I once read in a
book on making friends that we should eliminate negative people
from our lives. Since I was raised by very negative, judgmental
parents, my thinking became conditioned by such early
environmental influences, and as much as I tried to swing the
pendulum in the other direction, my responses and attitude were a
reflection of this negative upbringing. Now this is not an
assessment of blame; I know full well that harboring resentments
against my parents brings about no change and only exacerbates the
negativity by making me a hostile, bitter person. Instead, I
continuously fight what seems to be a never-ending battle against
this disease of early-childhood conditioning called negativity.
Every moment of every day I
fight the good fight to remain positive. Forging through all the
disappointments life hands me, from on-the-job struggles with
recognition and appreciation, to ugly dealings with rude and cruel
individuals, and of course the worst of all disappointments, the
rejection and abandonment by friends and lovers. Such friends
might have been of like mind as the above author who believes
eliminating negative people from your life is the thing to do.
a negative person, I insisted that for myself as well. I wanted
only positive people and influences--Iíve had my fill of
negativity already. Plus, how would I become positive myself
if I allowed more negativity in? But here I take the time to
thank God for those encouraging few who didnít heed such advice.
If it werenít for those
cherished individuals who bore with my pain and ugliness, I quite
likely would have joined those who have left this earth on their
Rare, genuine friends who have shared in my pain with
empathy first, then with non-condemning encouragement--to them and
God I owe my life. To come through, be there, and stick it out,
transforms and alters a life mired in negativity and gives that
person renewed hope--and for me, this is the ultimate act of
humanity and love.
These individuals never gave up
on me, saw the beauty inside me when I could see none, gently
nudged my potential and lifted my spirits when I allowed others
to bring me down. They came through when others fled--these
are what I call true friends.
So I urge you to be among those
few, rare individuals, that can call themselves true friends.
Bear with the depression, ugliness, negativity, hurt and pain of
another, share in it with empathy, care for them with
encouragement and non-judgmental compassion and appreciative love.
Avail yourself to such people, write them a letter, give them a
call, ask them out. Be careful with the words "too busy"
and the litany of excuses why you werenít able to come through.
Help them to see how beautiful they are, see them through a
failure by giving them pats on the back and kudos for taking the
risk--donít dismiss or minimize their defeat, but gently
encourage them to get beyond it and move forward. Listen to their
cries--they do want out from the mire--help them to rise above it!
Believe it or not, we all have the power to effect a positive
change in a suffering person; even one who suffers can be a
benefit to the downcast, probably all the more: having been
there, they know best how truly to empathize. And in doing so, you
are lifted out from negativity as well. Just be there, come
through and see the transforming effect youíll have. A once dark
and ugly lump of coal becomes a sparkling diamond before your very
Again a heartfelt thanks goes
out to those beautiful true friends who didnít
eliminate me from their lives through all my rough spots. To those
who helped to buff off the dark outside and saw the diamond
within, Iím certain God will always have His loving arms
surrounding them, continually buffing and polishing their diamond
of a heart and causing it to sparkle throughout the universe!