Over the last few weeks I’ve been paying attention to how I feel. I’ve noticed where and with whom I’m at ease, fully myself and content.
As much as I miss the companionship of my man, I’ve noticed an upbeat change in me since we broke up. I think it’s the ability to fully be myself again. I’m playing pretty music on the radio in the kitchen. I’m investing in spirituality again. I’m talking emotions and writing with my friends again. It’s OK to be soft and sweet. It’s OK to focus on the process versus the output. It’s OK to relax and spout positive observations.
That’s so nice!
What I figured out after weeks of self and relationship analysis, is that because I am really sensitive to emotional nuances, I need to be around really nice people to be my best self. I mean really really nice. The kind of people who notice when you don’t have a hymnal at church and get you one, even if they are not sitting near you. The kind of people who check in with you to make sure you’re doing OK after a hard day. The kind of people who leave notes for you to find later. The kind of people who smile when they talk. The kind that see the beauty in an Oak tree, a poem or a child’s curiosity. The kind who point what you did right. The kind of people who are grateful for what they have. The kind who can talk music, books, movies, etc, focusing on what they love, not what they hate. The kind of people who see good in other people and point it out.
I’ve been told I can’t live in a sunshine and rainbow world. I know there is a lot of bad out there. It’s difficult NOT to see and experience it. I simply choose NOT to focus on it. I choose to focus on the amazing, kind, compassionate, positive and beautiful things that occur every day. It feels better. It takes less energy and I know others who do it too. I don’t think they are idiots living in La La Land. They are the people who give me the courage to push myself out of my comfort zone. They are the people who inspire me to be a better person.
The light and the dark, but mostly light
For me, it’s harder to be negative and espouse the dark side of things. It snuffs out light and energy I could use to smile and support others. It chokes my creativity by keeping me small and bitter. When I’m with someone who is quicker to criticize than praise, I shrink. I’m highly sensitive to criticism.
I’m not saying I go around spreading sunshine all the time. I have my moody cranky days. When I’m tired or overwhelmed, tears, criticism and swear words are right there waiting to escape my weakened control. What I’m saying is, I have done a lot of work to figure out how to mitigate that state of being. Sleep and warm, compassionate environments make me a better human.
Secure relationships with sweet sensitive people make you a better person
I met with my intuitive writing group recently. I’ve mentioned them many times. I love those friends. My writing sister, Jennifer, said the other night, “I’ve never had a bad writing night.” Me neither. We never do. I always walk out of writing group feeling lighter and happier. Always. We cry, laugh, support, share and empathize there. It is always harmonious. No conflict. No impatience. It’s a safe space to unfold your weary spirit. Within the walls of that safe space I have formed secure relationships with longtime friends.
The foundation of friendship, support and security I have from my writing group has gotten me through some of my roughest times, including divorce and death in my family. The kind friendships formed there helped me be braver with my career goals and romantic endeavors. I learn from and get love from my friends. You better believe I work to give them the same in return. Goodness sparks goodness.
I’ve noticed I feel the same way walking out of the Unitarian Universalist church I started attending. I believe religion is a very personal subject. I am by no means pedaling dogma, just sharing the good feeling I discovered in a new place. I have went to three services at the church, all of them by myself. Each visit I was welcomed whole-heartedly. Several people approached me at each service. They kindly and gently talked to me with warm smiles and respectful inquiry. I had a sense of being surrounded by my people. They were curious and engaging without being invasive or gossipy. They were highly inclusive with me and with everyone. They were big fans of humanity in all its shapes and colors.
I’m positive I need you to not be negative about others
Which is another thing I’ve learned. Not only do I require niceness for myself, I require it for others as well. I feel negativity toward others as conflict. Even biting words expressed through clenched teeth about other drivers on the highway, get to me. Complaints, swearing or simmering impatience about other people pile up in my nervous system and cause me to feel anxious and fatigued. It’s not just my mind that reacts to negativity, it’s my whole body. I withdraw into myself. I stop talking, smiling and reaching out.
No matter how good I am at putting myself in someone else’s shoes and seeing from their perspective; no matter
how much my heart aches for someone; consistent confrontation, disagreement, complaining and negativity, will push me away. My instinct to thrive is too strong. I will gravitate toward the harmonious, kind, sweet, positive and sensitive types for nourishment.
How does your body react to negativity? Are you living with someone who doesn’t feel really nice? How do you deal with simmering conflict and cynicism?