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Do you find yourself surrounded by negativity?
I GET IT! And I’ve been there! And the worst part is…you can’t break free. Even when you know it isn’t good…maybe even toxic… you STILL go back.
Am I speaking your language? Want to know why?? The Science behind it?
Humans are wired for connection and interaction with others. Seriously! When you are talking to someone, pathways in your brain LIGHT UP. When we connect regularly with others we have better self-esteem, lower anxiety and maybe even a better immune system! So NOT having anyone around is NOT a choice.
Abraham Masolw (of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) even went so far as to label love and belonging as a basic necessity right up there with food, water, sleep and physical safety. If we don’t have these things (connection included) we can’t achieve other higher “levels” that we might be capable of.
But here’s the other crazy/cool part and probably why you feel terrible when you are surrounded by negativity. Through the field of neuroscience we have learned that mirror neurons in our brains are stimulated when we are interacting with other people. The mirroring refers to emotions and behaviors. Whatever THEY are conveying WE are experiencing too.
We have to create an intentional support system so we have a place to go for our connection and aren’t just taking what we can get. We find it so it doesn’t find us.
Intentional support is a relationship with someone that involves:
Being dependable and a person of your word. Honesty is the foundation.
A focus on giving as well as (and usually more than) receiving. It isn’t tit for tat.
Getting past ceremony: call, ask, invite, initiate,
Communication and vulnerability: asking for help, not holding on to things, addressing issues candidly and unapologetically
Make you feel noticed and important
Let’s spell out THE 5 PEOPLE YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE.
Why 5 people? Because research suggests that you become the sum of the 5 people you intentionally surround yourself with!
For sake of a really easy way to understand how each of these 5 people play into your support, imagine that you are playing in an important basketball game. What people help you perform you very best?
Coach - someone who plugs into you before and after the game (mainly) and prepares you to perform your very best like a life coach or therapist or trainer. Looks at your flaws and maybe even points them out. NOT a friend (but they might be friendly) Usually someone that is hired or otherwise bartered into this position.
Anchor - another player in the game, but someone who is just a little bit more experienced. This is someone who can help direct you in real time by calling plays based on how you are performing. Sometimes your significant other or best friend can serve as an anchor, but they have to have permission to “call you out.”
Mentor - someone who isn’t currently in the game but has traveled your specific steps. Think about a retired point guard coming to the game and you are the current point guard of the team. You would take their advice anytime:
Friend - this person is sitting in the stands biting their nails. They want you to perform your best, BUT will let you cry on their shoulder if you fail.
Cheerleader - no matter whether you are down or up or just lost the whole game, they will tell you that “you are the best” and “can do anything” - we all just really need someone who will build us up when we are feeling down.
Now before we go…let’s talk about those negative people in your life. Some we may be able to just walk away from, but others are there to stay so here are a few tips when dealing with those people that drag you down.
NOTE: All of these things could be an individual blog so please comment and let me know if you want to hear more!
Identify whether or not you really want to build/maintain a genuine relationship with this person. If the answer is no but you must interact with them, figure out how they drain you so you can stay one step ahead. Moves us right into the next point…
Know your limits and live within them. You may need to set a healthy boundary by saying no, taking a break, limiting your time together or walking away.
Accept people for who they are and focus on what they do to bring good into this world.
Let petty things go.
Let go of the past. Forgive for what is does for YOU without the need for reconciliation
If you feel the need to criticize be tactful and sandwich between positives.
Be aware of your own actions and how you’re being received. Don’t push your opinion and apologize if someone gets hurt without trying to find fault.
LIFEWORK: figure out who these people are and write it down. If you don’t have one - get one! Do your best to connect with them more intentionally (revisit our list from before) and give back as much as you get.