Now that I’m approaching my 30s there is something that is becoming very clear to me. Life is full of friends and acquaintances and they can be divided into two groups: UPPERS and DOWNERS. Uppers are those friends who are constantly reinforcing the good qualities about you, making you feel lighter about the world. They give you a fab jolt… no caffeine necessary.
If you want to classify even further, I think there is another category of “Super Uppers” who are the friends that are the actual light and heart of your group, business, sports team, etc. The downers are pretty much summed up with their title. Off-handed comments, negative viewpoints, and a pessimistic view on life can sum up a downer. The wild thing is that many of us have downers that have been closely linked to us throughout our lives because when we felt bad and wanted to reinforce that negative wallowing (which feels awesome in the moment) they were there to lend a hand and stoke the fire. And both of these groups have such a profound impact on your life in your teens and throughout your twenties. I think as you grow into who you are, you can step back and pick and choose what (or who) you would like to impact your viewpoints. And, until you realize you can do this, downer friends (I know this terms seems like an oxymoron but we all have them) can actually take the wind out of your sails. I’ve been thinking about it lately and I have one friend where I get off the phone with her and think, hmmm. Her tone sounds like motherly concern, but the words are offhandedly mean.
So, the beauty of Facebook gave me the inspiration for this blog. Facebook makes blasts from the past so accessible. They say that time heals all wounds and I believe this is semi-true, especially in the case of FB. You may friend people (or accept their request) and sugar coat the memories of them saying things behind your back or the time they accidentally made out with (fill in blank) when they were blown out. But letting old acquaintances back in your life needs to be treated with kid gloves (or “Ov-gloves” for those who like to shop in the “as seen on TV” aisle in Walgreens).
I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking a look at the people in your current circle and seeing if any really are pressing down on your shoulders as you’re trying to reach goals or better your life. As we form our own families, have children, start to feel solid in our careers, you don’t need to make time for those who aren’t keeping your best interests in mind.
Your time is valuable and life is too short. Take inventory of your relationships. On the flip side, I think it’s important to realize who the uppers and “super uppers” are in your life. Be grateful they are a part of your life and maybe sacrifice some of the time with your downer friends to be with those that lift you up. I have to say I’m really grateful because I think in both of my businesses our team consists of all uppers. The negative Nancys (or Neds) haven’t been able to cut it because frankly, we don’t have the time or patience.
Finally, I think it’s important that I look at myself and make sure I’m being an “upper” to my friends and the people I love. If I’m feeling down about myself, I shouldn’t try to bring my friends down to my bad attitude (no matter how temporary). This is one of the reasons I came up with the Happy and Blessed bracelet because it’s really hard to be in a bad mood when you are grateful and thankful.
Who are the uppers and downers in your life? Do you need to do a little house cleaning… making more room for uppers? As always, keep counting.