We are not only what we think, but we are also defined by the people we surround ourselves with. We are the product of a complex equation in which different variables enter. Thus, one of those that have more weight in our state and definition is the one that encompasses all the people around us.
“You are now, and you do become, what you think about.” – Earl Nightingale
No environment is neutral, and few situations are alien to the influence that others can have on us based on what they tell us, what they do or do not do. Thus, and although we would love for all that influence to be positive and inspiring, the truth is that sometimes we experience the opposite.
In the literature of personal growth and in the world of positive phrases that flood our social networks, there is no lack of the classic message that ‘we always try to surround ourselves with enriching people,’ those who always bring out the best in ourselves. However, let’s face it; this is not possible in all cases for particular reasons.
Each of us is, in part, the result of those who have raised and educated us; we are the product of our interactions with those figures we have met in school, institute, university, work and other social settings.
It’s not always possible for us to screen people; In most cases, they are given to us and therefore, sometimes we are forced to live with someone we do not like at all. Thus, and although in the end, the experience has revealed to us how to treat whoever bothers us or brings us anguish instead of happiness, the result of those interactions and experiences also determines us.
Therefore, what we are now in the complex, but beautiful, the canvas of each and every one of the people who formed and are a part of our existential journey.
“Learn to be what you are, and learn to tastefully renounce everything you are not.” – Henry Friedrich Amiel
The people we surround ourselves with also define us.
Jim Rohn, businessman and renowned author of books on motivation, happiness and leadership, points out that each of us is the result of the five people with whom we spend the most time.
Jim hits everyone hard with this phrase and clearly focuses us on the path to be executed: Take care of building a successful environment!
At first, a phrase like this can create antibodies, especially if when you “turn” to see the people with whom you frequent more time or activities, they are also those whom you estimate and would not change for anything.
So can something be wrong with this postulate?
If your environment is positive, kind, polite, successful, consistent, honest, real and so many other values or situations that you can consider as “valuable additions” to your life, it is highly likely that you are also one of those people.
If, on the contrary, the perception of your “social environment” was negative, full of conflicts, disorderly, prone to risk, living in situations of failure, with complications of all kinds, you may be living an emotional environment with certain conflicts to be resolved and even if you want, you don’t realize that you are part of it.
Reflecting on this phrase, your mind can acquire a clear understanding of why you are going through the experiences you are going through, even when nothing happens in your life: Maybe you have little relationship with those who you should be sharing?
A moment of fulfillment, rest assured that a lot has to do with the emotional environment of the people around you.
Here, therefore, there is a small but evident nuance, and that is that those figures with whom we share more hours at the end of the day are not always our partners, family and friends.
Sometimes, and due to our work hours, we spend more time away from home. This means, for example, that the influence of coworkers, bosses or other figures in the organization broadly defines our state of mind. What’s more, there is another detail that we sometimes overlook that also has a significant impact on our well-being.
“Surround yourself with the dreamers, and the doers, the believers, and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” – Edmund Lee
Dividing our time in multiple social settings does not always revert to our well-being. Sometimes our days are a complex series of movements, which go from home to work, then the gym, courses, shopping, family visits, times shared with people you hit it off and with no …
All this often leads to accumulating high stress that we are not always aware of.
Thus, studies such as the one carried out at the School of Social Policies and the University of Singapore, show us that although well-being is subjective, greater happiness is perceived when we share time with fewer people, provided that they are significant figures and enriching.
The people we surround ourselves will condition us
It is evidence. The people we surround ourselves with determining us in many cases because they are somehow part of the environment to which we have to adapt. This frequently occurs at the family level. Each of us ends up fitting as unique pieces into the machinery that our parents build.
We are defined by the mandates, the advice given or not given, the words, the silences, what we see and also the expectations they place on us.
On the other hand, this can also occur at the level of a couple, where over time, we end up internalizing, almost without realizing many characteristics of the other person and vice versa.
You are in control, choose well who you want on the trip of your life.
The roman philosopher Seneca said that life is a theatrical work and that for that reason, it does not matter how long it lasted, but how well it has been represented. To this wise message is added another one, and that is that in that representation, we are not always alone, there are more actors on the stage of life, and it depends on us whether in that role we act as protagonists or as mere supporting characters.
The people we surround ourselves with determining us; we know that. You can’t always choose your family, but you can decide when the time comes, with whom to keep in touch and with whom you got to stay away. Nor can we deactivate, as if it were a video game, those uncomfortable coworkers, classmates, neighbours or acquaintances who are often not pleasant to us.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t.” Anonymous
Despite not being able to avoid these presences, we can, of course, learn to handle them by setting limits, opening emotional umbrellas and preventing their behaviours from having power over us.
On the other hand, and here comes the most important thing, each of us has a margin of freedom to decide who enters and who leaves our lives. Surrounding yourself with good people is not an art; it is a necessity.
Having figures by our side that inspire us, that allow us to get the best of ourselves, is not a gift; it is a privilege. So, let’s keep it in mind every day.