I’ve read before that we are the average of the five closest people in our lives. I am not one for motivational speakers but I have to admit that this made me think for a while after. If you really think it through, the statement holds true. The people you surround yourself with the most greatly influences your way of thinking, your perception of reality, your interpretation of life, and your way of living.
- When you have good/bad news, who do you reach out to?
- When you are annoyed and feel the need to complain, who can you talk to?
- When you are upset that something did not go as planned, who will ease your sadness?
- When you have to think out options, who do you go to for advice?
I bet your answers repeat the same few people.
Have you thought about changing them? Have you thought about whether those people enable your bad behavior (smoking, hoarding, complaining, judging others, etc.) or make you the best version of yourself? Have you thought about how much influence each person has in your thought process?
You might not realize this, but the people in your life can be toxic.
Ask yourself these questions…
Ask: Does this person make you feel jealous, bad, stressed, drained, anxious, etc.?
Think: You know the feeling – even if you have never put a name to the emotion. After talking to them, you just feel bad. When you have good news, they rain on your parade. When you are excited about the next chapter in your life, they pass along their anxiety and make you second guess yourself. When you start the day on a good note, they manipulate the conversation and drain every ounce of energy you had for your day. Ask yourself - why keep them in your circle if they make you feel like this?
Ask: Do they add value to your life? Do they make you think outside the box and improve your quality of life?
Think: You have your own life to live. You are an adult with at least one full-time role; whether it be motherhood, student, spouse, boss, employee, or daughter, all the roles require upward movement. There is no room for people that stay stagnant. Why keep them if they don’t add value?
Ask: Do they bring out your bad side? Are they judgmental? Do they complain more often than you’d like? Do they have a victim mentality?
Think: The people you keep change your point of view. After hearing negativity all day, you will surely have a negative mindset. After hearing complaints all day, your focus deviates from gratitude to shortcomings. After hearing that they are the victim of their circumstances, your perspective shifts. Is this what you want? Do you want to become a more judgmental person with a knack for complaints and feeling helpless?
No doubt, these are difficult questions to answer truthfully. Such raw honesty is difficult to come by. I am not making you go through this exercise to make you think you are better than the people around you. I am trying to help you pinpoint the main idea of your relationships. If it happens to be negative, ask yourself…
- Can this relationship be saved?
- Are they open to feedback?
- Are they mentally mature?
- Will they help you see your own shortcomings?
No one is perfect. The idea is not to achieve perfection. The idea is to surround yourself with people that help you grow and move towards reaching the kind of person you’ve always wanted to be.