Are you surrounded by supportive people? Do you support the people around you? It seems- 9 times out of 10- that when I encounter people who are truly struggling to advance themselves, to find peace, happiness or whatever they feel is success, they are surrounded by at least one influential person who manages to make them feel small. There is always some big drama happening. Every good thing that comes up is coupled with a negative.
Why does this seem to happen to some people all the time?
I certainly have had my massive lot of these drag-me-down relationships a decade ago. I would be headed toward a great place in life and along would come a “friend” who would vibrantly dump doubt in a “well-meaning” way upon me and I would take it on in heaps. I would also take on their problems, problems that they had no desire to solve themselves. I would go out of my way to help. Usually, what I did was not even appreciated. I would wind up feeling as small as a pea and totally drained of my own confidence and spirit. I would change my plans, and the fear would grow a bit bolder in my life. I would lose money, time, confidence, creativity. Ultimately, I would lose friends, too.
Once I realized that this pattern was totally destroying my life, I decided to pull away from just about everyone I know. That’s not a good solution. At least it wasn’t for me. Isolation is no way to live!
A brilliant cognitive behavioral therapist explained that what I was doing was an extremely arrogant pattern of feeling I could “fix” people who had no desire to be fixed. He explained that people tend to do this to hide from their own lives and their own unrealized goals. If you pour yourself into others, if you let others dominate you with their opinions and ideas, that’s not what they are doing to you… that’s what you are allowing to happen in your life.
It wasn’t “them” doing things to me, it was “me” doing a disservice to myself. I was allowing myself to stay small. This was all my choice.
Have you done this? Are you doing it now?
It was super-arrogant and foolish to think that I knew more about what was good for someone than they knew for themselves. It was my own conscious choice to share intimate details about my life with people who would definitely spin them in the negative.
A few ways I learned to stop the viscous cycle for myself:
- Taking responsibility. Victims don’t change things. People who can see their hand in their own lives change things.
- A higher life condition. Clean the house, clean the closet, eat better food, exercise a bit more. The more life becomes radiant, the easier it is to choose to become closer to people who are making the same choices!
- Where does all the time go? This was a huge way I learned to curb my own bad habits— the time wasted on feeling bad was so extreme it shocked me into attention! If you keep getting hung up in negative backpedaling and drama, list out where your time has been spent in the last week. Or even just yesterday. How much time are you wasting in less-than-constructive patterns. You can’t get that time back!
- A defined “inner circle”. There are certain people I can’t talk about certain topics with, and that doesn’t make them less amazing people… I just feel less amazing after having certain conversations with them. I take this very seriously.
You may find you own ways and means, but it seems that the key is to take responsibility. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Julia Cameron and her book “The Artist’s Way” for shining a light on my own self-destructive habits, especially where my creativity was concerned. It kick-started a life habit revolution in many ways.
Enjoy your days fully! xoxo Dana
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So true! I have found that some people are their misery and pain. They want to be a martyr and victim all the time. I think they feel if they choose to be happy, they cannot exist. These people seem to suck the life out of me and I now refuse to buy into their pity and self loathing. Offer them a glass half full and they hand you a broken glass. Best to stay light, breezy and brief with these sad folks. And their houses usually reflect this!!!
While agree you don’t know what’s best for another person more than they do, I feel that arrogant is too negative of a word here. You’re weren’t being arrogant; you were being big hearted and generous (unless you were really trying to force your opinions on them). You try and bring people up. It’s a good quality. I’ve met people like you’ve described. They’re drama queens usually. For the most part, I just stay away – I’m not as big hearted as you.