Day 12: The Company We Keep

January 12th, 2010

group_activities_01“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” -George Washington

Scientific research has demonstrated that just one person’s negative energy can significantly reduce the productivity in a work group. Likewise, when one person in a couple consistently is negative, it is very difficult for the relationship to thrive. The people we associate with have deep and abiding impact on our own ability to be positive. Choosing the people you spend time with will often predict the kind of time you will have.

Our relationships, especially the ones where we most closely identify ourselves generally provide some kind of mirror into how we see ourselves. Not surprisingly, people with low self-esteem or in a emotional crisis often will unknowingly foster relationships with people who make them feel bad. They believe they deserve it. These relationships are easy to come by, because misery really does love company. Finding and nurturing relationships that build you up, that help you trust yourself are the rare gems in life and are the mark of a life that grows more healthy.

Most of our relationships have some of both. As I have been paying attention to what I say and think, it has become clearer to me which of my relationships have a negative charge. Some of the most challenging relationships that I deal with every day are with my four kids who are all hovering in and around their teen years, which you may remember is not the peak of emotional stability. The emotional rollercoaster of the ups and downs and the entitlement that I somehow brought up in them does not always bring out the best in me. Sadly, it has sometimes been a reflection of my most negative language. It is better now that I am watching, but let me just say that today I feel glad that I am only on day 12.

The other place where my negative buttons frequently get turned on is during my work day. Owning a small, yet inspirational love company has daily moments of grace with equal doses of challenge. Paying attention to the people who inspire the grace and those who make me move my wristband repeatedly today has clarified for me the places where my fears still lead me.

Even with all the wristband movement today, I could see the negativity has less intensity and shorter duration. All good signs, but still happy that it is only day 12.

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