Spend More Time with Positive People

I’ve spoken before about how having a negative friend can really bring you down. Having the right people in your life can truly make a difference in your overall happiness, and so I wanted to dig a little deeper into this topic with my post today.

I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but looking back, it’s clear to me that one of the major reasons why I fell in love with and married my wife is that she always made me feel great. Yadira is consistently positive, uplifting, and fun, and while it may sound cliché, when I’m with her, I feel like the best possible version of myself.

And over the years, I have gradually learned to apply that “how does this person make me feel?” test to all of my relationships. The fact is, when you spend time with some people, you feel relaxed, happy, and motivated. However, when you’re with others, you feel frustrated, pessimistic, and even upset.

Whether you’re talking about family members, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, or another group, the people you spend your time with can make or break your quest for happiness. Did you know that because we instinctively look for validation and guidance from the people around us, we eventually begin to pick up the habits, outlooks, and attitudes of those we’re with the most? Psychologists call this phenomenon “social proof,” and I think we all need to be more aware of how it impacts our lives.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to dump all of your friends and acquaintances who have ever uttered a complaint or a cynical comment. However, based on my own experiences, I do know that it helps to spend more time with people who are productive and constructive while politely limiting your interactions with the “Debbie Downers” of your acquaintance. I touched on this topic in a previous post on how to handle negative friends, but I think the concept bears repeating. You don’t do yourself any favors by letting toxic relationships remain in your life.

Yes, I’ll admit—it’s tough to take the initiative and weed unhealthy people and situations out of your life. But it’s also a kind of litmus test for how important being happy, healthy, and fulfilled really is to you. Is your outlook worth walking away when your coworkers start griping about the boss—or even the government—with no intention of offering solutions? Is your peace of mind worth saying, “Hey Cous, I know you don’t agree with all of my decisions, but I’m not going to change my mind. So can we agree not to rehash this stuff when our family is all together over the holidays?” And is improving a bad day worth calling up your best buddy so that you can remind yourself of how blessed you really are? These are all seemingly small actions and decisions that can make a huge impact on your life.

Think of this process as weeding, fertilizing, and watering a garden. These tasks might not be fun while you’re doing them, but they will be creating an environment that will enable you to grow to your full potential. And, my friends, if you ever catch me bringing you down instead of lifting you up, please let me know. We are all in this together!