“You are a product of your environment,” is a commonly used statement.
But do you also believe that you are a product of those who you surround yourself with (as a singular component outside of your wider environment)?
Do you believe that the people that surround you can influence and sometimes dictate your thoughts, mindsets, actions, behaviours and more?
When I was younger, I believed that I could be friends with anyone and would not be not heavily influenced by them because they would do things that I did not and would never do.
But as I grew older, I realised just how naive and untrue that was. I understood and interpreted that question in a completely different way. I believe that whoever we surround ourselves with, will and definitely do have an impact on our lives.
This can be both positive and problematic. Our inner and outer circles can either push us towards our goals or distance us from them, distracting us from our purpose and nurturing our God-given gifts. Does your circle do the former or the latter?
Someone once told me “if you surround yourself with 9 broke people you’ll be the 10th broke person.” Even if you replace the word ‘broke’ with any other adjective that statement will still hold true and should definitely resonate with you.
In order to be the person you are striving to become you have to surround yourself with people who are going to help you get there but you should also be able to add value to their lives. If I want to be firm in my faith then I need to surround myself with more faith-led people. If I want to an expert in my field, then I need to surround myself with people who are in the same field as me who are on their way to becoming or are already experts (e.g. a mentor). I believe that we should never stop learning and if your inner and outer circles aren’t providing you with opportunities to do so then maybe you should consider stepping outside of them.
I’m not telling you to cut off your current friends nor cease contact. I’m just suggesting that you should evaluate those who are around you.
Some people are for a season and for a reason. So, don’t be upset if the time comes where you drift apart from people that you were once close to. As a Christian I believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason, whether it’s only for a brief time or for a lifetime, there are always lessons to be learnt. Everyone has a purpose.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Are my friends pushing me to be a better person?
Am I pushing them to be a better person?
Are my friends motivating me and praying for me?
Am I doing the same for them?
Are my friends checking in on me and my mental state? (adulthood is hard!)
Am I checking in on them?
Remember that a friendship works both ways. Don’t be quick to complain about someone without first reflecting on your own behaviour and attitude towards them. Make sure that you can add value and are not only seeking for value to be added to you.
Who you surround yourself with can literally make or break you, so it is extremely important to get it right.
You are a product of your environment including those who you surround yourself with. So sit down and ask yourself one final question…
“Who am I surrounded by?”