The company you keep matters more than you think

March 13, 2016 Sandra Dawes

I watched a TED Talk today that spoke about what makes a good life. The talk is based on a research study on Adult Happy new yearDevelopment that spanned over 75 years. **SPOILER ALERT**: The findings show that having positive, supportive relationships are the key to happiness.

I’m sure this isn’t a surprise for many of us. As I watched the video and really listened to what Robert Waldinger was saying, I understood that having nourishing, reciprocal relationships wasn’t just the key to happiness, but actually the key to our overall well-being. It also made me think about what a disservice we do to ourselves when we don’t make this connection and continue to have people in our lives that don’t provide the love and support we need.

There’s a reason why we feel emotionally and physically drained after spending time with certain people. They are not in a position to contribute anything positive to an encounter because they have allowed their negativity to take over. Unfortunately this leads to further isolation for those who have fallen victim to their negative experiences. As we work on shifting our beliefs and way of thinking we find it necessary to minimize our exposure to those who are not ready to do the same.

The good news is that as we grow we become living proof of what happens when you surround yourself with positive, supportive people. I am constantly reminded of a T.D. Jakes’ sermon where he shared his belief that greatness is contagious. The opposite is true as well. It does us no good to feel bad about distancing ourselves from negative energy. Our feeling bad doesn’t change what is. We have to focus on what is best for us, knowing that as we improve, we can be an example for others to do the same.

No one knew the 9-minute mile was possible until someone actually did it. When we spend our time with people who have overcome their own challenges and found a way to overcome them, we are constantly reminded of what’s possible. These people don’t offer hollow words of encouragement; they provide testimonials based on personal experience.

The research discussed in this TED Talk reminds us that lasting happiness doesn’t come from things, or titles or the amount of money we have in the bank. It’s all about quality relationships. When we know that we have a support system that is behind us no matter what, it minimizes our fears and empowers us to take action. Positive, supportive relationships help us accomplish more and contribute to our overall well-being.

Who are you spending your time with? ♥

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