As I continue working on my life plan, I have worked through some areas in my past and I am currently spending time looking at my friends. These exercises are very eye opening.
Here is a paraphrase from my current module: Looking at your current friends will help you know who you will be in five years. Wow, that is a pretty powerful statement! But, take some time and think about it. Don’t your friends rub off on you? Don’t see it? Try this, take an inventory of your thoughts and feelings after you spend an extended period of time with one of your friends?
It may be subtle, but the ones we allow into our lives have an impact on us. Their thoughts and feelings, over time, can become our thoughts and feelings. It is pretty scary if you really think about it!
This exercise had me break down relationships into three categories: those who are making me a better person, those who are negatively affecting me, and the friends whom I have a positive influence in their lives. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.
MAKING ME A BETTER PERSON
These are the people I want in my life! They make me a better person! They challenge me. They encourage me. They inspire me. When I spend time with these people, life is better.
Who do you have in your life that plays this role? If the answer is no one, start by defining what it is that will make you a better person. Once you have that definition, be on the lookout for someone who possesses those characteristics. Then, make them a part of your life.
NEGATIVELY AFFECTING ME
I honestly don’t really have relationships that fit in this category right now. I did at one time. But, over time, I weeded those out. I can, however, remember how I was impacted. After spending time with certain friends, I would feel depressed and discouraged. I was allowing their “woe is me” attitude” to become my “woe is me” attitude. It was not good. I knew that for where I was headed in my life, I needed to associate with a more positive group of people. It wasn’t easy saying goodbye, but it was so worth it.
Who do you have in your life who brings you down? You may think that you are helping them, and maybe you are the most positive person in their life. However, if after all your efforts the only change you see is you feeling more discouraged, it is time to rip off the band aid. As I said earlier, it won’t be easy, but it is so worth it.
I am huge advocate of paying it forward. As I grow and improve myself, I want to help others grow and improve themselves. I am always looking for opportunities to be a positive influence. It is this drive that can get me into a little trouble. I want to help everyone!!! However, I can only impact so many people. This causes me to be very intentional when it comes to influencing others. I do so by writing. I do so by teaching groups. I do so with one on one time. And, hopefully, I do so by living my life.
You have to be careful here because it can be an excuse to keep negative relationships in your life. I do believe that you should be positively influencing others. We all need someone in our lives that will help us be better. However, you can only impact so many people. Find the ones who really want to change and work with them. How will you find them? It may not be clear at first, but it will become clear over time. Trust me.
What ways have your friends impacted you? What ways have you impacted others?