How do our relationships with other people affect our moods?

After a conversation with someone (positive or negative), sometimes it seems like my mood can shift entirely from being happy to being sad or vice versa. Maybe who we interact with makes a significant difference in how we feel at certain times (or maybe all the time!)

Jim Rohn says that we “are” the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with, which I think is total b.s. when it comes to how we define ourselves. Do the people we choose to spend time with largely influence the decisions we make? I think it really depends on the person. Some people are very influential and others are very stubborn. It may not be the same for everyone.

What if we applied that same concept to how we feel, which can largely affect our perspective?

Sometimes, I’ll hang out with people because I like them, because I want to receive positive energy from them. I’ll feel depressed and expect others to find that negative energy in me, but I can’t count all of the times my friends and other peers have reached out to tell me that I exude positive energy, that I make them feel better (even when I feel like crap).

That’s kind of amazing, that you can feel so terrible on the inside, that your depressed brain tells you that you are inadequate, that you could be doing more, that you’re terrible, that you make other people feel terrible, but it’s just not true.

Some of the most positive people I know are also the most depressed. Us rainclouds like to help others feel better so that we don’t help others feel worse. We know how important it can be to compliment one another and help each other out. Just a simple kind action can mean the whole world to a depressed person who needs a shift in perspective.

Unfortunately, other times, I’ll spend time with a friend or a coworker or whoever, feeling happy as can be, until their actions and their words bring me down. My mood is so influenced by other people that a simple conversation can make me go from happy to suicidal-depressed in a matter of an hour of rumination.

We need to assess our relationships in order to move forward and continue a positive lifestyle. Are the relationships we have now ones we want to keep in the future? What’s so frustrating about relationships is that they can be positive one day and negative the next. How can we determine which relationships are too toxic to continue?

If someone can make you go from 100 to 0 mood-wise, make you feel suicidal and super crappy, it should be obvious that this is one person to cut out of your life. What if that’s your boss, though? What if that extremely toxic relationship is your own mother? How do you cut out someone so essential and connected to other parts of your life? Can you?

A book I read recently called Toxic Parents is an excellent resource for anyone who has a toxic family member in their life that’s keeping them from being happy and possibly putting them in a dangerous mindset. Susan Forward writes from multiple perspectives and gives different types of toxic situations for reference.

Even so, how is it possible to move on? You have to consider other familial relationships that are affected; your job and security might be at risk. What if you have a family to support and your income is the sole income? So many choose to stay miserable instead of risk their income source for the possibility of another. They can’t see another way out.

In writing, sometimes we refer to places or objects as characters because their position within the story is so important that it makes sense. In life, sometimes places are toxic as well. Places have terrible weather, air and water sources, many of the people tend to be unfriendly, there are terrible schools, not much to do, infertile ground, plentiful drugs, an increase in suicidal tendencies throughout communities, poor produce availability, and many other factors.

How do you know when to leave those places and when to stay? What if it’s impossible for you to make those choices? What if you don’t know who or what is toxic to your mental health?

Lately, I’ve been ruminating over these variables in my life – how external variables can affect my mental health. It definitely takes a bit of introspection to figure out what works best for you and how you can juggle the different aspects of your life to create one that suits you best. Maybe the toxic parts of your life are also partially positive? What you do with that is up to you. For now, I’m just thinking.

Have you ever escaped a toxic situation? Do you have any regrets? Do you tend to know which situations are toxic for you? Do you think your friendships affect your mood?


Photo Credit: Marat Safin | Flickr (Please check out the rest of the work – it’s incredible)

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Related Content:
8 Amazing Women Who Inspire Me Every Day | The Barefoot Aya
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Toxic Parents | Susan Forward
7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness | Jim Rohn
How to Keep a Toxic Relationship | Damn Girl, Get Your Shit Together
“Toxic people will behave in the ways they will behave. Chances are your toxic relationship is pretty predictable and it is always your choice to take the bait.”