Since I've graduated college and been thrown into the real world, I've been more strict than ever before about myself about who I allow in my circle and who I keep at arms length.
In the past, I was very docile about who I let in my space on a frequent basis. Regardless of my own feelings about the person, I would attend outings and spend time around people I didn't care for because we had mutual friends and ran in the same circles.
However, now I'm learning to say no and spend time with those mutual friends one-on-one or in different settings, away from those who I don't mesh with. Not because of any hard feelings or because of my not being mature enough to tolerate those I don't agree with.
But because, nothing right now is more important to me than protecting my energy.
I've been working on being intentionally kind—making it a point to volunteer, give money to the homeless man on the corner and altogether eliminate negative energy from my life.
I'm a firm believer in the idea that energy is contagious, so I've learned to not feel bad about purging anyone from my life who brings about negative energy or anything out of line with my mission and goals. And honestly, no one should feel bad about that.
Over the last few months, I've distanced myself from friends who constantly bring up high school drama, stepped back from negative nancys and constant complainers, and been verbal with friends who rehash the same problems in their lives, but do nothing to change the situation they're in.
All that is not to say that I don't have days where I have to remind myself to stop and appreciate the good around me rather than harp on the bad, but I've noticed very significant changes in my life and mood.
Despite working 12 hour days, I find myself energized and inspired, constantly smiling to myself on my drive home as I count my many blessings. While I'm making more money that I need right now (thanks to a family member allowing me to live rent-free for the time being), I've reminded myself to be selfless and altruistically give to those who are actually in need.
I'm learning to reward myself for the hard work I put in and allow myself a pat on the back and a compliment—something I'm really bad at (but, that's for another post). Because although other people can definitely alter my energy, if I'm not in tune with myself; whether it be stress from work or a long-distance relationship, I don't feel balanced and can't protect my positive energy.
So, four months out of college, I don't exactly have life figured out, but I do think I can say that protecting your energy may be the key.