The joke about New Years resolutions are that no one keeps them and that they’re a waste of time. As someone that has made them for years, I can attest to the accuracy of that for the most part (although I generally achieve at least close to a quarter of mine). But as with everything there are exceptions, and I can personally account for this.
A few years ago one of my resolutions was a vow I made to reduce drama and negativity from my life as much as possible. I even outlined certain things I could do to help facilitate that.
- The first was stepping away from the unofficial rule I gave myself that I had to keep people that I did not really respect or care for that I knew back in high school or college as Facebook friends.It sounds silly on the surface, because why would anyone really interact on social media with people they did not even like. For me, however, the idea of being polite (which is a great idea in theory but which often has led to some pretty awkward, dramatic, and unnecessary situations) kept people that would make little slick comments or digs, showing up on my Facebook feed. So the first step was to keep it real and hit that “unfriend” button.
- The second step was to generally come up with words and phrases to help get me out of situations where people would gossip or talk poorly about people that I knew or liked. Personally it seems like I have often been in the position where two people that I am friendly with and like do not like each other. This is one of many reasons why I have never thrown a party or anything like that for myself (a situation I plan on changing with my birthday at the end of this year). Having to deal with that awkwardness and possible drama of being caught in between two folks that have issues is not my idea of fun. Unfortunately some people take it personally when you shut down their gossip as though your abstaining is an indictment of them. But regardless, I don’t like being caught in that kind of position and want to avoid the drama that it can lead to. A quick change of subject when a negative conversation seems to be about to pop off is always an easy solution. So is essentially announcing that you’re closing your ears to slander about someone that you like (i.e. “Hey, that’s my friend and you’re my friend, so let’s just keep it cute.”) You can add your own twist to lighten the mood and not sound like you’re judging. But a basic “ooh…please don’t tell me about_________, you know that’s my girl/boy” was what I usually went with.
- The third step was basically making my circle smaller all around and trying to reduce the time or energy I spent on people that were often negative and increase contact with those who were more positive. I know that is not always possible, because sometimes people like this can be family members or co-workers. I have the luxury of not having to share office space or work extensively with other staff members that may carry that air of negativity. I once was not so lucky, and the stress and drama of this negative environment really affected my spirit (as in it was to the point that I had to keep quotes and motivational poems in my car to read to myself before I went into the building.) While you can’t control who you work with, you can at least control who is in your personal life, which is where this really comes in handy.
- The fourth and final step was to surround myself as much as possible with positive images and words (as you can see, this is a theme for me, lol).
This involved creating my first vision board and posting more quotes, affirmations and Bible verses around my bedroom so that I could see them as soon I woke up and as I was getting dressed.
The end result years later has been that when I look around me at my life now, I really do live in kind of a drama-free bubble. I literally have to go hunt for drama if I want it. Case in point, last year I heard about some slick comments that some people from a different sorority were making about my sorority (petty and childish, I know). Nothing on my social media feeds showed this, so I went searching so I could see what was going on. What’s funny is that before I could even get into the search I realized how stupid and ironic it was that the same kind of drama I took steps to keep from my environment were now things I was trying to find. As I abandoned the search and the stupidity that inspired it, it dawned on me that I really did manage to create a way to make social media a forum that functioned as I wanted it to without the negativity that I know lurks out there. If I can do that, anyone can.
Toxic people and situations can kill your joy if you let them. When I was in high school I used to pride myself on all the people I knew and the acquaintances I had. However, as an adult I find that even with the various affiliations I have, keeping my inner circle small is the best thing I could have for my well-being. I stay on the outskirts of knowing what is going on with the personal issues and drama between people I know. And I could not be happier. That isn’t to say that I go out of my way to be closed-off to people. I still am quite social and love meeting good people. But the key word there is good. Gossiping and talking behind other people’s back for sport…yeah, not really good. Therefore, not really my scene.
The lesson in all this, sometimes you have to cut the negativity and drama out and replace it with positivity, smiles, and laughs. It’s worked so far for me, maybe it will work for you too.