I was recently talking to a dear friend. He is not a friend that I see often, nor do we call each other often and we rarely text. There is so much I don’t know about him, yet I feel close to him. For example, I don’t know his address but I have his number. I know where he works but I do not know his birthday; I do not know his favorite color either and I have known him for years. Yet, I feel deeply connected to him. It is one of those connections that cannot be adequately explained. Whenever we meet, which isn’t often unfortunately, we hug and smile genuinely as we are happy to see each other and excited at the prospect of spending time together.
He is one of those real souls, which today, with the superficial nature of relationships, is a rare commodity. He doesn’t have time for bullshit, and he is awfully nice, all the time, to everybody. Moreover, he isn’t nice because social mores require him to be. He isn’t nice to score points with people or so that he could get a boost in his self-esteem. The man doesn’t need people’s validation to function or be himself. I hate him to a lesser degree because he just reminds me of how nice I should aspire to be, meaning I am not nice enough! As if it was anyone’s fault but my own…
I am talking about my friend because we got to chatting recently and he told me something that hit me. He said he doesn’t hang out with people that don’t add something positive in his life. As fate would have it, I too think the same. I might be extremist in that regard. I am at a point in my life where avoiding stress has become the number one priority, ahead of, and I hate to say this, seeking pleasure ( a very close second priority!).
I am at a point where if I am chilling at my place, and I get a call to go hang out with my crew, I will ask who is already there and who might stop by later. I swear to all the Gods, if I hear that a person that I cannot stand or who is going to piss me off by saying inappropriate or dumb things or if it’s an individual who is judgmental, with an overall negative energy, I simply do not go. True story!
That is the point I have reached in my adult life. I ain’t got time for people’s negative energy. I simply and frankly don’t. I used to love conflict, in a bizarre and subtle way. I was extremely loud (some would say that I still am and I cannot argue with that) and I was also fiery, argumentative (still am, not as much), pushy and on the offensive. I certainly don’t know why I was like that. I guess it was a phase.
But today? My God! I see the error of my past ways. I have matured and I cannot help but laugh at the old immature, inexperienced and slightly insecure young guy that I was. Let’s just say I don’t shout as much, I don’t argue as much or if I do and I see the argument has reached a point of no return, I simply walk away. Except when I argue with my older brother! Still cannot walk away from that, just yet. In the end, I do not have time for people’s bullshit and especially negative energy.
The latter is tricky. It isn’t always ostentatious. It can be subtle. The negative energy can come from a small comment, a gesture, a smirk, a laugh, a look and the words used by the negative individual that roams free at times among us. Moreover, once we don’t like someone, confirmation bias sets in and whatever they do, triggers a negative response in our eyes and that feeling is usually hard to suppress and we cannot be objective.
Today, I avoid negative people and negative energy like the plague. The slightest hint of stress, displeasure, annoyance or offense, triggers in me a flight response, not a fight one. Unless attacked physically, or if someone I care about is attacked physically or verbally abused, I will walk away. My time and energy are way too precious to be wasted on mundane things. I am arrogant enough to recognize it. I will not stoop to the mediocre and negative levels that are often displayed around us. Let’s not forget that confrontation, showing that you are tough, cool and slick is the new thing today. Certain people cannot wait to show off and prove to the world how tough they are. Well, if they don’t do it at my expense, may all the Gods bless them!
My friend was right. We owe it to ourselves to be at peace. We owe it to ourselves to engage in meaningful relationships, the ones that add value to our lives. We owe it to ourselves to push away those who do not match our criteria. We owe it to ourselves to be surrounded with people who bring as much joy, laughter, insightful conversations as possible. There is nothing wrong with putting ourselves first so we can avoid high blood pressure, heart attacks, anxiety and an overall sense of uneasiness.
I believe we do not cut some people off our lives because we are afraid, we might be perceived as being bad people. I know that fear. It is 100% justifiable but useless. I’d rather be perceived as bad and have peace of mind than being perceived as good and have my heart filled with anxiety. That’s just me!
Cutting people off doesn’t necessarily mean confronting them. You could stop hanging out with them. It can be that simple. I am not telling people to be antisocial or intolerant of others. I am just saying that some people aren’t my cup of tea and I’d rather stay away from them. I am positive I am not someone’s cup of tea and it is fine. We don’t have to be enemies because we are not friends anymore. Let’s just be civil when we see each other, as infrequently as possible and life goes on.
My friend was right: if someone doesn’t add something positive in your life, just don’t hang out with them anymore. I have been applying that philosophy lately and I have never been better. He was right. Peace of mind and personal growth are priceless. May all the Gods bless him for sharing his view of interpersonal relationships with me.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day.