Surrounding yourself with positive people is like pouring fuel into your rocket ship – it propels you to greater heights.
When you attract better people into your life, everything else gets better, too.
Your health can improve, your career can improve, and your daily enthusiasm levels can rise when you carefully curate your environment to include only kind people who nourish you.
Here are nine methods to attract better people into your life.
1. Understand that Your External Environment is a Reflection of Your Internal World
There seems to be a natural law at play in the universe: that which you give your time, energy and attention to, you get more of.
If you habitually think negative thoughts, it will magnetize negative people into your arena.
Therefore, the most effective way to clean up your social circle is to clean up your psyche first.
As you become a better person on the inside, you’ll attract better people on the outside.
Practice witnessing your own thoughts objectively. When you can calmly label your individual thoughts as “judgmental” or “negative,” it can then help you begin the process of replacing those darker thoughts with brighter ones.
2. Engage Your Intuition
Pretend for a moment that you believe that each of us is here on the planet to fulfill his or her own unique purpose.
If you are living this particular lifetime in order to remember the highest possibility of yourself, then when do you know if you have awakened that potential?
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How will you recognize if you’re drifting off-course into the wasteland of minutia?
The universe seems to have endowed each of us with an internal tuning fork.
When you – through determination or by chance – touch upon the wisdom that allows you to awaken your inner knowing, something in you is shaken.
Work to develop an honest understanding of your strengths, your limitations, and agree to allow sunlight to touch those places that you have relegated to the shadows of yourself.
There are likely countless ways to nurture this journey of self-unfolding.
It’s important to honor your own understanding of what works best for you – remembering that whatever course you take, compassion for yourself will help your process become more fluid and less encumbered.
As you become better at accessing – and depending on – your own intuition, you will then be able to attract better people into your daily life.
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3. Process Criticism
An important question you can ask yourself is, “How do I handle feedback?”
Do you find yourself feeling defensive if someone challenges your own version of reality or the choices that you’ve made?
- What special power does feedback have that causes such an uncomfortable disruption?
It’s possible that their observations hold an echo of truth, calling attention to the parts of yourself that you would rather relegate to the backrooms of your awareness.
I am not suggesting that every time someone calls you something other than your birth name that you should go home and figure out what parts of yourself you are in denial about.
Perhaps though, you can look to a few markers as a way of figuring out if the point being made has any validity. For example:
- how was the feedback given?
- in what context was it given?
- with what frequency have similar points been made by others?
Sometimes when people offer feedback, they’re trying to put into words something that they sense seems off-kilter somehow, but they don’t know how to articulate it perfectly.
In those instances, sometimes it behooves you to look in the neighborhood of what they’re saying, though not at the exact words.
When someone points out aspects of yourself you find unsavory, it’s easy to become defensive and begin justifying an attitude, blaming external circumstances for creating the inability to respond in a more measured way.
Growth does not spring from equanimity.
Personal growth comes from exploring the fissures – the material that lies beyond everyday reach. The tradition of depth psychology refers to this as shadow.
Sometimes before a friendship can really become a true friendship, you need to see how that friendship weathers its first conflict.
As you use others’ constructive feedback to improve yourself without becoming overly defensive, you will then be able to attract better people into your daily life.
4. Own Your Shadow
For many of us, the image of shadow can evoke a sense of something sinister and uninviting.
Shadows are where the bogeyman lurks, they form the belly of a dark alley, and they are born of the clouds that gobble up the warmth of the sun.
However, in regard to the individual, shadow refers simply to “that which is not allowed” – it holds the other half of our potential and goes largely untapped.
Robert Johnson asserts that “Generally, the ordinary, mundane characteristics [of ourselves] are the norm. Anything less than this goes into the shadow! Some of the pure gold of our personality is relegated to the shadow because it can find no place in that great leveling process that is culture.”
The good news is that it is never too late to begin the process of inner excavation so that you can start to mine the treasures you’ve hidden from yourself.
Approach the journey of self-exploration with gentle compassion for yourself as you muster the bravery to meet who you truly are.
Begin this effort by becoming aware of, and opening to, those moments that prickle your defenses.
Decide that you can choose to treat these “offenses” as the opportunities for evolution that they truly are.
It’s worthwhile to point out that defenses (our coping mechanisms) are a response to the typical tumult that comes from everyday life.
These defenses are perfectly natural.
In fact, defenses originally formed in order to provide us with a healthy means of maintaining some degree of peace while managing difficult situations.
