By: Dionne Witter

It’s OK To Be Different

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A “friend” called me last week, and the main purpose for the call was to let me know that she finds me too positive, and that my “Oh my God,  life is awesome” attitude does not seem authentic.  She explained that “normal” people do not walk around always feeling positive.

Normally I would go into a defensive mode, and try and justify myself, but then that seemed too “normal”.  Instead, I quickly ended the conversation.  I realized that this individual always has something to vent about, and this was just her turn to use me as her source of inspiration.  I understand that if I allow her to vent, especially when she’s using me as her scape goat, that unintentionally, I am enabling a self-destructive behaviour.

In the past I allowed this energy to penetrate me, which eventually would wear me down.  From this experience, I created a rule where I surround myself with people who are good for me on a holistic level.   The exchange of energy between us must be positive and enhancing on all levels.  For example, if we are out dancing, we are completely immersed into the music and in that moment, our only goal is to dance happily!  If we are engaged in a conversation, the exchange of dialogue must not be draining.  If we are having a light hearted conversation, our goal is to encourage laughter.  If it’s business, our goal is to add value to each other.

My positive attitude is a CHOICE!  I can choose to share my gloom and doom or share my joy.  I know which one takes the least amount of energy.  Focusing on the positives in life and being open has only attracted me to other people similar to myself, who have been instrumental in my journey.  For example, I went to an event with at least 300 people; one of the few people I met turned out to be such an inspiration to me.  Our friendship evolved effortlessly, and when we recently met for lunch, we both recognized how whenever we meet, we feed each other’s soul!

Why should I walk around in gloom and doom just to appease another person?  I live in a state of gratitude, always being grateful for all that life has to offer from the basic simplicities to the successes along the way.  My gratitude journals are full of gratitude from hearing the birds sing in the morning, a friend making me laugh without actually trying, seeing purple flowers as I drive by strangers homes and admire their gardens, and many simple things that others may or may not notice.  I am also grateful for owning a home, being a mother, seeing the success in my business and many other blessings that I have come into.

When another friend complained about doing laundry, and I didn’t understand her complaint, she thought it’s because I do not do housework.  I enjoy doing housework as I find it quite cathartic.  I remember a time when doing laundry involved packing the clothing in a wash pan and carrying it on my head to the river.  We women at the river scrubbed our clothes on rocks removing all the stains.  We sat in the blazing sun, and once finished, we packed the clean wet clothing back into our wash pan, and made our way back home to then hang our clothing on the line to dry.  One thing I knew for certain was that no one complained.  There was always a cacophony of laughter, and a community of love.  So today, transferring my clothes from the washer to the dryer is not a reason for me to complain, but rather one where I am grateful that today doing laundry is so simple!

When the gloom shows up, I honor it, as I know that only in the darkness can one truly expand.  As much as I love the joyous seasons, I know growth occurs in the dark places.  In these moments, I CHOOSE not to go around complaining about doom and gloom.  Instead I humble myself, and look for the lessons.

Was I always like this?  I always looked at life with optimism and saw joy in most things.  Friends who have known me my entire life will attest to this.  However, when the darkness showed up, I didn’t know how to cope and find my way through it.  Many phone calls complaining to others would ensue, but I noticed that while I may have experienced a quick high during these conversations, the high never last.  I learned that what I needed was to become quiet, and the answers I seek were within.  Today, if I have to call someone I know the right person to call.

We never fully know each other’s life, our scars, our reason to smile, our reasons for walking around in an “Oh my God, life is awesome” state of mind.  As I listened to a program recently on TV, I resonated with the speaker Richard Rohr.  He explains that we become free when we do not play the victim or help to create the victim.  Quite often one’s purpose is to demote us by promoting themselves, and we have to become discerning, and know when these conversations do not serve us.

In closing, I will quote the following:  “You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance — you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and “continues” to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.”
— Daniell Koepke

To all my friends who appreciate me for who I am I graciously and sincerely thank you for accepting me.  I am quite certain we all from time to time come into energy vampires.  What is your strategy for dealing with these people?