Look at what your life is like now, the friends you are surrounding yourself with, your character, your place in the world. Now think of your personality, the characteristics you admire and want, e.g. a positive attitude, confidence, being healthy, ambitious, a good communicator, industrious, caring.

Who do you associate with? Who are your friends?

Are you spending too much time with those people who drain your energy? who love to gossip? who love to party and can’t get up in the morning? are they complainers and not solution finders? It’s difficult when you like people and they’re not positive influences. Is it causing you stress for you in your relationship? in your work? is it leaving you feeling negative too?

Are you unnecessarily juggling their problems as well as your own?

Why do we associate with these people?

I remember when I was at high school, I desperately wanted to be popular – other girls had plenty of dates with boys, they knew all the latest music, they hung out with other “cool” kids who dared to smoke at lunch time.  But luckily for me, my dad was a deputy principal and he knew all about those types of kids… he made sure I knew it too! He said “You can be popular later, study hard now!”  My fear of him actually helped me stand up to peer pressure. People tell me now that they regret ever bowing to peer pressure and starting to smoke. I had to separate being popular with being respected.

If you look at your life today are you around negative people who are causing you stress, making you depressed, constantly complaining? taking you down their path of destruction? Don’t confuse caring about people with being a sounding board. Caring about people is important, beware of the people who want attention by sharing their negative feelings, gossiping and even in getting pity. What if it’s a family member? You need to be honest with them and ask them why they’re complaining and how you can help. Maybe you can’t or that’s not what they are looking for. Be clear on who you are and what you believe in, don’t be afraid to say “I hate gossip, I would never want people to talk behind my back”.

If you’re honest with others it can help them.

A friend once told me she had noticed I was constantly taking my dog to the vet, she felt I was becoming pretty negative about life in general.  I told her she was wrong, the dog had issues! When I had time to think it over I realized I was the one with issues. I was taking the dog to the vet for the smallest problems, I was projecting my negativity. This made me aware of how I was thinking, acting and communicating.. it made me notice how much I complained not even wanting solutions, and it saved me a lot of money at the vet too! She did me a favor.

Don’t mistake your self-preservation and your self-respect with selfishness and being uncaring.

You need to judge this carefully, does this person have a serious complaint or are they a habitual complainer? Notice if there is a pattern emerging. At work is the same person always at your door just wanting to talk and complain?

 

Next week, we’ll learn about taking on too much and knowing when to say “No”.

 

 

COPING WITH STRESS SERIES: Who are Your Friends?
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