These days, people are constantly coming up with self-improvement strategies and trying to rid themselves of negativity. The idea is to say goodbye to all those friends who pull you down, in order to lift yourself up. I fully support self-growth, but I also think this type of outlook on life makes us forget something else that is equally important: the best interests and feelings of those around us.
Other people may also be on a journey of finding themselves, and on the way they may hit some bumps. They may do things that piss others off, make mistakes, and say things that are unacceptable, but is it really necessary to cut them out of your life completely?
I have met people who drive me insane half of the time. I have people who I love in certain contexts, but in others, they are my worst nightmare. I have considered removing these types of people from my life completely; “burning bridges,” as they say. However, I haven’t done that and here is why.
Cutting negative people from your life can help in moments of frustration. It makes your life seem tidy, organized, and like you are in control. But, it also does something harmful. You are telling yourself that when times are hard, you can just eliminate the problem and things will get better. This will only make you weaker because you aren’t willing to work at the problem. You are putting the sole blame for the problem on the other person, when you could be a part of the issue as well. You are taking the easy way out and telling yourself it’s in your own best interest. You are choosing to put your needs above someone else’s, just because it seems easier. And in the end, it could be your loss.
I have found that making connections is a superpower. It’s advantageous for both parties. The phrase, “burning bridges,” is negative in itself. It literally means, to destroy connections; to remove a path, making it that much harder to get to the other side. I currently can go to nearly every European country and have a warm place to sleep at night. This isn’t because I decided to hand-select the people I communicate with, but because I decided to give people a chance. I fought against my frustrations.
I decided to show those who brought negativity to my life kindness by listening and allowing them the chance to grow themselves. Instead of kicking them to the curb, I communicated with them and I spent time with them in environments that were good for both of us. If one of your friends becomes mean when drunk, just don’t go drinking with them and tell them why. If you just can’t stand how your friend acts around guys, then only spend time with her one-on-one. Remember, there is a reason your friends act certain ways, and you can help them move past that.
By working with them, you will also be working on yourself. Now, I am someone who likes having a small group of close, genuine friends. But, I have also realized that every person I meet can contribute something to my life and I can contribute to theirs. The people I have chosen NOT to cut off are there for me because they saw I didn’t give up on them, even when it would have been easy to do so. It doesn’t mean we are besties who spend time together 24/7, but we have each other’s backs when push comes to shove.
You can make the choice to either rid yourself of those supposed “bad seeds,” or keep them in your life on your terms. But remember, you also aren’t perfect. You have done things you regret, or treated people poorly at one time or another. Think of how you would have felt if someone cut you off during your most challenging times Remember, we each are on this Earth for a reason, so try to find that reason and positivity in others. I promise, in the future when you are lying on the beach with your friend from the Caribbean, you will be grateful you didn’t let her go when she was young, immature and in need of a push in the right direction.
Featured Image via Christina Skilbred