There is a lot of personal development literature out there that talks about the importance of keeping good company. I have myself written about it in a lot of posts.
I feel the company we keep affects our attitudes and, consequently, the direction of our lives. The opposite seems to happen too, we affect the attitudes of the company of which we are a part.
A balance of energy
If you stay with those whom you find negative, you feel a pull down in your enthusiasm for life. There is, I feel, a balance of life force that happens when you are with other people. If they are negative compared to you, they feel a bit pulled up in your presence but you feel pulled down. On the other hand, if they are more positive, you get the benefit of an upward pull while they are pulled down.
Also, in the case of a crowd, this balance seems to tilt in favor of the majority. If you are a lone negative with a lot of positive people, you will be constantly motivated to improve while they might feel just a little pull down. If you are a lone positive among a lot of negative people, they might feel only a little pull up, but you will feel pulled down a lot. When this continues long enough, your positivity gets pulled down for good and you get habituated to the new balance, until you decide enough is enough and break out of this company.
In light of this realization, it is only natural to look for positive company, something at least at par with your own attitudes.
What if your family is negative?
There are certain humans you are dealt with. There is a certain place and a certain society you were born into. You didn’t choose them, they were given to you. Some, who believe in past lives and karma, or the Law of Attraction, might say we choose our parents and surroundings. But, for the sake of this article, I will assume that we don’t.
When those around you seem full of negativity, should you severe the deep bonds you have with them and leave for more positive people? Or should you stay where you are and try to make the best of what and whom you were dealt with?
If you stay, you will probably be pulled down into negativity. If you don’t, you might be severing ties with those whom you have had a long and deep connection with.
Let me add another question here…
Would a continuous improvement path leave you with no friends in the end?
If you are looking for positive company all the time, where does this bond-snapping stop? No human is perfect and you will never find one. When you continuously improve, you might find those whom you see positive today, seem negative and below your level some day. Wouldn’t that leave you totally alone in the end?
There are probably no straight answers, no black and white guidelines here. The only thing that I will suggest here is – listen deeply and intently to what your heart is saying.
If your heart says stay, stay. Work to make the best of what you have. If it says detach, then detach.. It is OK to move away from your nearest and dearest. As I mention in this post, it might be good for them too.
I also think it is important that you separate your heart’s voice from that of the ego’s. Don’t decide in anger, or sadness, or fear… decide in calmness, in peace and in awareness. If you can’t find that calm within you, try to create it first. It is important to connect to the heart before deciding.
To create the right state of mind, you can try following these steps – 5 steps to creating a conscious life.
When you keep following the heart(your intuition), it seems to me that you sort of shut yourself from external stimuli. The negativity of those around doesn’t affect you as much, if at all. All your senses and your focus are aligned to one point, and that point is deep within your self, it is your essesnce speaking to you. You then witness your attitude and your life unfolding naturally from within you.
When you following this voice truly, it is my experience that there is no sense of separation from others, not for long. In time, you see a deep connection with them and start working towards common good. The detachment, if it happens, is now just a physical thing, you still see the far deeper bonds and know they are always there. The question of being left alone vanishes.
If you decide to leave…
If you feel it in your heart to leave, here are a few things I would like to say to you :
I think most people blow the idea of leaving their loved ones out of proportion.
When you leave, it is not like you leave them for ever, you are just detaching for a while. There will be lessons that you learn, new realizations, that you might not have had, had you stayed. You might start seeing their actions and attitudes in a new light and they may not affect you anymore. Or you might find some problem in your own outlook and will see how you can improve.
In my experience, there comes a time when you will feel the urge to get back to them. But this time, you are a changed person, you handle things differently, you also have new insights and realizations, insights that not only help you but potentially you loved ones too.
You might find that your bond grows deeper as a result of such a detachment.
So, if you see that you have to leave for a while, don’t resist it out of a sense of loyalty, you will only be stifling your heart’s natural path. Let it happen, flow with it, enjoy it, learn from it.
What about the feelings of your loved ones?
In the meantime, how would your loved ones cope up? I think, there will always be a certain discomfort. Most people resist change. They are comfortable with the way things are, even when they are complaining about it. But past this discomfort, they will find a way to continue. In fact, your decision to leave might even make them face the problems they had been avoiding and work on them.
This of course requires sensitivity on your part. If a family member is prone to depression and has a heart problem, you don’t want to give that person a rude shock by just walking out. Be sensitive, compassionate yet firm with them.
Remember that whether you stay or leave, neither is a better choice over the other. Don’t judge yourself or feel guilty because of your choice.
Your heart will lead you to a lot of learning, it will lead you to discomfort sometimes, but it will keep you close to your essence, it will keep you growing and expanding into your best self. And I have a strong feeling, that, in the long run, it will ensure you act in a way that improves your life and that of the people around you.
Until next time…