I read a quote once. It read, “You become like the five people you associate with the most.”
And, it’s true…for better or for worse.
Plato once said, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person, or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”
But here is what this quote doesn’t tell you. It doesn’t tell you that when you are immersed in circles that stunt your growth, that make you wilt and die, that you will forsake those who have been trying to lift you up all along; the people you could learn from, the people who forced you to become better, just because they wanted you to rise up to a different level, while you were too busy not paying attention.
Give everyone the opportunity to be a friend, but share your dreams and goals only with those who value them as much as you do.
· Hard-hearted is choosing friends because of who they are.
· Mental toughness is choosing friends because of who you want to become.
And this extends down both sides of the friendship branch.
Mind you, I am not in any way shape or form saying that people in my past circles are bad people. What I am saying is that they were bad for me, because they just weren’t aligned with where I was going. And I’m not saying that I wasn’t bad for them for those same reasons, either mind you. I’m not that arrogant.
But that’s okay.
That’s how we grow.
As you think about those in your nearest circle right now, how do you feel? Do they build you up, tear you down or keep you doing the same tired things you always have?
I can tell you that I no longer go out to bars, or to clubs or out drinking all the time. Because I changed that circle.
I can tell you that I no longer am immersed in gossip and unnecessary drama. Because I changed that circle.
I can tell you that I am no longer a hateful, catty person. Because I changed that circle.
I can tell you that I’ve made some mistakes along the way too. But, life isn’t meant to be lived backwards. So? Forward it is.
I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’ve also done things I am extremely proud of. And I can say, right here, right now, this moment, I have very few people in my life who know the daily inner workings of it, thanks to an invaluable lesson I learned over the years.
Less people, less bullshit.
That doesn’t mean I am not friendly to people. I am. But, it also doesn’t mean you get in my inner circle unless you have been successfully vetted, either. Because that is something I protect with the utmost care at this point in my life. And I only have time to focus on people who force me to grow and become better.
Because it’s true what they say, people either encourage you, or they drain you.
Hate your life? Wonder why bad things are always happening to you? Look at who you are hanging out with. Are you hanging out with people who do nothing but go out and party all the time, spend all their money, use people, have issues with the truth, are fake, treat people badly, have nothing better to do than talk shit about people?
There’s your answer – for better or worse.
Eliminate those types of people and you eliminate the problem.
Want to change your life?
Change your circle, change your environment and your life will improve. Dramatically. Quickly.
Of course, if you're happy with where you're at....by all means, keep doing what you're doing.
At least, if you are REALLY happy with your life.
Bad company corrupts good character, 100 percent of the time. And if your company isn’t encouraging you to be the best you can possibly be, to rise to new heights, who can teach and encourage you, make no mistake….you’re in bad company.
Unhappy? Fix it. Throw the baggage of yesterday overboard, adjust your sails and get back on course. You don’t have forever. You might not even have tomorrow, so stop wasting today with temporary escapes from reality that are truly only distractions keeping you prisoner in a reality not intended to be your destiny.
The riots in Baltimore did what any racially and politically charged argument always does on social media….it brought out people’s tempers. And, just like it always does, it ended in an aftermath of dissolved social media friendships, some real life friendships and even defriending of mutual friends.
Captions like, “Well if you agree with this person, we can’t be friends….” And so on and on so flooded my newsfeed.
But, it doesn’t end there.
I was also watching a film yesterday on how a digital world is changing and harming our very fleshy landscape. The dichotomy of social media has changed much of how we behave, and a lot of it has not been in a positive way.
(Despite the fact that I still believe the change has been more positive than negative, overall.)
People getting into online spats and setting other people’s homes on fire.
People stabbing people to death over an argument on Facebook over $20 measly dollars.
Couples literally murdering other couples.
People murdering other people.
There are some sick puppies in this world…..
However, as horrendous as the actions of these individuals were, there is an even more sinister, nefarious side to these circumstances; something widely overlooked. Something we have come to know via the Facebook world as “Mutual Friends”.
You know, the folks you have in common with someone until a post-apocalyptic fall out.
