Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf
Who do you hang with? No, I don’t mean hang such as hanging upside down, hanging from a bungee cord or hanging a right or a left when driving a car. Who do you spend your time with and how do they influence how you interact with others in your life?
Recently, I was put in a situation that I was unsure of. I was invited to the Women of Faith concert in St. Paul. I wasn’t unsure of going to the concert, but I was going to be going with a good friend and we would be staying with her relatives. I did not know these people.
I did have some anxiety about staying in a home of someone I did not know, and I am not a shy person, not usually anyway. This was a little of a stretch for me.
Meeting strangers isn’t a hard thing for me to do, but usually when I meet them it is for a short amount of time. That isn’t what this would be. It would be a weekend with my friend and people I did not know. Would they like me? Would I like them? Would we have the same likes and dislikes? Would it matter?
On a recent blogtalkradio interview with Amy Beth Arkawy on the Amy Bethv Arkawy show, Amy made the remark that I was a positive and inspirational person. I reminded her that I am not like that all the time, ask my husband and kids, and a few years ago I would say I was a toxic person. It was not a hard thing to be, depending on the group I was with, to find something wrong with everything.
I am very good at crabbing, and when you are with others who are very good at crabbing you have a great crabfest. Soon though, that attitude becomes part of you, and it is easier to see the glass half empty rather than half full. Pretty soon I was the head crab and would start the crab sessions. I didn’t like the way I was, and I don’t want to be that person again.
When Amy Beth and I talked about inspiration (she is also a creativity coach), I reflected later on what helps me to keep a positive attitude. It is work.
I was very lucky in my crabbiness. My inspirational and optimistic friends did not desert me. Finally after hanging with them I was able to adopt their attitude most of the time. It is hard work to get to the place where it is easier to be optimistic than to be pessimistic and yet some days the crab is back.
I found that if I surround myself with positive people, positive messages and read positive materials that I can be more optimistic in the face of the ups and downs of my life. We can choose who we spend our time with.
Back to the scary, I am having a slumber party with women I don’t know. The minute the first woman got in the car with us I knew I was going to feel at home with her. She wore sparkly cool earrings. She laughed a lot. When the next woman joined our car on the way I immediately felt at home too. She had a case of water. I knew I would not be thirsty. I do that, I drag my water along. We finally arrived at the cute house where we would rest our heads and I would meet another stranger. We were greeted with a huge meal, dessert and the best part was that she was living in my dream cottage home. It felt like home amidst these strangers.
We left for the Xcel Energy Center, and it was named right for the weekend. It was a center full of energized woman, with positive messages and smiling faces. In the midst of strangers we all seemed to be surrounded by friends.
One of the speakers asked if we were crabby Christians. Was there a time when I felt that the silverware in the kitchen needing to be lined up perfectly was more important than the way I treated the people that were lined up in the pews? Do I make the unimportant material trappings in my home and in my church more important than treating people with kindness and respect or am I that crabby Christian along with being a toxic person in a group?
I took a chance to hang with some positive strangers. Those strangers are no longer strangers but friends that I hope to spend time with in the future. If I had let my fear and kept my crabby attitude, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet new people that would have a positive influence on my life
Take a chance. Hang with someone new that makes you feel good about yourself. It might change your world and your attitude.
A quote by Elizabeth Edwards sums it up nicely:
“A positive attitude is not going to save you. What it’s going to do is, every day, between now and the day you die, whether that’s a short time from now or a long time from now, that every day, you’re going to actually live.”