Have you noticed how draining negativity can be?

That’s why it’s important for you to keep positive…by keeping positive people around you.

For the past six weeks I’ve been sharing tips on surviving stress from my book,  When You’re Running on Empty. This week, you can keep from feeling run down by surrounding yourself with people who will build you up, not bring you down.

I’ve learned, through years in the ministry, that there are two kinds of people: the builders and the drainers. The positive people and the negative people. Those who fill your tank and those who drain you. Those who fill your tank are those who build you up, challenge you, inspire you, stretch you, encourage you to see the good in things, and just help you be a better person. I need people like that in my life to keep me growing, keep me accountable, and keep me from running on empty — or worse yet, becoming a critical or negative person.

Then there are the drainers. You know who they are. I simply mention the word and their faces come to mind. They always need something. They’re always down on something. They’re always telling you their troubles. And every time you’re with them, after a while you’re thinking: “I’m not sure I can take one more minute with this person.” In the overall scope of things, you give and they take. And it’s rarely the other way around. Truth is you can’t afford to be around someone like that for too long….especially if you’re prone to running on empty.

If you’re being drained by the negative influences in your life, here are some simple ways to keep it positive…and keep from running on empty:

Limit your relationships to builders, not drainersMost people have a balance of each in their lives.  You need an excess of builders and preferably no drainers. (But that would be a perfect world, right?) In reality, there are drainers everywhere. If a drainer is a family member or someone you live or work closely with, you can’t exactly remove them from your life. But you can limit their influence on you. Being positive is a choice. And around drainers, it’s a choice you just have to be more careful and conscientious to make.

Look for the good in every situationThe positive side of being around a drainer is that you learn what you’ll sound like if you become one of them. For me, it’s seeing first-hand what I don’t want to be. And what I just did was give an example of finding the good in every situation. If you’ve got to be around a drainer, look for the good in the situation, to balance out their bad.

Let it go – Not everything is worth holding onto. One of my friends constantly tells me “get over it.” At first it annoys me (as if my “problem” is not important) but I eventually realize that whatever it was that I was holding onto wasn’t worth it, so I let it go. And once I do get over it, I find I have more energy that is better spent on getting something done than complaining about whatever I couldn’t get over. Do you have a friend or mentor who can tell you to “get over it” when you start to complain or dwell on the negative? You need that person in your life to help you let it go and keep it positive.

So what do you think? Can you identify those positive people in your life and keep them around you? Can you approach life today, positively, by seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty? One way to do that is to take Romans 8:28 on the road with you: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  If we’ve got a God who can work all things for good, certainly we can please Him by seeing the good in all things.

How do you keep things positive in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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