It’s in these situations of dissolved mutual connections that mutual friends have three choices: They can become collateral damage, spies, or bow out as disinterested third parties who doesn’t want to be awarded to one Facebook tribe or another.
Herein lies the problem. Far too many of these folks take up the mantle of spy.
They scroll, troll and report on lives and individual has since distanced themselves from or eliminated from their lives altogether, with their only goal being to cause drama and dissension.
In fact, in the film I was watching, this was the case nearly every time.
People sharing posts, sharing comments, and even going to far as to manipulate other people into believing that EVERY SINGLE POST one party made was about the other even after the argument was concluded. Regardless of whether or not that was the truth.
Yet, they have no stake in this. They just sat back, watched the aftermath and enjoyed the continual Jerry Springer-esque pixelated picture show with glee.
And it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, isn’t it?
Granted, the folks participating in the arguments in the first place could have set boundaries when it came to mutual friends and screenshots etc., telling them they didn’t care and didn’t want them to send anymore….but, as we are all only human, sometimes rage puts logic in the backseat.
Which leads me to ask, when it comes to these types of vicious, violent scenarios, who is TRULY to blame? Of course, I am not excusing people for setting houses on fire, murder or other such carnage. That would be ridiculous. I am, however, also not excusing the role of those who had a part to play in such disastrous affairs.
Because they had a part to play as well.
A large one.
And, frankly, I don’t think that this is discussed nearly enough.
While I have been on the receiving end of screenshots and ugly messages of my own, and while I have even had an occasional meltdown over such things, I do have a tendency to want to delete my wrongs and make them right. I have said and done things I regretted doing. Then again, who hasn’t?
After taking down things I wish I hadn’t done, I will address it, I will take accountability for my end and I will move on. I have set boundaries with friends who are arguing, telling them I don’t want to hear about it, because I refuse to be put in the middle of that situation. Sometimes I have done so quite gently, and other times I have done so quite firmly – depending on what the situation has called for.
If I am asked to “spy”, my answer is always a resolute, “NO.”
I have also been known to message people (even people I don’t like) in arguments I am not even involved in and ask them to please take down ugly posts or comments etc, because I believed they were “above that”. Because I believed them to be a better person than that. Because I knew it was only going to give trolls more fuel to add to a fire that was already spinning out of control.
Funny thing is, I’ve rarely had someone do that for me.
Maybe it’s because most people know I will ultimately do the right thing, even if an occasional meltdown is imminent….I don’t know, and that doesn’t matter anyway.
But what I do know is this….I have ALWAYS, 100 percent of the time, without fail had people send me the screenshots and hateful messages that others have posted about me….until I told them I would no longer tolerate it. Until I made the command decision to stop feeding the trolls.
We give people the power we grant them, based on our reaction to their sharing of information. We also let them take our power when we do.
Think about that.
Then? Stop feeding the trolls.
Yet, at the same time, knowing that there are so many people who have nothing better to do than stir the proverbial shit pot, I also have to wonder, if once a relationship is over, once people have been deleted and blocked, should the mutual friends who are closest to them also be removed in an effort to protect yourself from their purposefully gossiping about your life to your ex-whatever? But even extending further than that, how do you cut out a cancer that refuses to reveal itself?
In a digital landscape, where it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify people without enough integrity to remove themselves from your life, because their only intention is to spy on every little thing you do and ‘report back’, how do you know who to vanquish and who to leave be?
While I don’t have a definitive answer on how to do this, on how to vaccinate ourselves from this type of human disorder, I do know this: feeding into it is the biggest part of the problem.
Think about that too.
In my mind, the secret to success is to just not give a shit about haters and trolls as a whole. Because ugly, nasty, hateful, gossipy people will always exist…and that’s okay. But it’s also okay to set boundaries, to delete and block those who clearly have nefarious intentions in fostering such behaviors, when we are ready to make room for people who don’t do such things – or who, at least, we hope won’t.
It’s always a double edged sword. It’s always a gamble.
Still, it’s okay to roll the dice.
