On January 1, 2012 I made a resolution that I have stuck with to this day. It was to get the negativity surrounding me minimized or preferably gone! Negativity is such an easy trap to fall into and is contagious! Haven't we all been around those people who have the ability to make you feel like you just had your soul sucked from you after a few minutes in their company? Who wants to be that person? THAT person doesn't want to be That Person but probably doesn't even realize they are.
I am not unique in the fact that I can get wrapped up in thoughts that don't serve a positive purpose. It is human nature. I was easily derailed to a train of thought that brought down an opposing situation or person in order to build mine up. I would roll my eyes at the idea of someone being so ridiculous as to think they could make such a huge change in their life or think, "Oh please" when hearing of something that in actuality I was probably envious of.
It was when I actually starting planning out my own strategy to change my health and my life that I realized how judgmental I had become. I also had to come to the dark truth that some people around me encouraged and baited this behavior. It was time to make some serious efforts to address this in whatever manner I needed to.
I began by looking at myself and why I would find myself in the midst of an evil gossip fest, for instance. I had to be brutally honest and view a side of my personality I didn't like and was in no way proud of. It made me feel better to be in the judging position rather than being the one judged. I could feel better about myself or my situation if I was looking down at someone else. Clearly, this was not a conscious decision but the harm was still done. It harmed the feelings of those I was speaking of and it ultimately diminished my own feelings of self worth.
In these cases I needed to stop the tide of of the conversation or leave it altogether. Generally this worked and most people, when they realized how ugly they were being, would stop and change the course. Occasionally, and it happens to us all, I would have that person that just relished the idea of misery; misery in their life, misery in mine, misery in friends and neighbors, misery in the world at large. There isn't much I could do to change their thoughts or actions but I certainly didn't need to be in the line of fire or be encouraging just by my presence. There were several people I needed to just cut from my life.
I collect friends like some people collect pottery, stamps or Hummel figurines, so this was extremely difficult and emotional for me. If I am your friend I will remain your friend as long as you'll have me. I have a ferocious loyalty and expect the same. This kind of decision did not come easy and the act itself took much of my energy and sapped some emotional strength. In each case however, I found I could breath easier and felt lighter when the decision was finally made and acted on. I no longer had to sit through nasty and hurtful tirades. I didn't have someone who was spreading their contagion of hate and it was so freeing!
I do not recommend cutting off everyone or everything that brings you bad feelings or hurt. Sometimes this is a natural occurring part of a relationship and life. If however you find there is too much negative energy and nothing positive coming your way or out to others, maybe it's time to hit the Kill Switch and move on.
I came to the realization that in order to feel better about my life and myself I would need to do some work on building myself up without knocking those around me down. It was a lesson I thought I learned in Jr. High School but apparently time had washed that memory away and replaced it with a mild venom. I have changed my focus back to myself and away from what others think or say and have found it an important tool in my new state of well being.