The peculiar thing about defenses is that they can long outlive their usefulness.
Keeping this in mind, approach the journey of self-exploration with gentle compassion for yourself as you muster the bravery to meet who you truly are.
It bears mentioning, that even with the noblest of intentions, it’s probably ill-advised to embark on such personal exploration during the moment of offense when you might be feeling most fragile or defensive.
Instead, hold the awareness and choose to listen to its story later – when you have a moment of solitude – distanced from the din of the day.
When you can own your own shadow, it then becomes possible to attract better people into your environment.
That Which We Suppress, We Activate
A little suppression is a good thing. If we let full-on reality rush into our psyches all at once, our minds might snap.
So we let reality in, in small doses – and that’s how it should be.
Much of life is about finding healthier ways to metabolize anxiety so that you can let more reality in gradually.
Then – over time – the more clearly you can see yourself, the more is revealed about your purpose.
The point is not to act on every dark thought or impulse that you have, but rather to acknowledge that repression has its own set of consequences.
Carl Jung helped us to understand that when we stuff-down key aspects of our psyche, they can then manifest in strange or crueler ways.
Better to admit yourself to your self.
Put it on the table and look at it through the clean lens of compassion.
The way out of a negative feeling is a positive thought followed by a healing action.
The more honest with yourself you become, the more clearly is revealed how and where your meaning and joy is to be experienced.
As you become more honest with yourself, you then attract better people – who also value self-honesty – into your environment.
It depends on you. Who you are is who you attract. This is the law of magnetism. If you want to attract better people, become the kind of person you desire to attract.” – John C. Maxwell
5. Release Narcissists with Love
Narcissism is proliferating in our culture, and it’s creating people who get bored, anxious or frustrated when the conversation goes too long without being about themselves or their agenda.
Narcissism is created, in part, when children in their formative years don’t receive a particular type of relating that they needed from their caretakers or culture.
When a child’s essence is mirrored, she stays connected with it. As she grows, she knows at the deepest level who she is. There is congruence between how she feels in her body, her intuitions and preferences, and how she thinks about herself. Mirroring occurs as the caregiver can look at the child and recognize the unique individual human being who exists there. A child experiences his or her self reflected in the caregiver’s attitude.” – Rose, Firman and Gila
Strangely, when narcissistically wounded children become adults and have children of their own, the cycle of fracturing often continues in some variation – from generation to generation (until someone breaks the cycle).
The secret that a narcissist is usually keeping from himself, is that he’s not deeply or genuinely interested in other people for their own sake.
Most narcissists would be shocked to learn that other people experience them this way, as narcissists have often created an entire press-release inside their own minds about how they are magnanimous or overly generous.
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If you’ve already seen the film The Sixth Sense, then you might remember (Spoiler Alert! ) the famous ending when Bruce Willis’ character, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, realizes that he’s a ghost (and has been one the entire length of the film).
He also realizes that his sidekick in the film – a sensitive young boy – has always known that Dr. Crowe is a ghost but didn’t tell him because the boy understands that a ghost should, ultimately, figure out that he’s a ghost on his own.
And so it is in real life: nearly every person has a secret that they’re keeping from themselves – and it’s usually not our place to tell others this secret, because it’s something that a person needs to reveal to himself or herself at their own pace.
You don’t need to tell a narcissist that she’s a narcissist. None of us is perfect, and other people’s karma is none of our business.
If you’ve caught a fish on your line that you don’t want to eat, you don’t yell at the fish.
You gently unhook the unwanted fish and release it back into the stream so that it can swim away. That tells the universe, “thanks for helping me to realize that this is no longer for me.”
If you accidentally “catch” a narcissist, you can release it back into the stream. No further drama is required.
When you, at last, learn to release toxic people with compassion, you will then attract better people into your daily life.
6. Flow Your Way Toward Goals
Our modern culture, political structures, and corporations are crafted in such a way that narcissists are being rewarded for being self-absorbed and self-serving.
Strangely, the law of attraction (which is always at play in the natural Universe), doesn’t care if you’re a selfish person – if your focus is as clear as a laser, you can have dreams fulfilled.
What this comes down to, then, is that there are in essence two ways to achieve your goals:
- the bombastic way of kicking butt and taking no prisoners
- the flow way of being gentle, empathic and authentically kind
Which of these methods do you want to use in order to move ahead in your life?
