Just Say No to Negativity

Recently on an episode of The Nate Berkus Show (well recent to me anyway as I DVR and watch when I get a chance, which is not as often as I like admittedly), guest Maria Menounos discussed the concept of decluttering. She talked about the need to declutter not just our homes of things and “stuff” to become better functioning and organized folks, but also that we need to declutter certain people from our lives who are collecting dust and taking up space there, too. I sat and viewed this episode intently, so much so that in the end I was left wondering if this was an action I should take to try to eliminate some of the confrontations I’ve met up with lately myself.

Menounos talked about how there are and will always be negative forces in our world and lives, but that doesn’t mean we have to actively enable or live with them day in and day out. She suggested that we should “shake our trees and getting rid of the bad apples.” Of course we should! One bad apple absolutely can spoil the bunch, and we don’t keep those around now, do we? Hmm, so far, so interesting. She then went on about avoiding “energy vampires,” a name she gives the folks in our worlds who suck the positive out of any conversation or experience. You know the ones: the complainers; the “oh woe is me” people; the Eeyores; the phony supporters (whom I simply refer to as “cheerleaders” in the social networking world); and anyone else whom is there for us only because they need an audience for their troubles and dramarama all the freaking time. In other words, she’s talking about those who require heavy emotional lifting 24/7, and she’s just tired and beat down from any and all interactions with them. Wow, so am I. In fact, I am feeling sucked dry just from describing the above subset of people, let alone dealing with them!

Now please don’t get me wrong; I realize we ALL hit a rough patch in life now and then. However these are not the times nor the folks I am talking about as there’s a way that many of those folks are able to handle their down-times actively and constructively rather than dumping on others or wallowing in their own pity parties. And just as Menounos believes, I too believe it is how folks handle those hiccups and ebbs in their lives (positively/ actively vs. negatively/ passively) versus the nature and occurrence of the ebbs themselves. But the folks who appear to be living their life in constant ebb with no positive flow… well, I think it’s high time for me to sail away to a more productive port of call.

After viewing this episode segment, I promptly put an item on my to-do list: Make time for a “de-friendzy.” If you’ve never heard of that before, it’s a social network housecleaning of sorts where you go through each person in your contact lists and networks, take pause, and decide who shall stay and who shall go.

For me, I decided to answer these two questions as I ran down my lists:

  1. Is this someone I still wish to share my thoughts with, let alone read theirs?
  2. When I read this person’s posts, for the most part do I come away motivated, inspired, and happy, or apathetic, spiritless, and frustrated?

If the answer to either of the above questions was no, I disconnected with them by hiding their posts or making an email folder that would immediately file incoming mail to a specific spot where I could open it all when I had the time and patience for it. If the answer to both questions was no, I disconnected with them on social networking altogether. And just because I don’t want to interact virtually doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be friends or friendly in real life should our paths cross again, but it does mean that on a daily, virtual basis, sorry, but I’m just not that into you. Thankfully, it turns out I have enough shiny, happy people in my world (Menounos referred to this as a one’s own “Sunshine Committee” ) that the decluttering project for me was not too time-consuming nor did it leave me friendless by any means. Whew!

Menounos went on and admitted while it’s much harder to do this with family than with friends and acquaintances, she said it’s still a necessary act so you can get on the right positive path, and she did offer this suggestion. When dealing with a particularly negative family member that you just cannot always avoid, Menounos’ advice was to take a “time-out” away from person; try to put some distance between you and that person for a set amount of time (virtually, physically, no phone calls/ texts etc.). Next once you have had space from that person and time to analyze your situation and relationship, make a to-do list about that person of exactly what you want to require of that person for your relationship to thrive, and vice-versa. Then try to reset a more manageable boundary with that person. Finally, restart the relationship. Sounds like a relationship reboot of sorts to me, though I wish we all just had ctrl-alt-delete buttons to wipe the slate clean, don’t you?

Turns out Larry Bird – yes, THAT Larry Bird – believes that a person on a team always play better when surrounded by positive, hard-working teammates. Menounos talked about how Bird often attributed his success on the court to his teammates no matter how good of a game he might have played. The “Dream Team” idea of the whole adding up to much more than the sum of its parts is another way to describe this concept. My takeaway here is that I, too, can play better on my various life teams (home, family, friends, moms, colleagues, etc.) when I surround myself with better people. Yay for Team Positive!

So as Menounos closed the segment with, so shall I: Let all that negativity exit stage left, and introduce more positive into your world stage right.

Break a leg, RMT’ers!

One response to “Just Say No to Negativity

  1. What a great reminder to all of us. If friends are the family we choose, then why would we choose people who drain us? Very well written too 🙂

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