Sunday, October 7, 2012

Building gates and fences in three easy steps

(SYLC 40)

I'm very lucky when it comes to the people with whom I share my time and my life. On the whole they are an extremely motivating and talented bunch with hearts of gold. After each interaction I walk away feeling understood and inspired, like someone has just showered me with a burst of sunshine.

It wasn't always this way however. Much of my life I have unconsciously spent alot of time investing in people who would zap me of every ounce of positive energy, self-esteem and vigour leaving me ruffled for days at a time. I thought by listening to them and being with them I was helping them out. Unfortunately it was affecting me greatly in a bad way. So when December 2011 hit and I decided it was time to have a good hard look at myself and my life, this is one of the areas that needed an overhaul.

Who we spend time with has a big influence on our feelings, the way we think and ultimately our outlook. I have written previously about how people can also influence the way we view ourselves. If, like me, you are person who is highly empathic, you'll be even more effected as it's in our nature to pick up on the energy and feelings of those around us. If that energy happens to be negative, spending too much time with these people will likely result in us feeling zapped as well.

Realising that some of these relationships were not so good for me, what did I do to turn this around? Upot came down to just three things:

1. First up, I did an assessment and asked myself of the people in question, on the whole 'how do I feel when I'm with them?' I tried to be conscious of how I felt before, during, and after an interaction. As a result of of this I actually did wind up a couple of friendships. Was it hard? Yes, but it really did feel like the right thing to do and my decision has so far stood the test of time.

2. Next, I gave myself a crash course on boundaries, something that I've been particularly bad at to date. I still have some people in my life who aren't always the best for me, but I have reasons for keeping the interactions going. What I needed to do in these situations was take back power and get more balance to these interactions. One example, a friend who always wants to meet only when and where convenient for him. He can disappear for months and then call when he's in need of a bit of company. He usually wants me to make the trek to see him. If I'm honest I started to feel a bit used. But I enjoy hanging out with him so now, if he's unable to meet at a time/place convient for us both I don't take up the offer. Harsh but fair, which brings me to...

3. New friends! Creating space has meant more time and energy to invest in making new connections, and to reinvigorate some that I'd let lapse. I have met some amazing people just by being open to more positive relationships. I'm also more aware that if I'm talking to someone new and the vibes are not good, perhaps it's time to move on.

I'm now a much happier and more vibrant person because I implemented these three steps. How about you, do you have people in your life that zap you? How might you go abou changing this situation?

Photo credit:


  1. Great post - you covered it so well. boundaries are another aspect i thought about but forgot to include in this part of the challenges - so important to consider your boundaries and when they are not being respected, when you need to put some in place etc.

    deb @ home .life simplified

    1. Thanks Deb. Boundaries are a really difficult one, especially if yours is such a thin veneer that people are used to being able push through quite easily, and all of a sudden you have toughened up and reinforced their strength. It's all about readjustment which takes time and practice. I'm still new to it!


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