I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the many harsh yet valuable lessons I’ve learned over the course of my years on this big swirling green and blue rock called Earth. One specific lesson that has come to mind lately has been the importance of the people you choose to hang around with, and the importance that they are quality humans.
I mean, in my wise old age of 17 and three quarters I’m pretty much a life expert by now, right? I never make ANY mistakes. Whew- just at the top of my game. (I sure hope you get sarcasm).
But, in all honesty, I don’t think anyone is an “expert” on life from the get-go. You learn as you live, from experience, from happiness, from struggle, from basically everything you go through. You just grow, (if you’re open to growing). And, most importantly, if a lesson you’ve learned could help someone out, don’t hesitate to pass it along the line!
What has become so much clearer to me over the years, is what a HUGE roll the people in our everyday life play. Yes, that’s right! Your parents, your friends, your teachers, that weird mailman that gives you your Kohls coupons in the mail… they all matter. A lot more than we usually recognize.
I have heard once that you become most like the five people closest to you. Whether that be mannerisms, habits, speech, attitude, worldview, positivity..you name it. It may be a saying that holds no real scientific research or discovery, but I have noticed how much it rings true to life.
It’s not an instant change. Usually, it’s not a conscious change. either. It’s a gradual thing, that makes you look back and think to yourself, “Woah. I’m kinda different.” Essentially, what it boils down to is a little word called growth. As humans we are always soaking in what’s around us. You’ve heard how kids are “sponges” because of that very reason. I have the firm belief that we never grow out of the “sponge” stage. Everything we choose to take part in, the people we choose as our friends, the family we have, the movies we watch, the music we listen to ALL affect us as humans, whether we realize it or not.
It can either be growth into a well-rounded person, a productive citizen, a wise individual..Or it could be growth backwards, in areas that are destructive. That’s why we have to choose carefully, and guard ourselves from this. We have to remember who we are.
I had a friend. Let’s call them “Vince”… and Vince was a friend from childhood. I’ve always known Vince, always loved them like family. Vince and I were super tight. Vince was motivated, fun, and had lots of potential for the future, but kind of had the tendency to follow the crowd. Well, Vince started hanging out with some people that weren’t the best. And the changes started, little by little. First, Vince started swearing more (no judgement to anyone who swears…This just really wasn’t at all like Vince). And I think “Ok. That’s kind of weird and unexpected of them.” Then the other seemingly little things started to change, too. The movies and the shows and the music they listen to change. Then, the wild behavior started (recorded on social media, to make things worse) and I got worried (May I also add we are also teenagers). I told them lovingly, what’s going on, Vince? This isn’t like you. Are you okay? Vince said they were fine. Things go on, and eventually I confront Vince in the continued behavior that was happening, in a loving but firm way.
But Vince, instead of seeing the concern and the love of a friend, took everyone’s concern as judgement, clinging even closer to the other friends that were fostering this destructive behavior.
This was over the course of one year. It was a complete 180 from the “Vince” I knew all my life.
We need to be careful. This is a great illustration to hold tight to, to remind you just how important it is for you to choose those who will lift you up, to spend your life around. You need good friends, ones who aren’t just there for the next drink, but who are there for the ups and downs. Who aren’t afraid to tell you how things are, who will hold you accountable, and will love you through your struggle.
Although, there are other aspects to what I’m speaking of. It may not be that the people around you are leading you in the wrong direction, like Vince’s friends. It may be that the people around you are sources of negativity to you. Either way, this is harmful.
It’s harder if people that you have no choice but to be around are the ones dragging you down. None of us here on this earth get to choose our families. I was blessed for the most part with very supportive and loving parents, but not everyone is.
In those situations where the people around you feel like a rain cloud over your sunny day, try your best to guard yourself from the negativity. Don’t let it seep into your perspective. Do your best to be a light in their lives, and don’t let that pessimistic mentality sink into your thinking. I’m a very empathetic and feeling person, so I have to be careful about taking someone else’s problem and treating them as my own. I often do that with my friends or my family until the problems become a burden on myself. It’s good I care about people. BUT- there needs to be a limit to the caring. I can give advice, I can talk with them about things, but it’s up to them to make a change. That’s important for you all to remind yourself as well.
Be careful in choosing who has the privilege of knowing you, or who will have any influence in your growth as a person- positive or negative. You need people that want to see you succeed in life, and be the best person that you can be.
So, there. That’s my little spiel for the day. I feel that this is something not reflected on enough by today’s youth, or by anyone else, for that matter.
And if you’re the one that needs to do the changing, the one that is the gray cloud, or the one that seems to be going a little out of control…Be intentional in change. Realize your weakness, and make an effort for the better. It takes time, and it takes work to change for the better, but it is never impossible. The people that say “People don’t change” don’t truly know people. We all need to strive toward happiness, instead of feeling the victim of an unchanging circumstance.
P.S. I so love that I’m back on the roll of blogging, and will post some more later in the week. I think my next post will just be something fun, giving a shout out to all the awesome unrecognized songs that I jam to daily. You may not know this, but music is a huge part of me. (I kinda love it).
Thanks for reading! I want you guys to know that sometimes the topics I write, I am often preaching it to myself, as well, to remind myself of the truth. Keep learning, keep growing.