Keeping Good Company: Why You Should Surround Yourself With Good People

Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose Tennessee Williams

People have a huge impact on your life. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” says American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn. With this in mind, you should think about the people you’re spending time with the same way you think about what you eat and how you’re exercising.

Some people can be parasites. They suck out your happiness, energy and maybe some of your tangible resources as well. You can put spending time with them in the same category as eating nachos on the couch.

So what makes someone a “good” person to spend time with? And what are the benefits of surrounding yourself with these people?

“Good People”

Good people aren’t saints, or at least they don’t have to be. They might spend their winter holidays helping starving children in Africa, or they may simply encourage you to hit the gym more. The good people you’re looking for are positive, happy people that enrich your life. They can be:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Coworkers
  • Acquaintances that frequent the same coffee shop

They are people that will inspire you to be a better person, provide you with motivation to achieve your goals, empower you to make the changes you need to succeed and cheer on your success.

In the workplace, good people tend to be productive people. They’re organized, create schedules they stick to and don’t get easily distracted from the end goal. And all this help you be more productive!

It’s important to note that “good” does not mean similar. Too much of the same thing can inhibit growth. You want to have diversity and healthy arguments. You should have an eagerness to soak up knowledge, and differing perspectives can help you with that.

Think About the People You Spend the Most Time With

Write down the qualities of the people you spend the most time with. Would you call them positive people? Happy? Now think of how they interact and affect you.

Do they make you feel like you have what it takes to reach your goals?

Do they support you?

Do they make you feel attractive?

Do you feel happy and energized after spending time with them?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re probably already surrounded by the good people you need.

What Does “Good” Mean to You?

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” – Karl Marx

People are different. There are things that make you happy that might not make me happy. Your idea of support may differ from the next person’s. The key is finding the people that are good for you.

So how do you do that?

Remember that like attracts like. You have to give off positive vibes and be confident. You also have to be yourself. This will lead you to the people that are right for you. You may also need to practice forgiveness. Resentment only breeds bitterness and unhappiness, and it’s time to let the negativity go.

When you’re surrounded by good people, you’re surrounded by life. You’ll be less stressed and find more joy in daily things. Today, make a commitment to start spending more time with the good people in your life.

Today’s article was written by Leon Logothetis and is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/leon-logothetis/kkeeping-good-company-why-you-should-surround-yourself-with-good-people_b_6816468.html

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Sharing Our Joys and Sorrows with Friends

Shared joy is double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow Swedish Proverb

What would life be like without friends? Not too good, at best. Even some of our relatives wind up also being our friends. Although I don’t have any brothers or sisters, I have had a lot of cousins, even second and third ones, who have been kind of like siblings to me; and some of them were among my closest friends. I also have some non-relatives who have been my most beloved and cherished friends for many decades; a few for over half a century. Over the years we’ve shared our joys and sorrows with each other; we’ve laughed and cried (a little) together, and we’ve stayed connected. In many ways, we’ve been dependent on each other and have given support and comfort whenever needed. But isn’t that what friends are for?

Back in 1982, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager wrote a song in answer to that question; Dionne Warwick’s recording of it is an all-time classic.

That's What Friends Are For

Keep smilin’, keep shinin’
Knowin’ you can always count on me, for sure
That’s what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I’ll be on your side forever more
That’s what friends are for

The dictionary defines a friend as a person whom one knows, likes, and trusts; a favored companion; one who supports and sympathizes. I even have some young friends who fit that description. I feel very fortunate to have the friends I have, both the old ones and the new ones. But, of all of them, two of my best friends in life have been my mother and my father. Although they are both gone, they are still my friends. I use the wisdom they gave me often; I cherish it and them and know I am blessed to have had them in my life. While they were here we shared our joys and sorrows with each other; we were connected, interdependent, and felt a certain oneness when together.

One of my students and a friend Barbara Page, whose father had recently died, shared with me a letter he had written to her when she was 13 years old. Barbara had had a “crushing” experience at a dance and was very disappointed and depressed over the experience. Her dad, sensing her sadness, wrote her the letter, which she has carried with her in her wallet all these years . . . and still does

Dearest Barbara,

The greatest thrill of happiness is the sharing of our joy with the
ones we love and the ones who love us. Equally important is the
sharing of our sadness, both great and small, with our loved ones.

