Help! My friend is a bad influence on me. Every time I’m with him, he just brings me down with a ton of negativity, self-doubt, and low-self esteem, along with putting other people down. I love my friend, but I don’t want to be like this! –GH
I sympathize with you, GH. Being our best is hard enough without other people dragging us down into habits and patterns we’re trying to change.
I suppose the immediate answer you probably get is to distance yourself from your friend. And maybe that needs to happen; sometimes one needs space. Sometimes one needs to say ‘no,’ creating boundaries that will help you be who you’d like to be. But it makes me a bit sad to think that is the only option. While it may be necessary in the short term, I aspire to more in the long term.
Sometimes it can be tempting to think that if we could just be alone, or only with others who are good, everything would be fine. As Einstein said, “How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who were wise and of good will.”
It sounds like a nice place to go for a visit. But I wouldn’t want to live there.
I want to be strong enough to help you when you struggle to be wise, when you have lapses in your good will. I want to be there when you can’t uphold the vision of your heart’s perfection.
We all need a way to recharge. Ideally, we need something that is powerful enough to fill us with good will, respect, admiration, and positivity toward others. We need something that reminds us that we have within us all the power, radiance, and glory that exists. We need to know that each of us has a heart like the sun shining in space. The sun never worries about a shadow passing across it. To the sun, there are no shadows.
The thing that I’ve found which has most helped me to remember who I’d like to be and give me the energy to do it is Heart Rhythm Meditation.
It is also true that a reason that your friend brings you down so much is that you see something in him that is greater. You have a vision of how he could be, and every time he fails to live up to it is a big disappointment. When you hold a high vision of others, they will disappoint you a thousand times each day.
It takes courage and love to hold on to your high regard for others. (In fact, this is one of the Exercises for Life.) If you did not hold that vision, you could not be disappointed. Yet it is an act of love to see the greatness and beauty in others. Even if you know that sometimes you’ll be disappointed.
Look at it from the perspective of the One Being, who sees our potential fully and clearly, who is able to hold that vision even when we seem to be far, far away from it. Even when we have forgotten ourselves in the intoxication of life.
Let yourself become the island of wisdom and goodwill. Let those you love come to shelter on your shores and enjoy the beauty of your heart’s love and respect. May the tears of your disappointment water the tree of your admiration for others; may love and forgiveness flow from your heart like a cool, clear spring.
While you have no direct control over anyone except yourself, you can have a far greater influence over others than you may realize by changing the energy within your heart.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share below.
Yours in the One Heart,
P.S. Thank you to all who entered to be part of our drawing for one of three spots our upcoming online course, 101: Introduction to Heart Rhythm Meditation. Please comment below if you’d like to enter; we’ll have the drawing on May 9th, one week before the course begins.
P.P.S. Our two-year program is accepting applications until July 1st for the Class of 2014, beginning in September.