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  • Writer's pictureDominique du Pré

Are you a Radiator or a Drain?

Now let me explain what I mean. My mother (who by the way is the epitome of a radiator) sorts people into these categories: Radiators and Drains. The first time she said it, I laughed. But I have gradually come round to her way of thinking.

'Drains' ooze negativity. They find the downside of every situation, are critical of others, expect others to make them happy, always feel short-changed; in short they can be 'mood hoovers'. Drains often do not like themselves much sadly. They have either learned negativity or use it as a protective cloak to shield them from life's knocks. They have developed these behaviour patterns and if they never work to change, this will be the default setting. They can be exhausting to be around.

"The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become"

- unknown author

On the other hand, 'radiators' immediately make others feel better just by being there. They find the best in everyone and bring the best out in those around them. Spending time with a 'radiator' makes you feel better about yourself. So what is it about 'radiators' that makes their positivity so infectious?

Self belief. This is not the same as being big-headed or egotistical. It is that quiet and deep felt knowledge that I am ok, I am good enough and I trust my abilities and my instincts. The feeling comes from within and radiators don't need constant validation from others. It's not that people with self belief never falter or doubt themselves, it's just that they have inner strength to deal with that negative inner voice. They are emotionally resilient. They can challenge the nagging doubts telling them they aren't good enough and replace it with positive mantras like "I CAN do this' or 'it's ok if I can't'. 'Radiators' can visualise achieving a goal and being happy.

Appreciating the small things. Radiators find joy in small things - a sunny day, a giggling child or a song on the radio. I once heard someone say that the happiest people are those that believe themselves to be really lucky. They notice all the daily good stuff and feel lucky.

Sharing the joy. Radiators tend to be giving people. They do it without expectation of anything in return. Feeling positive about yourself makes it so much easier to share positivity. They will give you words of encouragement, pay you compliments and support you in your endeavours.

We are not necessarily born a particular way. We are shaped by our life experiences and by the behaviours of those around us. Sometimes it is really hard to find the positive and to push through sadness. But we generally do have a choice about how we react and how we approach life's challenges.

"Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects." Dalai Lama

Now here's the good bit. When you are a radiator, the warmth spreads and everyone around you feels a little bit better. A smile, a kind word, a helping hand can lift someone. It can make them feel special and maybe make all the difference. The ripples spread out and before you know it you have radiated a little bit of happiness. And when you make someone else feel a little bit special, it makes you feel good. Everyone is a winner!

Are you finding it difficult to find the positives in your life? Maybe counselling can help. If you think I can help contact me.

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