Each of us has a circle of influence. The circle works two ways- we are the influencers and we are also the influenced. This can work as a terrific advantage for us or it can be to our detriment.
This point has been the most difficult for me to grasp, and it has been a process that has taken several years to come to terms with. I have spent much time being sentimental about old connections, when those connections have long since changed and moved on. I have not been specific enough in my selection of influencers in the past, becoming very loyal once a connection has been made. I have this tendency, and it has caused me great pain, so at one point I tried to protect myself by doing the opposite of saving old connections, and closed everyone out all together- only letting in those very few that felt the safest (that still didn’t mean a profound relationship). This was not a good plan and left me bitter and lonely. Through a lengthy and difficult process, I have been able to analyze all the relationships in my life, and have determined those that need to grow and those that need to go (or be minimized). Once in a while I run into an old “close” friend and suddenly find myself back in a awkward place, acting in a persona that I don’t like in an attempt to win approval. This is not a good plan either! Winning approval is never a good idea! Last I checked, I need to be myself, acceptable just for me. What I ultimately need to arrive at as well is: this relationship had its time, it meant something, and it is ok to let it go. A bit like the song, ‘Someone I Used to Know’.
Think of the five people that you spend the most time with. Are these people lifting you up? Are their lives going in a direction that you want yours to go? Do they support you and encourage you? Do you feel loved and accepted by them? Are these people who you feel a deep connection with, a connection that enhances your lives for the better, making life richer and better because you know each other? These are vital questions to ask yourself as you design your life to be the way you dream of it to be.
Who you spend the most time with is who you end up being. If you spend most of your time around those who’s life is in constant chaos, then you are likely to have a life that will feel and be similar. If you are around negativity all the time, then it is a given that you will assimilate that negativity- even when you do not want to. It is vital that you choose your companions carefully and that you seek out mentors who’s lifestyle and personality are ones that you can have a deep respect for, and want to emulate. Choose people who’s lives match the outcome you would like for your own self.
Now is the time to do an inventory of who has the most influence on you. This exercise may send you into panic, and you might feel that it is a very harsh chore, but it is vital if you are to grow. We start to think that if we hack away at our social influences, and get rid of negative influences, that we will have no people left, that we will be all alone. This is simply not true (although it will feel true, so you can prepare to cry). With the right attitude, we can find new friends, where we can share and have deeper and more profound relationships, because we have been selective and purposeful.
What qualities do you need to have when choosing friends? What things are the most important for you to share? When you have defined these things then it is relatively easy to find friends. Those that are negative and take away from your life, you need to either eliminate from interaction with, or minimize contact. Energy drainers can alter or limit our growth. You may also find some awesome positive influences with whom you need to spend way more time with! Hurrah! We all have some of these people in our circle or could have when we take a closer look.
Fill your life with positive people who love you, support you and who challenge you to be all that you can be – the authentic you.