We spend far too much time with people who drag us down, add drama to our lives, and make us feel sad, helpless and hopeless. These are the people who shoot down your ideas, focus on the negative, and often play the victim.
Everyone has a bad day, or goes through a tough time, but there is a clear difference. If you want to spend less time with the vampires in your life, there is an easy solution.
Spend more time with people who lift you up.
Spending time with people who lift you up is:
Whenever I spend time with people I enjoy being around, I can’t help but smile. It can be a weekend away with my husband, writing date with a friend, or a Skype session with my parents or sister. Even just a few words sent back and forth through email with my daughter can change my whole day. These people make my life better, sweeter and happier.
Talking about healthy habits with other people, planning with business partners or brainstorming new creative projects with clients fuels me. Those conversations and connections give me the energy I need to make changes and engage in meaningful work.
When I was diagnosed with MS in 2006, my health was rapidly declining. With new habits, a strong medical team, and simplifying everything, I haven’t had a relapse since 2007, and feel better now than I did before my diagnosis. Even my brain scans show no new MS progression. The changes I made contribute to my healing, but it was my family and friends that saved me by supporting my crazy experiments, ups and downs, and by giving me love, time and space to find my way.
Every year, my sister-in-law Anne Marie continues to demonstrate her love and support by taking it one big 60 mile step further. She started Team TLC (Team who Loves Courtney), a bike team in New Hampshire to raise funds for MS research. She lifts me in so many ways, and lifts all of us searching for a cure with this team. Please lift her back and donate to her ride.
Spending time with people who lift you is calm in the chaos. When you have a stressful day, connecting with someone who gets you can ease the pain. If you are faced with a big decision or can’t find your way, those amazing people in your life will guide you, calm you, and show you the way.
People who lift you up don’t always agree with you, or have the answer, but you know they always have your back, and that they always want the best for you. That makes it simple to spend time with them and to trust their intentions. It’s simple to connect and even reconnect when you disagree or lose touch. This is love.
Spend even more time lifting them back.
Lifting them back is all of those things and so much more. Relationships will bloom when you feed them, so choose. Feed the best relationships in your life with wholeheartedness.
You can feed the others with well wishes, prayers, forgiveness and permission to let go. Moving on from a relationship that doesn’t serve either of you in the best possible way makes time for the relationships that do.
When you start devoting your time to fostering your best relationships, the others usually fade away without confrontation or conversation.
Yesterday, Mark and I spent time with Joshua Fields Millburn and Matt D’Avella (pictures above) filming Minimalism: A Documentary by the Minimalists. One of our conversations was about how important it is to be supported. We talked about how even though our family lives all over the globe, and we live very different lifestyles, we are always there for each other.
Mark and I spent some time reflecting on our story too, and how by simplifying and eliminating many of the stressors that can weaken a marriage, we’ve been able to grow closer year after year even through hard times. The conversations we had were a great reminder to continue to spend more time with people who lift us, and to be deeply grateful for the relationship we have with each other.
Lift people who have no one too.
Choosing to spend less time with people who sabotage your happiness doesn’t mean you can’t take time to lift people who can’t lift themselves. Give your change, a smile, a sandwich, or a few volunteer hours to people who can’t surround themselves with people who lift them. You’ll be surprised at how they lift you too.
Cut out the other stuff that doesn’t lift.
It’s not just people who bring you down. What about ..
- the nightly news?
- an upsetting Facebook feed?
- and the physical clutter?
When all of those depressing distractions go, you can really get clear about the way you spend your time, who you spend it with, and how to make those relationships bloom.
Please know how grateful I am that you lift me up, and for giving me the great pleasure of lifting you right back.