I recently had a run-in with a very negative atmosphere/situation/group of people. I knew in my head and heart that it was a bad thing; I would feel out of place there and very much like a fish out of water until I would leave…then could breathe for what felt like the first time all day. I’m a realist by nature. I’m a worrier. I stress over things at times that simply need no stressing about… I don’t walk around with rose colored glasses at all. I wish sometimes I did. But, aside from all of my flaws, I am not bitter and I don’t hate life. I can see the good in the world and in my life, along with the bad. I don’t sugar coat anything, I see it for what it is and just deal with it the best I can. I pray a lot. It keeps me balanced and definitely in the right frame of mind when my human self is wanting to dwell on the worst.

My point is, whether you are *already* negative, a realist, or you walk around smiling 24/7…your atmosphere can and will affect you. I became bitter like those spoken about above; I became more stressed than I ever cared to be, and found myself not even seeing the good in my own life. When you sleep with dogs my friend, you will get fleas. Not a the figure of speech I like, but you get my point. God placed me here for very different reasons and I knew that. I removed myself as soon as I could. I got to the point where I felt as though I was suffocating and couldn’t stomach to go back. I gained another open window. I chose to close the door on this other experience and was relieved to have done so.

I won’t tell you to smile all of the time. I won’t tell you to preach happiness. I have a million flaws and I don’t do any of those things myself. I just ask that you be thankful for what you have; realize that things could be much worse than they are now..whatever your situation, and know that God does have a plan for you. It’s difficult to sometimes know what that plan is, but if you listen to your heart…you will know what it is…even if it’s bits and pieces at a time. About a week ago, I drifted off to sleep saying my nightly prayers. I woke up thinking, “Shana, don’t worry that the worst is and will happen to you…worry about not LIVING” You have one shot at this thing. It’s life…it’s a battle of ups and downs. It’s regrets. It’s should haves. It’s amazing moments. It’s experiences. It’s yours. Walk your path wisely and if you find yourself suffocating in a situation, becoming that person you normally want to steer clear of, remove yourself. No is a really beautiful word; it’s just that most don’t realize it.