How terrible it would be to have to keep our joys and sorrows silent!

But, joys and sorrows are brief interludes, signposts sprinkled along our
journey through life. When joy comes to us, we relish and share
the pause, and continue on; but when momentary unhappiness befalls
us, we pause only long enough to tidy up our hearts, and then we
continue on wiser and better equipped for the much rougher road
ahead. A full life has never known complete joy, because unhappiness
is the lubricant to a full life.

“Along my journey, I cried ’cause I had no shoes,
‘Til I met a man along the way who had no legs.”

Your Father

EinsteinWe even have friends we’ve never met. I have lots of those: Gandhi, Einstein, Thich Nhat Hanh, Schweitzer, Jesus and the Buddha, to name a few. In that category, one of my friends . . . the late mythologist, writer and lecturer Joseph Campbell, is the source of one of my favorite quotations. Who said it first isn’t known, but besides Campbell, Will Rogers liked it and used it often. Here’s the quote: “There are no such things as strangers, only friends we’ve not yet met.”

Actually, being a Buddhist, I think there’s a good possibility that the Buddha may be the original source for that quotation. If not, I’m sure he agreed with it. In fact, he took it a step further. He taught that not only were we all friends connected to and dependent on each other, but we are all one. Maybe that’s why we feel the way we do about our friends. Maybe we feel that they are a part of us. We know they are a part of our life, an important and needed part. But maybe it’s more than that. No maybe about it; it’s all of the above.

The Buddha spoke of two truths: the mundane truth which is the one we use in carrying out the daily routine tasks of life, and the ultimate truth. Knowing the ultimate truth makes us more skillful in our every-day decision-making process. The mundane truth is that we are each separate individuals. The ultimate truth is that we also are all one; each one of us a part of the whole, like the Earth is one planet, but it consists of land, water, flora, animals, people, etc. Like one’s body: one wonderful vehicle with lots of parts . . . including arms, legs, fingers, toes, eyes, brains, heart, etc. (See March 2010 blog.)

If our brains aren’t able to fully understand and process this idea of oneness, then perhaps it’s a truth we can just leave to the heart for processing. Who said that it’s only the brain that thinks, feels and perceives? And who said that all the heart does is pump? There’s something Zen-ish here that may be worth meditating on. In any event, it’s not difficult to understand and appreciate the idea of friends and friendships, whether they come from our family or someone else’s, whether we’ve met them or not, and whether they are here or gone away.

We share our lives with our friends, and they share theirs with us. Sharing our friends’ joys and sorrows put ours in proper perspective. Each of us benefits from such sharing and helps us realize that the good times and the bad times make up the fullness of life itself. In fact, there are no good times and bad times; there are only times. We are the ones doing the labeling. Best not to get stuck with the label. Just keep smilin’, keep shinin’, knowing you can always count on a friend. It can be your dad or mom, your brother or cousin, a non-relative, or even someone you haven’t yet met.

Today’s article was shared from the following website: http://buddhismteacher.com/blog/?p=645

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How To Renew Love In A Long-Term Relationship

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new Ursula K. LeGuin

A romantic relationship is a wonderful thing. Renewing love between couples is often neglected entirely and most will end up separating after discord has begun, before having even tried to reconnect.

The feeling of falling in love is something most will aspire to experience. The subconscious need to make that reviving connection and the emotional satisfaction it comes with has made for the most popular topic of western music at the turn of the century. With love being such a desired emotion we wish to kindle in order to form a committal relationship, why does it so often end poorly with discord and resentment? Whether these issues arise in the newly developed romance or later on, it can have an impact on the mental wellbeing of the individuals involved.

Falling In Love

Professor of psychology, Stephanie Ortigue at Syracuse University, reveals in her study, “The Neuroimaging of Love” that falling in love only takes one-fifth of a second, and once it happens, the emotions it can provoke are just as exhilarating as those that of a cocaine high. This itself should show the benefits of renewing love.

The other quintessential aspect that the experts discuss is the misconception of love coming from your heart, though it may feel so, love is actually developed and triggered in your brain and is the corresponding reason as to why one may suffer from depression at the stake of it failing.

