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  • Writer's pictureSeema Banerjee

Water seeks it’s own level

Look around you. Have you ever wondered about the impact that people you surround yourself with, have on your life? Do they energise you, encourage you to dream bigger and inspire you to achieve your fullest potential? Or do they drain you of energy, fill you with dread and drag you down?

The proverbial saying “you are what you eat” holds true not just for the food nutrients that we put in our body in order to promote good health, but this analogy can be extended to the human connections that we make. This phenomenon has given birth to quotes such as “Man is known by the company he keeps”. It’s true. It’s the stuff we feed our minds with, the books we read as well as the people in our lives and our interactions that shape our experiences and influence our identities. In order for our bodies to be fit and healthy, the advice is to eat well and to exercise. Similarly a simple exercise like being around positive people, investing in and nurturing strong positive relationships not only activates our personal growth but like a ripple, it spreads to those around us, enhancing their lives too. Our surroundings and the people in our lives are therefore an important part of who we are. They either provide the vital nutrients for our mental health and well being to flourish. Or, in the case of negative people, they can unfortunately spiral us downwards. Like parasites, these people connections feed off each other and grow – whether malignant or benign is our choice about the company that we keep.

The wise people we surround ourselves with, serve as great role models for us to learn from. They not only inspire us, but due to our relatability to them, can make our own goals seem less daunting and more achievable. They enable us to think bigger. Their success stories teach us to aspire towards our own attainments. We tend to emulate their positive behaviour patterns which is an indirect form of learning called observational learning. We thus learn from their experiences and their wisdom.

On the other hand, being around people who cast doom and gloom even when things are generally good, consistently view the glass as half empty, possess a downbeat attitude, complain excessively, harbour negative and pessimistic views can likewise influence us. They can be emotionally  draining for us. These doubters may criticise us, blame us and oppose our positivity with cynicism and skepticism. They will find numerous reasons for why something is not possible and doomed for failure. Far from building us, they will crush our spirit.

Still confused about who to hang out with? Here’s a simple test. Who do you reach out to when you’re bursting with good news to share? It’s the people who will share in your happiness without envy, celebrate your joys and revel in your victories. They will fulfil your basic human need for approval. They are not flatterers or sycophants. On the other hand, they will often times challenge your beliefs and help you to discover new truths and learn new things. They will provide honest feedback and will be an active part of your growth. They will positively enrich the quality of your life experiences. You will feel the positivity resonate when you connect with them- a feeling of joy and shared laughter. The mutual love, trust and respect you will have for each other will be immensely gratifying. You will share deep interest in each other’s lives and care about mutual wellbeing. These are the people with whom you can freely communicate your thoughts and feelings. These are the people who will goad you on to greater successes and who will help you in becoming the best version of yourself. You will instinctively recognise these people in your life. Gravitate towards them.

Now, think of the people you will turn to during your difficult times. The people who will lend a sympathetic ear and who will listen with compassion. The people who will feel your pain and will try to lift you up. You will feel safe and secure in their presence. They may not possess the solutions to your problems but they will be attentive to your situation. They will make you feel heard and make you feel visible. They will give you strength and teach you resilience. They will comfort you with a hug and a warm cup of coffee. They’ll be there for you in your times of need and thus give you confidence in knowing that you are not alone. Think of the people that will nurture you, pick you up when you’re feeling down and build your empathic skills. The people that reassure you that everything will be OK. Recall how therapeutic it feels to simply be around such people. Those are your keepsake people.

Now notice, how it’s literally the same people that pop up in your mind whilst doing this short exercise. That is my interpretation of sharing positive vibes with a person. It’s important to understand that often the people that are unhappy with their own lives, knowingly or unknowingly spread bitterness, resentment and negativity around themselves. For your own self care and peace of mind, it can be a liberating experience to walk away from such people who threaten your self growth. Choose the ones that nurture and inspire you. After all, happiness begets positivity and vice versa. In the end, water seeks it’s own level.

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