When people think of relationships in February, they usually think about intimate relationships–their spouse, significant other, ex-lover. Too often, people don’t examine the relationship you have with yourself. It’s precisely this relationship you have with yourself that dictates and frames the rest of the relationships in your life.
How much do you value yourself? What do you think you deserve? How do you expect to be treated? What will you accept in your life? What do you believe you deserve? All of these answers require you knowing who you are and what your values are. Knowing who you want to be is just as important as knowing who you don’t want to be.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” motivational speaker Jim Rohn once declared. You’ve also surely heard the saying that birds of a feather flock together. Then there’s the thought that one is guilty by association.
There’s something to be said for all of this. We know it’s easy to be influenced by peers. We see it all the time with youth and peer pressure. We never really escape peer or societal pressure, though you can learn to not react to it. But it’s easy to see how those we are closest to influence us.
Yet I reject the notion that who you are is merely an amalgamation of the people you are around the most. Sure, it can happen, but this notion implies a passive existence through life. We know there are plenty of people like this. But who do you want to be? Do you want to be a passive life liver? Do you want to be someone whereupon things happen to you, and you’re tossed around life like a ship in a storm?
To be the person you want to be, to have the relationships in life you want, you need to be an active and purposeful life liver. It’s more important to be mindful of the people you are closest to, rather than who you spend your time with. You don’t need to spend a lot of time with them. It matters more what these people mean to you.
Think about it–the people you’re closest to are people you love and respect. People you look up to. People who you seek approval from–you want them to like and respect you too. People who you seek advice from. People who support you in times of crises. People who can provide a different perspective for you rather than be a Yes friend.
This close tribe–you need to be mindful that each seat is taken by someone who makes you a better person. Someone whose values you agree with and admire. Someone whose disposition is one you’d like to emulate. Someone whose outlook is positive and energetic.
My close tribe–each one of them is kind and has a reservoir of grace. Each one is resilient and has good coping skills. None of my tribe runs away from their problems. They may whimper, but they’re no quitters. They each get up after getting knocked down. They take responsibility for their actions. They hold themselves accountable. They are reliable. They have integrity. They do and say hard things even when it’s uncomfortable. They are loyal and authentic and vulnerable. They don’t judge.
They inspire me. They are my heros. I ask myself all the time, how would my tribe members react to this, or view/interpret this? I act like the person I want to be because I surround myself with people who I want to be like–gracious, brave, kind people who share my values of accountability, reliability, and integrity. Because I know who I am and my relationship with myself is one of love, acceptance, and kindness. I’m able to have relationships in my life that honor me.
You are the sum of the people you are closest to. You are your heros. Be a purposeful life liver. Choose wisely who you pick to hold these roles in your life. Be your hero.