So the next time you are inclined to spy, asked to spy or just want to start drama because you’re bored and have nothing better to do, the best advice I have to you is don’t. Stop participating and being part of the problem….and go do something productive instead. For a life lived for social media drama really isn’t much of a life at all.
By: Shauna Zamarripa
I also do a lot of STUPID shit that I end up kicking myself for after I do it.
I have a horrible temper.
Sometimes I just say (and do) stupid fucking things.
I don’t mean to. I don’t even do many of them with intent. But sometimes, it happens.
And then, in a moment of rage, or even just being so inside your head that you can’t get out of it, you do something horrific/say something horrific and behave like a general major asshole of epic proportion… as if you are somehow supposed to lead the Army of Dickdom to success on the battlefield of Assholierthanthouness, as if somehow that’s your mission in life; a mission you can’t bear to fail. The only problem is that you end up behaving this way to someone who doesn’t deserve that.
Because, sometimes, you’re just an asshole.
Because, sometimes, we all are.
And then, when the aftermath is over, when the dust settles and you REALIZE how much of an asshole you are, you feel about two inches tall. Probably shorter.
You don’t even know what you can say or do to make it better. Words (ironically, for a writer) completely fail you at a time you need them most. And….you don’t even know how to act. Because you wrap yourself up in a cocoon of fear, of shame, of self-loathing.
You feel so terrible that you don’t even want to look at yourself in the mirror.
So? You don’t.
You’re just in your head, trying to figure out what you are supposed to do next.
And you’re sorry that you’re not fucking perfect. This time.
Then, I guess, you start crawling out of your head a little bit. You realize how many times you allowed other people to not be perfect, how many times you forgave them, how many chances you have given them to be completely and totally imperfect, even when everyone else was telling you not to. How many times they said things that stung too, but how many times you never even told them that they did. Because you had already chosen to forgive them, even before they said it.
And while you weren’t always right for doing this, you were right more often than not.
And that’s the thing about relationships and love, isn’t it? These things, on their own, are not at all difficult to understand, but people sure do make them difficult sometimes….myself included. Myself, sometimes, most especially.
Then again, I have always been my harshest critic.
But that’s probably why I can call myself of most of my own shit – there’s still some I am not ready to address…just yet – if we are being honest and all.
And, as I was looking for a new cover photo to my Facebook page tonight, I ran across a photo I had put up in 2013, that made me smile a little bit, a photo that said, “Life is like Google, you just have to know what you are searching for.”
And you do.
Even when you don’t.
Sure, I have a lot of my “shit” together. Sure, a lot of people follow me and listen to me and share my stuff, and sure, sometimes I feel great about all of that. But there’s a lot of me you don’t see. You don’t see when I struggle, you’ve never seen my cry in the shower, or myself to sleep. You never will either. Because I am, if nothing else, a struggle all her own that is wrapped in strength….as I imagine many of you are….right now…..this second.
And you have those moments where you wish you could be perfect, or at least partially perfect, and then you realize that if you were, you wouldn’t have anything left to learn. So, what’s the fun in that?
It’s during those moments that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off (as best you can), accept, let go, look up at the sky with tears in your eyes and say, “I don’t know what to do, but I know you’ll tell me what to do when I’m ready to hear it….I just hope that I’m ready to hear it sooner than later. Because I’m sorry that I’m not fucking perfect today….Kind of. Because if I was, I wouldn't need this lesson that I so clearly need, right now, this second. So? Universe? Teach me something new. Please.”
And, almost as if the Universe heard me, the wind blew through the trees at that moment, leaves fell at my feel, and I heard a whisper in the wind, that simply said, "Okay. Wait. Be Patient. Let me do MY thing."
So, that is exactly what I am going to do. Wait. Be Patient. Be still. And let the Universe do her thing.
Have YOU ever felt like this? Share YOUR stories and thoughts! Because, it helps. Honest.
All my completely imperfect love,
Shauna has also been a featured speaker on a variety of radio and talk shows as well as Huffington post video panel discussions and been requested to speak on a myriad of issues all throughout Texas, including advocacy against domestic violence, and empowering women through self-education.
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