I am grateful for wonderful people around me, and I’m sure everyone appreciates real, caring and loving people. Take a moment right now and reflect on those people around you; those whom, without, you wouldn’t be who you are right now. I bet you probably have a couple of people floating in your mind… right? Well, do they know you appreciate them?
Be grateful for every friend you have who never fails to tell you the truth no matter how much s/he knows it'll hurt you to hear it. Those kinds of friends are hard to come by. BUT, be careful with friends who ONLY point out the negative things in your life; those friends who always seem to disappear when you've achieved something great, but are the first to appear when something goes wrong.
I titled this post “watch and pray” because if you’re not vigilant – that is, if you don’t watch – you won’t notice the people in your life who fall into the category of “negative people around you”.
If you don't pay attention, if you don't watch, you won't realize you have negative people in your life, because they will shower you with love when things are going bad, so much so that you begin to think they care about you.
You have to be careful and probably refrain from friends who seem to always downplay your success with words like "My cousin made a 4.0 in college, but I'm happy you made a 3.95", “it’s nice you bought a Toyota, but my brother just bought a Mercedes Benz”.
Flee from friends who only show up to pity you, with words like "that sucks, eyah, pele, God dey" but are never around to say "You did it, that's my girl/boy, congratulations or I knew you could do it".
When you find yourself only able to say "s/he was there when I lost my cat, s/he was there when I lost my mom, s/he was there when I broke my head, s/he was there when my boy/girlfriend dumped me", but you don't remember s/he being there when you graduated, when you had a baby, got married, or got an award, then you need to start praying that s/he gets out of your life.
This brings me to the second part of my title, Pray. Aside from making an effort to stop talking to or cut out the negative people in your life, you need to Pray. Prayer should be included in all you do and I say pray because some people have the same spirit the boy in Matthew 9:14-29 had in him. That spirit in them – like in that boy – can only be driven out by prayer (Matthew 9:29). The negative people in your life will always be there to point out what a failure you are, and they will never help you move forward. You can’t make any progress when there’s negativity around you. Their words are "don't worry, you only a failed a college class, remember that time you broke your tooth?” It appears their job is to point out only the negativity in your life!
The pity and words of negative people can leave you dry – feeling or acting LESS than the person you really are. Also, since they always show up when something negative happens, it will appear as though nothing good ever happens to you. Flee from these people.
Earlier, I stated that you need to pray because, not answering their calls won't do it. Let's face it; they'll probably appear at your mutual friends' birthday party and sit near you, forcing you to tell them "what's been going on with you" - so that they can add that to their already long list of things going on in your life. When you start saying the good things going on with you, they somehow manage to switch the topic to something bad that has happened to them – and this in turn gets you in what I call “the pity mode”. When you’re in this mode, you end up saying something bad that has happened to you just to make them feel better about their situation. You will most likely end up saying, "Aww… sorry friend, it's been long we saw each other, I didn't know you broke your hand... I also got a big bruise in my leg when I ran into the garage with my bicycle yesterday ".
You see what just happened there? You were trying to run away, but they got you again. You didn’t want to tell them anything about yourself, but once they got you in the “pity mode”, you had to be nice. You wanted to relate… but now, they have YET another thing to add to the list of negative things that happens to you! At the risk of sounding like a nagging mother or persistent pastor, I will say to you right now: trying to run away from the negative people around you alone won't do it. You have to add prayer in the midst.
We all will experience some unpleasant things/events in life.
Misfortunes are bound to happen, failure is sometimes inevitable, but you don’t need people around you who always point these things out to you. Search your life, see if you have some negative people in your life, and take action. Do something about it now because you’re only cheating yourself if you let negative people dictate how you feel about yourself. A lot of people think they are not progressing because of something they’re doing wrong, but most people who have potential to succeed are being pulled back by the negativity around them. You can be happy, and you should have people who celebrate your success around you.
Remember, Any friend who doesn’t help in your spiritual walk with Christ is questionable, but a friend who draws you nearer to God is a friend indeed.
My prayer point for everyone is:
Yoruba: Oluwa gba wa lowo awon Ota Ti wa'n se bi ore oo!
Translated in English: Father Lord in heaven, deliver us from enemies that act like friends.