It’s well into the summer in Spain and you know what that means… right? We all go on vacation, we drop our responsibilities and we forget that we ever had them or that we will have them come September (deemed the Monday of the year by Spaniards). We are closer to the end of the year than the beginning of it incredibly enough, but I’d like to mention something that happened in the beginning of it. I’m currently in the region of Andalusia in Spain and the charm of the south is simply divine, so much so it truly got me thinking about things.
Most New Years come with resolutions, I can’t say I ever make official ones that I tell people about or that I place in a Pinterest folder, but I make mental notes. Last year was an odd year, it was tough, but it was also a learning experience. Last year I learned who my true friends are, and so for 2017 my unspoken resolution was: no new friends in 2017. Odd isn’t it? New friends. Isn’t that the thing you’re supposed to make every year? New friends? That’s what I thought for a long time until I realized I was just welcoming a lot of things in my life I actually didn’t really want. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with 21 and 22 year old college newbies that are testing their alcohol limits and experimenting with relationships, but do I really need them in my life as a “friend”? Maybe that Jessica that calls every night at 2 and 3am to ask for advice or to complain about issues is sincerely going through something, but does that mean I have to be her hero? I’ve realized that the answer to all of these questions are a redundant “no”. I made this resolution because for the first time in my life I realized that perhaps I don’t have a 1k plus Instagram following of friends, but I also don’t need them to say I have friends either. Sure we’ve all heard quality over quantity, but do we ever really ever apply that to our friendships without feeling guilty?
I’ve decided to unfollow negativity. Period. I’m just done being depressed and feeling guilty when I’m not depressed because in some shape or form people around me want me to be. I know it sounds harsh but isn’t it the truth? Weren’t we all optimists once? Weren’t we all dreamers until someone came along to tell us we were silly for believing or we were believing too much… too big? I realize that there are people who simply choose to be unhappy. They make that choice whether I spend 4 hours talking to them on the phone or not, they choose to be miserable even though there is a solution, even when there’s not really a problem. I once heard my favourite preacher on tv say something that stayed with me forever, granted I can’t quote him exactly but it was something like this: “if someone hurts you really bad, that’s awful and you’re going to feel bad but remember that this person is going to live with them doing you wrong for the rest of their life. But if you continue to hold on to the pain and anger of what they did to you allowing it to take root in your soul and thoughts and sprout a plant of bitterness and sadness long after that person is gone and dead in your life, who’s the bigger enemy? The person who wronged you, or yourself?” It’s clear that the answer is you. We are to blame for what we choose to keep around us. Just like that quote about not being able to stop birds from flying over our heads but being completely able to stop them from making nests in them, we also have a choice about what we allow to build in our hearts and our minds. I’ve come to the conclusion that the people who choose to be unhappy won’t see the good in situations no matter how many options you give them, and also, you’ll end up feeling bad about sharing your own happiness. More often than I cared to admit, I’d find myself diminishing my own happiness and feeling guilty about it and about my dreams simply because how can I? How dare I be happy? I’m such a bad person for traveling and enjoying myself when it makes someone else feel bad, when it makes a friend feel abandoned and like she’s not important to me anymore.
After last year I realized that I have wonderful people who are of core value in my life even if they are far from me. I have friends and loved ones who build me up and bring positivity to my life. I don’t need anymore. I don’t know if this means I’ll never make new friends, but I’m not looking for any. I’m just enjoying and nurturing the special people that are already in my life and who have proven to be faithful. I feel that although I’m never done learning, I’m much wiser these days about observing people and their actions. The friends I used to feel sorry for were more often than not people who chose to be unhappy and called me at odd hours to vent because they just wanted to vent, not because they actually wanted good advice they would truly follow. The friends who were always sad and upset about something were people who clung to one small bad thing that happened and extended it for the whole day, weeks, maybe even months. I get that we go through tough times, but when your tough time has you forgetting that other people exist too, that not everything is wrong in your life, and that things can actually get better if you want them too… you’re making a conscious choice to stay in tough times and create storms for yourself in sunny weather conditions.
I’m happy in 2017 because I can honestly say I’ve cut most of the negativity almost down to zero. I don’t have any new friends really, but I have great old ones from last year and further back which I love and hope to keep. I hope this article inspires someone to make a choice, a choice to be happy and unfollow negativity no matter where/who it comes from. Because truth is, life is hard enough. Things are going to go wrong sometimes even if you’re positive, but it will help you to overcome it. Sadness and negativity will not. Everything has a solution, that is the truth. If a plant dies, it dies, but often seeds and sprouts are left. So in some other place or in some other time, it will come back. We aren’t any different, sometimes things go wrong, but that’s only so that the right things can actually go right.
(All photos taken by me)