Dr. Farzana Mohideen-Botes, a clinical psychiatrist at the Akeso Clinic in Milnerton suggests the following,

“Sometimes our yearning for idealized love, to be adored unconditionally, to be fully met by our beloved is unrealistic. Our expectations set us up to fail. Often, we demand from our partners that which we needed, and perhaps didn’t receive, as very young children.”

With this in mind the greatest task at hand is to perceive, as adults, what it is we can use to develop our relationships and form those bonds that rationalize our expectations. Renewing love requires patience and dedication from both parties.

Dr. Mohideen-Botes further goes on to explain the key components she believes are essential for a long-lasting and healthy relationship including:

Respect
Friendship
Compromise
Trust
Communication

More often than not, these modules do not come with ease and have to be taught, many aspects of what makes an adult relationship, often come from the inner child.

“We forget that we need to be playing, have fun, laugh and have a sense of humor. Just to be able to play together is really important for any relationship.”

The Key Elements For An Exciting Long-Term Relationship

Intimacy

One of the first connections one often craves with their newfound partner is intimacy, however, it also seems to be the main cause for detachment and separation later on. It is easy to get distracted when a stable foundation in the relationship has been formed, ones daily routine is often stressful and tiring and time can rarely be set aside for reconnecting on a physical level.

Physical touch with another human stimulates the release of your love hormone, oxytocin. This does not only apply to sexual partners, but for all relationships, including that of your family and friends. It is a key component in renewing love for one another.

Dr. Mohideen-Botes feels that this physical connection between loved ones is often lacking and advises them strongly to reform those bonds regularly in order to maintain stable and healthy relationships:

“I tell couples and families to hug often and hug long.”

With life often getting in the way of your personal re-connections, it is stressed that making the time to be intimate is the most effective way to be together. Prioritise it as you would a meeting or doctors appointment. The dates do not have to be expensive, going for a walk, having a picnic or star-gazing are all affordable options that give you the occasion to be romantic.

“It is easier to prevent a relationship breaking down than to fix it after.”

Attraction

A frequent topic of discussion with regards to the attraction between a couple is whether or not like-minded people attract one another or rather those who are completely unalike. It has been regularly debated and analyzed as a theory, and so from there stemmed the commonly used expression today, “Do opposites attract?”

Dr. Mohideen-Botes explains how the answer is within both extremes.

“In a healthy relationship there needs to be enough difference between the partners to keep it interesting, but enough similarities to keep it safe. It’s like the excitement of a brand new world but also the comfort of your well-loved blankie.”

The bases of a stable and safe relationship allow for a platform on which adventure can grow from. Renewing love from that stage can always come with a lot more ease.

What Makes For An Unhealthy Relationship

Once communication and intimacy start to fall away, people begin to feel very lonely with their partnership.

Where healthy relationships affirm us and give us strength, unhealthy relationships break down our emotional security and leave us vulnerable. It is through that means that one will often seek comfort elsewhere, whether it is through an affair or another form of reckless behavior, the consequence of not stabilizing our emotional bonds can cause severe depression and anxiety.

If the relationship does come to an end, being surrounded by your friends and family and having the support will allow you to mourn in a healthy environment, using that time to focus on yourself and work on your own personal happiness is the most effective way to move past the hurt.

“The first thing you should do to deal with and mentally recover from a broken relationship is to commit to a lasting, kind, loving relationship with yourself.”

Renewing Love

relationship | Longevity LiveRenewing love is often overlooked, however, many committal relationships are often worth repairing says Dr. Wallace Goddard, Professor of family life from the University of Arkansas says ,

“If commitment is primarily about attraction for the couple, a helper such as a family life educator might invite them to think about the best times in their relationship. If commitment is largely based on moral obligation, a helper might invite them to think about the promises they have made. If their commitment is based on constraint, a helper might invite them to think about the effects of relationship failure on their family and friends…
Of course, there are some destructive relationships that need to end. But most relationships probably need a tune­up rather than a trade­ in.”

Relationships are a two-way street and communication is indispensable if one wants to reconstruct the fragmented bond. The ability to speak openly with both honesty and trust can allow for each partner to admit to their faults, flaws, and guilt within a non-judgemental environment.

Dr. Mohideen-Bote stresses the importance of a healthy communication platform:

“One may commit the act of infidelity and carries more responsibility, but there were also certain things in that relationship that was out of balance and which need to be addressed. Couples need to be aware that if they want the relationship to continue, both parties need to work on the issue and let it go. An affair cannot be used as a whip every time there is a problem.”

