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Blog Posts

ah nuh every kin teet ah laff

Christina Levy

photograph by quentin keller via

photograph by quentin keller via

as social beings, we come in contact with so many different people all carrying different stressors flung over their shoulders. from a psychological perspective, we all have different stress tolerance levels—those with a higher tolerance tend to be the happy-go-lucky-optimistic people of the universe. it seems as though nothing ever gets them down. they take the cold gloomy days head on, still managing to smile at every person they come across. on the other end of the spectrum, we have those who seem to never have things go their way. they enter tranquil spaces and an immediate shift takes place in the atmosphere. these individuals are pessimistic about every little thing, even the mundane that can easily be fixed.

now imagine living with a person who fits the first characteristic and then someone fitting the latter. yea. i imagine most would rather live with the first than to even share a fifteen minute cab ride with the second. the reason why is because we all know that people’s attitudes have definite effects on our own. it is almost as if a portion of their spirit leaves their bodies and sits heavily on top of our own. the rhetoric of popular culture would call that the transference of energy. a genuine smile and “good morning” from the first person forces us to smile while the very presence of the other sends a clear flight message. so, if both of these people exist and might even be some of us, how do we protect our own energy and ensure that we aren’t dampening someone else’s?

watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life.
— proverbs 4:23 amp

i think we all know the answer to that question. if we did not, we would probably never leave our individual rooms, let alone our homes. Simply put, we have to guard our hearts like the proverb above instructs us to do. with that comes truly knowing and paying attention to our hearts. we have to tap into the shifts that take place inside of us when we are around different people. personally, i think I’m somewhere in the middle but closer to the happy-go-lucky side of the spectrum. on most days, you’ll find me laughing at the simplest things. [fun fact, i’ve actually been told that my laugh is not appropriate for a lady. that still cracks me up when i think about it but it is a story for another day.] at the same time though, when i am in one of my monthly moods, ladies you may be able to relate, i notice that i am not as pleasant to be around because people aren’t themselves around me (an observation we might overlook too often). overall though, i try my best to not project my stress onto others because that just isn’t fair. everyone has their own cross to bear, so who would i be to give them my own? in any case, i pay attention to my heart— i know that it loves laughter and authentic energy from others. i know that it is repulsed by arrogance and conceitedness. in being cognizant of all these things, i know how to govern myself when I am around others. i gravitate to those with the qualities i see in myself, especially those who are always laughing. they tell me that life is as much about chasing joy as it is about being still and present.

okay, so what if these qualities aren’t always at the forefront upon a first encounter? after all, no one is walking around with their personalities hovering above them like the tags in videogames. do we dismiss people who might potentially be a great friends based on a judgement we made when they were having a bad day? of course not because that would mean we are living naïve and judgmental lives. a common saying from my culture comes to mind— “ah nuh every kin teet ah laff.” in translation, “not everyone who smiles with you or tells you they love you, really loves you”. while the phrase speaks to the wolves in sheep’s clothing, it also has as much precedents for the sheep who appear as wolves on their bad days. i have become close friends with people who many would deem as having RBF. shoot, i’m sure half of the time i do not appear to be the most pleasant and welcoming. however, i think in those times, it is important to pick up on others’ energy when they are around you. Like i said before, sometimes i realize people aren’t being themselves when i am not in the best spirits. so, because i am able to tap into that shift, i know to either change the energy i am pitting out or remove myself if it’s just not my day.

it really is that simple. we’ve all been gifted with intuition and the feeling of empathy. when we listen to both of these things, we become more aware of the energy that we produce and send out as well as what is radiating around us. truth is, our spirits all have a chameleon likeness to them. we can pretend that what others do or say to us have no effect on the nature of our day, but that just isn’t how we function as spirited creatures. we are impressionable and susceptible to what we expose ourselves to as much as we are capable of causing the same ripple effect in others. living in harmony with ourselves and others requires a heightened level of awareness. as funny as it may sound, we need to have enough compassion to know when we are being ugly people. it really won’t be the worst thing in the world for us to exclude ourselves for a few hours until our energy rebalances itself. at the same time, we have to seek wisdom to know that not every smiling face has our best interest at heart. test them spirits, y'all!


until next time,

peace, love & blessings.