Inspiring or Draining?

By Kathy Pollard

There are several variations of a quote that goes something like, “People can inspire you or they can drain you…choose wisely.” Sage advice if it’s true that we become like the people we spend the most time with. We need to invest in relationships that will bring out the best in us, and be careful around those whose disagreeable traits could rub off on us.

Don’t you think it’s pretty easy to tell the difference? When I think of those who inspire me, I can rattle off several reasons why. The same goes for those who drain me (that sounds harsh, I know). Here’s how that looks to me:

Inspiring

  • expresses love
  • encourages
  • compliments
  • looks for the positive
  • cheerful disposition
  • instills courage in others
  • sees the good in others
  • expresses gratitude
  • patient
  • smiles
  • warm
  • pays attention
  • brings people together
  • engages
  • tries new things
  • shares
  • speech reflects a Phil. 4:8 mind

Draining

  • complains
  • criticizes
  • points out the negative
  • finds fault
  • fuels drama
  • angers easily
  • impatient
  • gossips
  • self-absorbed
  • always a victim
  • puts others down
  • sarcastic
  • argumentative
  • interrupts
  • moody
  • distracted
  • doesn’t do anything they don’t want to

With as much grace as possible, you can probably think of the people in your circle and see which list they tend to fall under. It’s a fairly easy discernment to make, right?

Okay, having said all that…it wouldn’t be very fair for this quote to be so one-sided. Otherwise it becomes a selfish exercise.

You’re good for me. Let’s hang out.

I’m tired of your constant griping. Buh-bye.

The rest of the quote should be something like, “You can inspire others or you can drain them. Choose wisely.” Perhaps this should be our greater focus. Instead of inspecting the strengths and flaws of others, what if we looked a little closer at ourselves in light of those two lists? Ah, but this is not as easy to discern because I know the excuses behind my complaints and criticisms. I know I’m exhausted, or in the midst of a trial, or disappointed, or having the worst day ever… Whatever the reason, the effect is the same. My attitude impacts those around me. With every encounter, I am defining myself as an inspirer or a drainer, and I am the only one who chooses which it shall be.

I know which one I want to be. How about you? No one’s going to perfectly live out the inspiring list, and I know for a fact that there are some doozies on that drainer list that I need to work on. Let’s commit to bringing out the best in each other, okay?

Happy New Year, friends. 2 Cor. 4:16!

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