Row House 14

Cutting Ties With Negativity

daily life, "business"Heidi ShenkComment

A little over a year ago, we returned from our epic adventure in Australia. At that time, I wrote about perspective. Spending three and a half days in the desert surrounded by red rock and enveloped in heat was perhaps an almost spiritual experience as it was juxtaposed with the hustle and bustle of life we had just experienced in Sydney. When we returned, we had been refreshed from our travels and were ready for a new start. I wanted to stay on the positive side of things, as the positivity that we encountered in Australia was almost contagious. And to stay positive, I needed to cut out the negative aspects that were infiltrating my life.

Uluru Kata Tjuta


1 // I thought about the people that brought negativity to my life, and if they weren't positive influences in my daily life, I cut the ties without looking back. I evaluated these situations in both my personal and business life. Some of the situations were one-sided relationships, where I contributed too much with little respect back, people that put me down or dismissed the validity of me or my business on a regular basis, friendships that weren't really friendships to begin with, or other people who just generally never had a positive outlook on life. I worried that I would offend people by cutting these ties, but I ultimately decided that keeping my life positive was more important than the possibility of offending people.

2 // I introduced new activities into my daily life that made me feel good about myself. I started exercising more frequently, waking up earlier, spending time for myself, eating lunch outside, partaking in other activities in the evening that didn't involve tv. Changing my daily habits made me feel more positive because I was getting more out of each day.

3 // I pursued product ideas for my business without worrying about whether or not I'd be stepping on others' toes. Over the past few years, I had a lot of ideas stewing around in my brain, but I always worried that people would think that I was copying or piggybacking off of an already used idea even though I had began developing a similar concept months before. In fact, I even had some strange scenarios, where other people in my business network would elude to me doing so in a very passive aggressive way. A lot of times, this caused me to not follow through with an idea that I'd been perfecting in my idea book, for fear that I'd offend someone. As a result, I was feeling creatively stifled and extremely negative about myself. I was allowing others to dictate what I did or did not do with my business, and that wasn't okay.

I realized that I should still be able to follow through with the ideas that I had thought of even if others produced something similar before I had had the chance to make my idea public. Letting others dictate what I was or was not doing with my business was making me feel horrible, so I let go of the fear of being perceived as a bad person and dove head first into some really fantastic projects I'd been brainstorming for months and months. My printed pencils were one of those things, and I'm so glad that I just went for it!

4 // I started being spontaneous. Meet up for drinks on a random Monday night with neighbors? Sure, why not! Take up a last minute offer for complimentary tickets for a dinner cruise? Absolutely! Take Lilah for a walk along the water after dinner, even though she already went on a walk in the park? Most definitely! Decide to try out a new corner bar at 9:00 on a week night? Yup! Decide to share a studio space with a letterpress printer? Heck yes!

Being spontaneous is something that would give me a fit of anxiety previously because I didn't have a plan. While I'm still not entirely over that, I've learned to let go and just do things because I feel like it, not because I need to follow some societal rule that you can't get out of your house on a weeknight. And doing so has made me a much happier and positive person.

While I still have days where I like to wallow a little (but don't we all!), after making these changes in my life, I have spent the last year feeling much more free as an individual. As my favorite set of pencils say, I do what I want!

Have you had to cut ties with negativity in your life? What sorts of things did you do to bring more positivity to your daily life?

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