“Save your energy: don’t entertain toxic people.” – Akin Olokun
Columbus, Ohio is home to THE Ohio State University, as many locals will remind you a million times over. The capitol of Ohio is also located in Columbus, as well as numerous Starbucks locations scattered throughout the metro area. Columbus is also the home to a very dark day in human history:
The first time I had food poisoning.
Never go to Panera Bread at 2:30PM in the afternoon and expect the chicken to be fresh. It won’t be. Get a scone, not chicken. I had a late lunch and was wrapping up some work that afternoon, so I figured Panera would be as good a place as any. After work was finished for the day, I went to take in a minor league baseball game. I got a hot dog, a soda, and a nice seat near the field, excited to finally relax. Then the ghost of chicken past appeared…
The hot dog didn’t seem interesting to me anymore…
The soda lost its appeal…
Then the lights at the stadium malfunctioned and the game was delayed…I was feeling fine at the time (outside of my appetite), but I decided to leave the ball park due to the delay. Shortly after settling into my hotel room, the “fun” began.
That night I felt a little less human and a lot more like a wet fish dying a slow death. It was miserable – possibly the worst I’ve ever felt physically. The bad chicken had won. This is when I realized: I should have gone with the scone.
We often view relationships in the same way as that stupid chicken sandwich: sure it’s 2:30PM, but I’m hungry (or: sure, they lack character, but I need a friend). What we fail to see in that moment is a future full of pain and heartache. We don’t see the toxic poison beneath the appealing surface.
Character matters. Who you spend your time with matters. Who you date matters. Who you marry matters. These relationships will either make you healthier, or they will leave you reeling.
Your character matters, as well. Maybe you’re the person who’s infecting others, not vice versa. Wouldn’t you like to be known as a life-giving friend, not a toxic leach? The person you become is determined by your choices, not by anyone else. Choose a better future.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden
When we entertain toxic thinking and attitudes from the people surrounding us, we will eventually become infected.
Social media is a perfect example. It’s incredibly sad how someone can destroy another human being from behind the screen of their phone or laptop. Words, actions, and character have the power to bring life or death.
What kind of people are you inviting into your world? Are there people in your life who are feeding you poison? Do you think it’s time to find a new group of friends?
We wouldn’t eat rotting chicken if we knew it had gone bad. That being said, why is it that we invite toxic people into our hearts?
What choices will you make about the people with whom you surround yourself?
What choices will you make about your own character and who you will become?
Make the most of your life, choosing better friends and a better future for yourself. Who you become impacts others, just as they can impact you.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to go with the scone.