Why I surround myself with positive people

Alison Robles, Editor-in-Chief

There is a sign in Resident Hall Director Alanna Perez’s office that says, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” The first time I saw this hanging in her office, I didn’t think much of it. I liked its message – that the energy you put out into the world will draw similar people towards you. A year ago, I felt that I had had my ‘tribe’, people who were like me and supported me, but my outlook on life has changed considerably since that time. Now, when I saw that sign in Alanna’s office again this year, it reminded me that your ‘vibe’ is much more than just being honest with yourself. It also means that you are intentional in the people you surround yourself with. It means that you actively choose who to dedicate your time to and that you can grow from those interactions. It sounds simple, like something a self-help guru tells you in a YouTube video, but I don’t think people realize how much work goes into building your tribe. I’ll be honest – I’m still building my tribe – but I’ve learned from some very tough lessons that have helped shape my outlook on the importance of having positivity in my life. The most important lesson is that in order to maintain that positive outlook, you have to surround yourself with positive people.

Many of us take on a rather self-deprecating sense of humor – I often refer to myself as trash when I procrastinate on my assignments, and I think many of my peers would say they’ve done the same. And while it’s nice to indulge in this self-aware kind of humor, it’s important to not let it dictate your way of thinking. Granted, I am a relentlessly positive person. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I am an optimist with an impossible amount of enthusiasm. But I had surrounded myself with people who were centered on negativity on a regular basis, and soon enough I took on the energy they put out. As I absorbed their negativity, I also found myself being hyper-empathetic, or trying to completely understand their point of view without being judgmental. But in doing this, I was draining my energy of positivity in trying to lift them up, but they did not return the same level of empathy. It took me several months to realize these people I had surrounded myself with were toxic – and I had come to that realization because as I distanced myself from them, I recognized my positivity returning to me. I no longer felt required to be empathetic and drained from trying to make pessimists into optimists. I realized I had made some very bad friends, but I was afforded the opportunity to make some new good friends.

I’ll be honest – this is a very abbreviated version of a yearlong story, but it is the core lesson I want to share here today. An important step to improving your mentality is not just embracing positivity in the people around you, but not compromising on your own mental health and outlook to support others who bring you down.  Even now, I’m still building my tribe. I don’t believe that the friends I have today will be the only friends I will ever need in my life, but I won’t stop surrounding myself with positive people and reminding myself that I can’t let others bring me down.