Soon after settling into an expat existence in Riyadh, I began to make a number of new friends. One of them, Fia, was giving some survival advice to a new mutual friend who had not long ago arrived in the Kingdom.
“Put your protective bubble on before you leave the house,” she said to Becky. I nodded in agreement.
The three of us talking in my kitchen that day came from very different backgrounds but what held us together in friendship was our positive mental attitude. We are the type of people who like to focus on the brighter side of life, achieve goals and walk around with a constant smile on our faces (if we can help it).
But sadly, the world isn’t entirely made up of people like us. There are those who sit far on the opposite side of the spectrum. Those I like to call ‘Bubble Breachers’. Whether it is learnt behaviour or a natural disposition, they are the type of people who constantly find faults in their environment and in others and worst of all; spread their negativity.
Can you identify the Bubble Breachers in your life? They may be a member of your family, or work in your department or, as in our case, live amongst us in a gold fish bowl environment that is expat living. As much as we would like to avoid them, sometimes there’s just no escaping them.
So how do we deal with them? We go back to Fia’s wise words and put on a protective bubble – a heightened state of awareness and resilience – when leaving the sanctity of our positive spaces. The more prepared we are to maintain our positive attitudes; the more awareness we will have of how another person’s behaviour or words is affecting us. Having said that; no matter how resilient we think we may be, sometimes the negative energy carried by that person or group of people is so forceful that it can breach our protective bubble and send us home feeling deflated.
But that’s okay – we’re positive people after all! We dust ourselves off and use the experience as a learning opportunity. How can we deal with that person or group differently next time (if we can’t avoid them altogether)? We might not be able to change others but we can definitely control our own thinking and behaviour to benefit our state of mind.
Find ways to filter out the negatives and increase the positives in your lives. Protect your bubble.
© Rabia Bashir 2013