The dedication and time needed in renewing love is a commitment within itself, it requires self-exploration and understanding before it is possible to do such for another. With great persistence, it’s something that anyone can achieve in their relationships and have the lifelong love they often dream of having.

“To love and to be loved in return is a gift that should be cherished. To live a witnessed life with another frail, brave human being demands mutual respect, trust, compromise, and compassion. The best way to learn to love another is to love yourself first.”

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The Power of Friendship…It Sustains, Nourishes and Supports Us

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chicmical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed Carl Jung

Childhood friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck collaborated on the Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting. Fierce tennis competitors Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki like to get together for a gal-pal getaway after a major match. Country music artists Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood married following an 18-year friendship; “We had a lot more in common than I ever dreamed we did,” says Brooks.

Rafts of research confirm how friendship enriches us. Carlin Flora, of New York City, spent years as a Psychology Today writer and editor before penning Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are. She notes that among the varied and perhaps unforeseen benefits, friendships can help us “shed pounds, sleep better, stop smoking and even survive a major illness.”

An ongoing, two-decade-plus study of nearly 1,500 seniors by the Flinders University Centre for Ageing Studies, in Australia, found those with a large network of friends outliving others with the fewest friends by 22 percent. The University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center also reports people with five or more close friends as 50 percent more likely to describe themselves as “very happy” than those maintaining fewer confidants.

“Friends past and present play powerful and often unappreciated roles in determining our sense of self and the direction of our lives,” says Flora. “Even in a supposedly meritocratic society, friends give jobs and assignments to each other, so having friends that share your career interests and aspirations can get you much farther than you could ever get on your own.”

Make New Friends, Keep the Old

Today, making and keeping friends can be challenging, due to distance, frequent life changes, overprotective parenting and substituting social media for more intimate face time. It all makes friendship more fluid than we might realize, says Shasta Nelson, the San Francisco founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a women’s friendship matching site and author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends, plus the upcoming book, Frientimacy, about deepening such relationships.

Hallmarks of good friendship include staying in touch and being consistently positive and vulnerable, so as we reveal ourselves over time, we can be authentic with each other.

“Most of us replace half of our close friends every seven years,” says Nelson. Although this might seem alarming, she considers it a natural ebb and flow. “We all need a couple of very close friends, while others that come and go might just be what we currently need—at work or school, among first-time parents, in a new neighborhood, starting a job, in retirement or during some other life change,” she says.

Canadian Greg Tjosvold, a married middle school teacher in Vancouver, Canada, has enjoyed great friendships with women, including his wife, partly because he doesn’t relate to men’s generally competitive nature and interest in sports. But when a close female friend moved away, he wanted to expand his circle to include men. He joined a group called The Barley Brethren that sample craft beers and talk about life. Although not into suds, he values “having a safe and enjoyable place to discuss deep issues, victories and temporary setbacks.” He admits, “That’s over-simplification, though.” Finding a group of men he can feel a part of has validated him, making this unique man still feel like one of the guys.

Nelson categorizes the concentric circles of developing friendship as starting with a mutually agreeable acquaintance or contact and then moving emotionally closer with someone that we find similarities with. Then the original bond can enter the confirmed friend category. A group of friends, like a longtime book club, can constitute a community. The highest level is the committed friend that has evolved into a trusted and valuable life companion.

Sarah Huntsman Reed, a medical counselor in Kansas City, Missouri, has such a lifelong friend. She met Doug Reed, now a pharmacist, when both were in their high school musical, Once Upon a Mattress. Reed had a great sense of humor, Sarah remembers. “He’s still the most honest yet kindest person I’ve met,” she says. Soon, their mothers became friends, too, and the two teens would pair up for family weddings. Then she went to college and married and he moved away; yet they stayed in touch through mutual friends and their moms, catching up in person when he returned to his hometown.

Seventeen years after they first met, by which time Sarah was divorced, the two discussed taking their friendship to the next level and soon married. “It was a big decision to commit because we knew so much about each other,” she says. “But we prefer each other’s company, and it was the best thing we ever did.”

