Keep Away ….

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambition. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~ Mark Twain … 

The people we surround ourselves with often have a larger impact upon who we are and the person we are becoming than we generally like to believe, and the ways in which they treat us–through their words and actions–tend to become our mantra. If they build us up and encourage us, we, too, believe in ourselves and our abilities. But if they tear us down or belittle us, we tend to question our abilities and usually are satisfied with settling for less than what we are capable of or deserve. That is why it is crucial that we are always aware of who are friends are and how they treat us. For just as a thief can rob us of our possessions, there are individuals who can rob us of attributes such as our self-esteem and our confidence–qualities that are extremely important for getting along and moving forward in our lives.

We are all in the company of individuals who are troubled, insecure, and do not love themselves. And when people feel this way about themselves, they tend to take it out on others and mistreat them in much the same ways as they mistreat themselves–making fun of others and their ambitions, belittling them so that they may feel better about themselves, and treating them poorly all around. Sadly, many of these individuals are people with good hearts who simply are unaware of how negative they are. Yet because their negativity is infectious and corrosive, it is our duty to keep away from those who bring us down, make us smaller versions of ourselves, and prevent us from being the persons that we are each capable of becoming.

Fortunately, there are strategies that we can develop and employ in our lives to keep a healthy distance from such individuals who might bring us down and “belittle our ambition.” One such strategy is to cut them out of our lives or keep their interactions with us at a minimum so that their negativity does not creep into our attitudes, our ambitions, and our choices. Another more healthy strategy is to surround ourselves with those who lift us up with sincerity–people who encourage us, compliment us, and make us feel good about ourselves.

Each day we have the choice to surround ourselves with constructive individuals who might help to build us up, or destructive individuals who seek to tear us down. However unimportant such decisions might seem to us in the short term, they will most assuredly go on to determine whether much of our experiences in life are positive or negative. And quite frankly, life is simply far too short to spend in the company of miserable or negative individuals who bring us down and make us feel bad; so make it a priority to seek out those who make you feel good, and do your best to make them feel good as well.

Take the opportunity to encourage others around you and help them to feel good about themselves.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to continue to hang around people who make us feel bad?

How might we start to recognize those people who make positive contributions to who and what we are?

What can we do to make sure that we are people who make others feel good, and not people who belittle their ambition?

For further thought:

“People build closeness by giving friendship priority, by being honest and showing their feelings. I like to call it being transparent. They communicate warmth, touch, talk about their affection, give each other space, allow change, limit expectations, listen, and offer loyalty and trust. They avoid trying to control or manipulate their friends. They don’t criticize and they don’t become dependent. It takes practice to be a good friend, and we all make mistakes. Friendship, like love, is something you do, something you give that comes back to you.” ~ Jennifer James (from Success Is the Quality of Your Journey)

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