After eighteen years of living, I’m a bit surprised that I’ve only recently realized just how important the first grade lessons of addition and subtraction really are. Of course, I obviously use this math so much that it’s become second nature by now, but that’s just the thing. Since I use it all the time for money and measurements and all that, I don’t really think about it when I do. But it’s just finally dawned on me how handy these tools are when applied to real life (real life as in relationships, habits, etc.).
I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder…a hoarder of things, of people, of memories. If something was good at one point, then I grasp onto it hoping that if I keep it close, then it will always be that good. But then life happens. People change, yet for some reason I still naively view them through the same eyes that I had when we first met. So to make a long story short, I’ve always kept around people who were no longer good for me just because I was too blind to see this…even when it should have been painfully obvious.
And this is where first grade comes in! Let’s start with addition.
Never stop meeting new people. This isn’t hard to do because life continuously throws us into new situations where we have to interact and talk with different people. And this is great. Because at different points in your life, you’ll realize that you yourself have become a different person and maybe someone that you wouldn’t have clicked with a year ago, could now potentially become a best friend.
Surround yourself with people who make your cheeks hurt from smiling so much and who give your abs a workout from laughing so hard. Surround yourself with people who encourage and excite you to try new things and who are your biggest supporters and your number one fans. Surround yourself with people who make you feel happy.
Hopefully after being engulfed in all of this love, you’ll finally be able to tell the difference between the people who make you feel good and the people who don’t.
And this is the subtraction part.
Maybe at one point there was a person/group of people who made you feel wonderful and happy inside, but they don’t anymore and you can’t feel like you’re at fault for this. As life happens, you grow and you learn and you realize exactly what you deserve. You deserve to be around people who really care about you. You don’t deserve to be around people who make you feel bad for being you. You should never ever feel like you have to hide parts of who you are to please other people. You should never have to become a watered down version of yourself.
So do yourself a favor and subtract these negative people from your life. And then add in as many positive and loving people as you can. Fill up your life with friends who love your awkward dance moves, and your loud laugh, and all those amazing, crazy parts of you. Those are the kind of people that you deserve.