyrants. But unlike hurtful tyrants, these, I discovered, had my best interests at heart. My energy with them was never depleted – increased to the level of high heat, perhaps, but not depleted. Do you have people in your life like that? A teacher, perhaps, who challenges you every time you wander off mentally.
Then there are those you choose as friends. They may have chosen you. Every time you’re with that person, you leave feeling tired, perhaps even soiled, like you’ve been through something that took almost all the extra reserves of energy you had. That could be for a lot of reasons, and whatever the reason is, it leaves you feeling depleted.
It’ hard to tell sometimes – challenger or depleter? You may decide to stick around for a while to find out. I usually do, and it’s always worth it.
Believe it or not, it reminds me of the garter snake. I played with garter snakes as a young child, and came to know them quite well. They are one of the few species of snakes that are communal, which leads to an interesting fact about them: they can sometimes be poisonous, depending on who they hang out with and what they ingest.
We’re the same: if we hang out with people we feel rotten around, we end up taking that on.
I’d rather take on the qualities of those I love and admire, and who feed my spirit.
The art of choosing
Quote of the Week
Choose people who will lift you up. Find people who will make you better.”
― Michelle Obama
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co