Safety Net

In trying times, friends can surround us with positive energy, says Madisyn Taylor, co-founder, and editor-in-chief of the spiritual blog DailyOm, in Ashland, Oregon. “The people we love form a protective barrier that buffers and shields us from many of the world’s more crippling blows,” including receiving hurtful slights from others.

Everyone from contemporary scientists to ancient philosophers agrees that having strong social bonds is probably the most meaningful contributor to happiness.
~Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

How we make friends has been altered by today’s social landscape, which includes working parents and Amber Alerts. The days of children freely roaming their neighborhood discovering friends to play with are, unfortunately, over, says Jennifer S. White, a Toledo, Ohio, blogger and author of The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother.

“My long-term friendships from childhood were all built around being neighbors and playing together just because we wanted to,” recalls White. With today’s safety concerns and work-life challenges, parents now set up playdates, a more structured, less organic way of fostering childhood friendships, and they must be proactive to ensure success.

White has some misgivings about this modern-day approach. “When I think about that one little gleaming seed of truth at the heart of why it’s often because I don’t think it’s fair that I have to be a popular ‘playdate mom’ for my kid to have some friends.”

Besties and Buddies

Automatic playdates—with siblings—often enhance family ties through lifelong friendships. Sally Ekus is a culinary talent representative in Florence, Massachusetts. Her younger sister, Amelia, is the general manager of Twitter Cafe, in New York City, and lives in Brooklyn. Both foodies have knife-and-fork tattoos. Sally is more into meal ingredients and preparation, while Amelia loves pouring wine and making sure everyone is comfortable.

“Together,” says Sally, “we create total hospitality, from lavish Passover seders to Friday nights with friends.” She notes that her sister is the only other person who understands what the world looks like through the Ekus girls’ perspective.

Some adults might never meet face-to-face, but become friends via social media. American Jamie Schler, co-owner of the Hotel Diderot, in Chinon, France, with her native-born husband, says, “Social media [especially Facebook posts] is how I meet and make personal friends and keep in touch on a daily basis. As an expat, this is important because I often feel far from family and friends that understand me, share common interests and ideas and speak the same language—and I don’t necessarily mean English.” Her high-tech circle ranges from hometown pals to new friends in the food community and political forums. She raves, “It’s a place where I find them all at the same time!”

Nelson remarks, “No one is saying Facebook should replace visits, nights out and phone calls, but in a world where most of us wish we felt closer to a few more people, it doesn’t hurt to use every tool at our disposal for creating connections.”

He alone has the spirit of making me smile and touching me to the bottom of my soul.
~Joseph Haydn on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, fast friends and musical mentors

Differences in age needn’t be a hurdle in forging friendships. Candelaria Silva-Collins, an arts marketing professional in Boston, attended area social gatherings where she regularly encountered a museum director and his wife. “They seemed like a fantastic couple,” she says, and began a friendship with the older woman, despite their being from different generations. “My friend teaches me a lot about being vital and vibrant,” she says.

Expanding Circles

Becoming friends with people of different ages, languages and social standing gives us a spiritual workout, advises Nelson. With a master’s degree in divinity, Nelson views friendship as a type of health club in which we develop our empathy, forgiveness and compassion muscles through practice. “Friendships are the way we become better people,” she says.

Furthermore, the process, especially with people unlike us, leads to a better world. “Being able to inherently care for people we know makes it easier to do the same for people we’ve not met yet,” says Nelson. World peace happens one friend at a time.

Today’s post was written by Freelance writer Judith Fertig. Judith also blogs at AlfrescoFoodAndLifestyle.blogspot.com from Overland Park, KS.

Today’s post was shared from the following website: http://www.naturalawakeningsmag.com/Inspiration-Archive/The-Power-of-Friendship/

 

 

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The Power of a True Friend

There are small ships and big ships but the best ships are Friendships Irish Toast

Beautiful Friendship Flower

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, “Look what I found!”

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn – too little rain, too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.

But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose and declared with surprise,
“It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful, too.
That’s why I picked it; here – it’s for you.”

The weed before me was dying or dead,
Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, “Just what I need.”

But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it midair without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see; he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
“You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he’d had on my day.

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, … blessed with true sight.

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.
And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that’s mine.

And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

Today’s poem was written by Cheryl L. Costello-Forshey and is shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/friendshipstories/BeautifulFriendshipFlower

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