Every time I hear that I get chills and immediately do an inventory of who I'm spending time with. Thankfully, the people I spend the most time with happen to be family who are always doing their best to be encouraging and uplifting, but even they come with challenges sometimes. However, being a very introverted introvert means I don't get long exposures to other people, so I find ways to make sure that positive, uplifting people are always in my inner circle.
Who are the people you spend the most time with in your life?
Consider the types of individuals these people are. What types of personality traits do they exhibit? Do they behave in ways that bring positivity to your life? These are important questions to consider because the people you associate with most can have a great deal of influence on your personality and your overall well-being. Keep reading to learn more about this concept and how to make changes if you’re not happy with the current company you’re keeping.
The Company You Keep
It was businessman Jim Rohn who once famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” It makes sense that you would absorb some of the traits and attitudes of those around you. They say complaining is contagious. Have you ever noticed that you find yourself grumpy and negative when you’re around a constant complainer? The same can be true of positivity. When spending significant time with people who are encouraging and supportive, you’ll likely find yourself exhibiting similar qualities.
Assess Your Surroundings
First, assess your most common company. Who are the five people you spend the most time with? Write them down. Once you have your list, ask yourself some questions about these individuals. Consider what each person’s typical demeanor is like. Are they successful in their careers and goals? Do they pursue opportunities for regular growth? Are they supportive when you’re going through difficult times? Do they encourage you to be your best self? Taking an assessment such as this of the people you surround yourself with most frequently will give you an idea as to whether you need to make some changes.
No matter how hard you try to surround yourself with uplifting people, there are probably at least one or two toxic individuals in your life. We all have them. Sometimes we choose these people, only to realize later that they’re harmful. Other times, we’re put into situations where we have to deal with difficult people such as family members or co-workers. It can seem impossible to break away from certain individuals, but it may be in your best interest to do so.
You should now have a general assessment of which people are building you up and which may be holding you back. This assessment requires brutal honesty on your part, but it’s an investment worth making. Be open to change and feel free to make adjustments as you see fit. You can start by making dates to spend more time with the people who are your greatest influences and begin distancing yourself from the negative ones. Or you can make more drastic cuts if there are individuals who are truly toxic. The important thing is to be aware of how the people around you are impacting your life and to take steps to surround yourself with more positive folks.
If you don't have immediate access or know other people who can be a positive influence in your life, follow some on social media. These can be people who are doing great things in the world that you admire; follow motivational speakers who impart positivity and lift you up; or those who are doing things that you aspire to do.
You’ll start to notice a difference in your life as you make these changes. Surrounding yourself with uplifting people lightens your mood, helps to improve your self-esteem and increases your motivation. You’ll simply feel better and more energized when you’re proactively choosing your inner circle.
As adults, we want to believe that we control our own lives and aren’t easily influenced by those around us. Often times however, that’s simply not the case. We’re influenced by so many things in our lives. The media, entertainers and other powerful influencers have an impact on the ways we think and behave. On a more personal level, those closest to us may have the biggest impact of all. It’s important that you learn to recognize how other people impact what you do and how you feel if you hope to set clear boundaries for yourself. Let’s explore this topic more closely so that you can begin to understand these types of influences and how to break free of them.
The Impact of Others
Other people can truly impact the ways in which we feel and behave on a regular basis. This is especially true when the influencer is someone you respect, care about or wish to impress. What these people do and say can greatly affect your mood, which can then cause you to behave in certain ways, if you let them. The key to setting boundaries and protecting yourself from negative influences is to determine the types of behaviors and actions you will allow in your life.
Do Others Impact You?
Sometimes the people we interact with regularly have the most impact on our lives in ways we may not even realize. It’s important that you take time to think about the people who may be influencing your mental health and happiness in negative ways so that you can begin to set boundaries regarding their presence. You probably already have an idea of who the people are causing you discomfort. Take a moment to sit down and think about the ones who cause you problems and try to determine the ways they are most affecting you. Do some journaling or note taking if necessary, in order to clarify your thoughts. Once you have some insight into the ways in which people in your life are causing you to feel such things as fear, anger, jealousy, inferiority or other negative emotions, you can begin to create some boundaries to help you overcome their impact.
How to Reduce the Impact
Pay attention to how you feel around people in your life. When you notice an uncomfortable emotion or tightness in your muscles, try to identify what’s causing the feeling. Once you do, you can then make a plan for how to handle each one. Perhaps you may wish to have a heart to heart with those who impact you in negative ways, letting them know how you’re feeling and what types of behaviors you won’t accept from them. If this feels like too much to take on, you could simply minimize your contact with certain people. Sometimes it may make the most sense to remove someone from your life completely.
Make each decision on a case by case basis and which won’t always be easy. However, once you begin to identify the impact of others, you can start to take charge of how you respond. And that’s an empowering feeling.
Learning how to set healthy boundaries is one of the most valuable skills you can have when it comes to forming a healthy relationship with yourself and with others.
However, the idea of boundaries can seem unclear or complicated and maybe a bit scary as well. Personal boundaries are merely guidelines that you set for yourself with regard to the ways in which others interact with you. A boundary isn’t a rule for how others should act. It’s about what you will allow or tolerate. Boundaries put you in the driver’s seat. You are in control of the behaviors you accept from others.
There are a lot of reasons why it’s important to set boundaries. This post and others to follow will touch on them in-depth along with ways to maintain them. I’d like to just give you a quick overview today of some of the benefits you’ll receive from setting personal boundaries.
Stating clear boundaries helps to avoid misunderstandings and keeps people on the same page. Those around you will know how you want to be treated. Therefore, they can avoid asking too much of you or pushing you in ways that make you uncomfortable. If anyone should happen to ignore your stated boundary, you can address that with them clearly and decide whether to continue your relationship with them should the issue become a pattern in the future.
When you begin to determine what you will and won’t accept from the people around you, you’ll start to notice your confidence improve. That’s because you’re no longer concerned with how others view you. Instead, you’ve put yourself first. This isn’t selfish. It demonstrates a high regard for your own value.
Frankly, you’ll simply be happier and more satisfied in life when you embrace and establish your own personal boundaries. Sacrificing your own comfort for that of others is exhausting. It builds sadness and resentment. When you are clear about defending your own needs and interests, you’ll see that you begin to attract the kinds of relationships and opportunities that support you instead of ones that drain you.
These are only a few of the reasons why setting boundaries is so important. We’ll explore more as we continue our journey. I hope you’ll soon start to understand just how much your life can improve when you learn to create and establish your own personal boundaries.