Opposites attract and likes repel.
We’ve probably all heard that at some point in our lives. I know I’ve heard opposites attract so many times that it’s just another imbedded piece of information I don’t even think about. As a kid, I experienced those fun experiments like placing two magnets near each other and repelling one and then turning it around and pulling the other to it. Or rubbing the balloon on my hair and seeing how the static charge pulled pieces of paper. In the natural world opposite charged items do attract and like charged items do repel each other.
But what stands out to me, is how often this is applied to human interactions. I’ve always interpreted it through my own experiences to mean that if someone was unlike me, then that would be a good fit. Whether it was romantic relationships or friendships. I found myself to not only buy into this belief, but to actually seek it out. I believed that those who had characteristics that were in opposition to my own were somehow more interesting than those who were like me. I tended to have friends who were a bit more outspoken, wild, risky and rebellious than myself. When I sought out partners, I chose those who were often rebellious, untamed and frequently referred to as “bad boys.” I’ve spent a lot of years examining this within myself, observing it in others and drawing some of my own conclusions.
I am a positive person, someone who tries to find the good in the worst of situations. I believe every situation, no matter how desperate or dark — offers an opportunity for growing into a greater version of ourselves. I’ve had that little spark within me since I was a child. Something that just makes me keep going, that doesn’t let me give up, that helps me get through really tough challenges. It doesn’t mean I have never been down, or in despair — I have. I’ve been broken to a point where I did not think I could return. I have been in darkness where no light seemed to break through the cracks. But, each time, somehow I manage to find hope. I draw on something within me that believes in joy.
Something inside of me believes in happiness, joy and goodness — no matter what the circumstances.
Yet, throughout life I have bought into the belief of opposites attract and surrounded myself with negative and destructive people. I did not realize I was choosing that, but I did make a choice to embrace it. I somehow thought that the people who brought chaos, rebellion and risk to my life were more interesting. I thought being with those who were in darkness somehow brought a deeper flavor to my life — the sour balancing the sweet. I’ve been called “sweet” more times than I can count. I hated being called sweet. Somehow I thought sweet was bad. Sweet could not be risky, rebellious, dangerous or sexy. I thought sweet was limiting. But, I don’t think that anymore.
What I’ve come to realize about myself and what I have observed in others, is that opposites do attract. But what we often choose is the negative aspect of opposites. We choose those who hurt us, put us down, call us names, take and never give in return, and drain the life and joy from us. Those are the people who no matter what great blessing they have, no matter what wonderful partner they have, no matter what circumstance they are in — they only see the problems. Those people who choose to view life through the lens of negativity. I have known many of these people and have learned that there is absolutely nothing I can do to change them. They make a choice each day to be negative, just as I make a choice each day to be positive.
Opposites do not have to be negative.
Positive people can attract positive people — and still be opposites. Being opposites is not a bad thing, in fact, I believe it is often really beneficial. When someone has a strength in a characteristic, I am weaker in, and vice versa, that is a good form or opposites. I learn from it and it helps me grow in that area. Opposite characteristics within positive and compassionate people are a fertile ground for growing into even greater positivity. It’s important to choose positive people in our lives. Positive people aren’t immune from pain and hardship, they simply know how to look for the gift in it. Those same people are the ones who can see the gifts in us. They may have opposite characteristics, they may be quiet while you are outgoing, they may be structured while you are spontaneous, they may be reserved while you are open and sharing — none of this is bad if it comes within a positive package. Opposites can help us grow into better versions of ourselves, but if they are not a positive person, they will only undermine our own attempts to see the joy in each day. Opposites do attract and they can help strengthen you — but be mindful to choose those in your life from the pool of positive people.