I was thinking about the quote, “Misery loves company,” because there are some people in my life who feels like they are looking for company for their misery. I am working on being compassionate, but it can get difficult, at times.

I believe they are good people and have good hearts. They have shared with me how they are struggling, but not in an “I could use some help” way. It is more in an “I am upset, angry, not ready to let it go” way.

I am not sharing this to judge or criticize them. I am sharing because I am sure that almost everyone can relate to having someone in their life that has tried to pull them into their misery.

The interesting thing is – they can’t – unless you allow them to. You can choose to not allow their misery to become yours. Yes, it’s not always easy to not be pulled into their misery. But it is a choice

Just before I sat down to finish writing this email, I listened to the On Purpose podcast by Jay Shetty – while I was driving. He was talking about something similar to this topic. (Coincidence?) I liked the way he described it. He said, “If I can’t lift someone up, I am going to protect myself by not being pulled down.” He talked about it coming from a place of compassion versus judgment. It wasn’t about putting the other person down.

Yes – thank you, Jay. It doesn’t mean you do not care about them or how they feel. But you can’t change them or the way they feel. You can listen, but there may come a point where you will have to set your boundaries on how much time you spend with them, how often you talk to them, and how much you are willing to listen.

Of course, there is another side to this. What if you are the misery looking for company? Personally, I can think of times when I was the misery looking for company.

I couldn’t see it at the time, but I can see it now. I can also now see how there were people in my life that were trying to lift me up – but I wasn’t ready to be lifted.

What about you? 

Can you think of times you were trying to lift someone out of their misery – but they were not responding? 

How about a time when you were the misery and you didn’t respond to someone that was trying to lift you up? 

Either way, it is okay. It is all a part of life, of being human. 

Maybe this message can be that nudge for you – if you are trying to lift someone (unsuccessfully) and need to protect yourself or if you are pushing away the people that are trying to lift you. Remember, it is a choice on how and if you (or they) respond. 

Misery loves company, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept the invitation.

— Gary Renard