Practice what you preach, people!

There is a current trend in quotes, sayings and other ‘wise’ words. It goes along the lines of “surround yourself with positive, lovely people who are on your wavelength” and is often accompanied by an add-on that implies this will also assist the realisation of your dreams and help you be successful at whatever it is you are aiming for.

Now, I am all for positivity and loveliness in people. What I find difficult about this current trend is it is quite selfish. Basically, we are being told to only think of ourselves and what is best for us.

If someone doesn’t support your dream, stop talking to them. If someone disagrees with your choices, that’s it, cut them off. If someone generally finds it difficult to be positive, don’t hang around them anymore. Seems selfish to me.

Have we stopped to think about the ramifications of such segregation?

If those of us who are seeking a positive, dare I say, enlightened, way of life, consistently stick together and shun those who aren’t, aren’t we contradicting the very ethos we are purporting? If we only spread goodness, positivity and light to those who already have it, aren’t we just perpetuating the problem and in reality doing little that is of benefit?

How will those who struggle to see the good in life ever see it if we don’t interact with them on a regular basis?

If we really want to see change in our families, communities and society as a whole, we need to start spreading the goodness, not by cutting ourselves off from those who are on a different path but by walking alongside them.

If our positivity, wholesomeness and desire to do good cannot withstand being around people less positive than us, then what is it really worth? If our freedom to love and ‘be nice’ is threatened merely by being around someone who is negative or down, then maybe we need to take a look at how deep our positivity really is.

Now I am not saying we should make unwise choices in friendships etc and allow others to bring us down and hurt us. We should be careful about who we confide our deepest dreams to. We should seek out likeminded people for comfort and re-energising.

But. We shouldn’t hoard our positivity to ourselves and exclude those for whom being positive is more of a struggle.

How about we believe that positive can over-power negative, then trust that positivity and help bring others up, instead of being overly concerned that they will bring us down. We just might be surprised at the changes it brings.



5 thoughts on “Practice what you preach, people!

  1. I think what you’re saying here is critical to the ideal of community, something we (the founders and moderators of WriterUnboxed) have been talking a lot about in regard to the FB page you and I met on. So many come into the group solely focused on personal gain, when so much can come of freely giving AND taking, with a community-oriented attitude.

    I just took down a post the other day, wherein a WU member announced her first book deal, but also added a sales-link to her short stories (crowing about her sales rank). I wrote her an elaborate message, congratulating her on her news, explaining the prohibition on sales links, and imploring her to repost the news, sans link. Instead of taking my advice, she wrote me a bitter reply, accusing me of favoritism and saying she would no longer be participating in the group. And we see this sort of thing repeatedly. ‘If it’s not entirely about me, me, me, I’m taking my marbles and going home.’

    There are boundaries in communities, but they are there for a reason – chiefly, to put us all on equal footing together, to eliminate the superfluous, to raise the interaction to new heights. There is so much potential benefit available for those who approach their interpersonal relationships with humility; an open heart and an open mind. Even a willingness to chastise and to be chastised. But it requires setting ego aside, and actually listening – things it seems fewer and fewer in this hectic world seem willing to pay heed and give effort to.

    Sorry for the long rant, Susannah. Great post. It ties perfectly into my thoughts of late. Thanks for saying it.


    • You are so right, Vaughn. So much of it is ego. And I really feel if we can’t take a little of someone else’s point of view or see things from a perspective different from our own, eg sales links on a WU post, then our own viewpoints and sense of self must be very shaky indeed. We are so worried about others upsetting our equilibrium that we forget that different voices are what make up a harmony.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment so thoughtfully….I love discussion!


  2. I have sometimes found enlightenment from those I originally did not agree with. If you consider someone else’s position from their position, sometimes you do learn something. But I don’t like mean-spirited, always-negative people. They do bring me down, and their posts (on FB and such) are often conversation enders. Not everyone can have a blissful life every moment – most positive people do have a moment here or there that is bad, and it’s okay with me if they want to rant about it. I try to take set-backs as a go-with-the-flow, I rant about it to a few select friends, and then let it go (and sometimes unfriend).


    • So true, Karen. We can learn so much from others different to us. I understand what you say about fb and I agree with you and have done the same thing. I guess what I am talking about is more about in life, in real time, when we are being told to surround ourselves with people who are like us and will support us. Whilst that is beneficial and important, I don’t think we should exclude altogether those who aren’t on the same page as us.
      And, yes! Having a positive outlook does not mean never having a bad day, week, month or even year, which is exactly when we do need those positive people (like you!) around 🙂


  3. Pingback: How selfish are you? | Personally Speaking

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