"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived." -- Audrey Hepburn
One of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite actresses of all time. We often seek to restore our physical selves: We start a new exercise program, reevaluate our diets, and cut back on bad habits. But what about our inner selves? What about reviving our souls?
Let's be honest. There are a million things in our lives that cause us anxiety, challenging our sense of fearlessness every day: jobs we can't stand or ones we love but that are often stressful; family and friends who think they know more than we do about how we should run our lives; and bills, bills, bills! Of course, let's not forget the leeches -- the people in our lives who suck the energy and happiness out of us. The "Debbie Downers," if you will. All of these things take their toll on us emotionally and mentally, so what can we do to keep our souls just as in shape as our bodies?
While I don't have the answer for bills, I do know a little something about leeches, and I know that life is simply too short to spend with people who are sucking the life right out of you. These are the people who are always complaining about everything to everyone, but who never do anything about the thing that's bothering them. Unfortunately, we're often raised to believe that we have some sense of obligation to everyone in our lives. Maybe the life-sucker is a family member or coworker, and we feel this sense of duty to keep them in our lives, to be a block in their support system. But at what cost? When do we face our fears of being considered callous and decide to put our own happiness, our own soul survival, first?
Even as a teenager, I always enjoyed listening to others' problems and trying to help them find solutions. My parents used to refer to me as Dear Abby. I suppose it's no surprise that I went to school for psychology. I've learned, though, that there is a time and a place for everything, including constantly dealing with others' issues. Outside of the psychologist's office, there needs to be a limit to the amount of negativity we allow others to dump on us. While we should certainly be there as a shoulder to lean on for our friends and family in need, when there are people who only bring negativity into our lives, it's time to start reconsidering why they're in our lives at all. If we believe in cutting foods out of our diets that may be unhealthy for us physically, why should we be fearful of cutting out the things that are bad for us mentally and emotionally? Our bodies can never be their healthiest if our minds aren't taken care of us well.
Take some time to think about the people in your life, and pay attention to your initial feelings. When you think of a specific person, do they make you feel happy? Or do they give you that anxious, here-we-go-again feeling? There are enough challenges in our lives that we don't have much control over. Again with those pesky bills that need to be paid every month! Why shouldn't we take control of the things that we can? Fill your life with people who add value and positivity to it and cut out those who do nothing but drag you down. You'll be amazed how much healthier you feel!
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