- the bombastic way utilizes charisma, power or politics
- the flow way requires a quiet potency
When you can set and achieve goals with a quiet strength – without becoming a tornado that rips through other people’s lives – you will then attract better people who can do the same.
7. Cultivate Empathy to Attract Better People
Our own frustrations often stem from a fundamental difficulty accepting others’ imperfections.
Empathy is the best way to understand those with whom we interact.
It can bring about peace-of-mind, and relieve feelings of isolation because it pops our narcissistic bubble and reminds us that the background characters in our lives are actually the stars of their own lives (where we are the background characters).
Walking a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes
Have you ever stood in line at the coffee shop and wondered what another person in line had for breakfast?
Have you ever seen someone overreact in a traffic incident and thought to yourself: “Maybe he has a lot on his plate? Could he have recently lost a loved one? Or gone through a divorce?”
- have you ever tried to imagine another person’s feelings at a given moment regardless of your own agenda?
- if so, was it a rare occurrence?
- or do you foster empathy as a way of life?
If you happen to be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) yourself, then you already have a visceral sense for tuning-in to others’ thoughts and feelings.
In this case “highly sensitive” doesn’t mean emotionally fragile.
Highly sensitive people are biologically more sensitive and can have up to 15% more-sensitive central nervous systems.
This is giftedness, though not always compatible with many aspects of modern living (for example, you should see an HSP try to enjoy lunch in a crowded cafeteria, or try to communicate clearly with someone whose central nervous system is 15% less sensitive than average)!
Giving one the benefit of the doubt is of paramount importance.
That doesn’t mean you should be naive or let others take advantage of you. It simply means that you never know what someone is dealing with.
Personal issues do not excuse or absolve behavior that infringes on your own rights, but at least it helps you to understand what might be prompting attitudes that you find off-putting.
If you happen to be a sensitive person in an environment with a narcissist, your solution is to be patient, set lots of healthy boundaries, and lower your expectations.
When someone else is challenged with narcissism, you will not change them.
Your best bet is to be polite and keep as much distance as possible.
when we attempt to understand where others are coming from the world becomes a kinder place
Consciously cultivating empathy has played an important role in my own personal journey. I try to filter every interaction through my best approximation of what it might be like to be in that other person’s shoes.
Of course, my approximations might be off, but at least the intent:
- is humanizing
- creates a more genuine connection
- leads to more equitable (and less exploitative) interrelations.
What is your experience with empathy in your daily life?
Do you have someone in your life who can sustain an authentic interest in your thoughts, feelings, and experiences?
Are you able to reciprocate that interest?
What type of person do you tend to attract into your life?
What is the reason for that?
Can it be improved?
8. Find Clever Ways to Metabolize Daily Anxiety
The journey of personal improvement is, ultimately, a journey of continually finding better ways to manage anxiety.
Most of your less beneficial habits are really just unconscious coping mechanisms.
Talking too much, drinking diet soda, watching television… they’re all just attempts at self-medication – to smooth the rough edges of life.
Your own solutions can be unique to you.
Maybe you’ll benefit from a new mattress, or a new yoga class, or a new blender, or a new book on organizing. Those are all attempts at self-medication, too, but they’re also improvements.
An actualized life is merely a series of finding clever, tailored ways to manage anxiety even better.
When you become adept at finding healthier ways to manage life’s daily anxieties, you will then attract better people – people who also handle stress in healthy ways.
When you let your body habitually flood with visceral feelings of gratitude, you will then attract better people into your daily life – people who see you clearly and are also grateful for what you add to their lives.
It’s possible that someone in your past did not make enough of an effort to see you clearly or listen to you carefully.
Maybe they were self-absorbed, lacked insight, or didn’t do the best for you that they could have given their own innate potential.
Well, that sucks.
But forgive them anyway.
Negative loops of painful memories are extremely unproductive and can impair mental and physical health.
Forgive those by whom you felt harmed.
If you’re not able to heal the relationship, then release that person (if you’re over the age of 18, then incompatible people no longer have to be a regular part of your personal life).
But, release them with love.
Interestingly, the more you’re able to forgive and the more you’re able to demonstrate patience and kindness, then the more space it creates in your psyche for gratitude.
Spontaneous feelings of gratitude are what put the magic and color back into your daily life.
Sometimes in life, we might find ourselves surrounded by negative or unsupportive people, and during those times we might wonder “how did this happen?”
Hopefully, the above tips have provided an answer to this question and will help you attract better people into your life.
These tips are not always easy to implement, but they are effective.