I don’t know about the popular idea that we’re a reflection of the five people we spend the most time with. It seems a bit simplistic to me. Nonetheless, it’s worth taking a good hard look at why we’re drawn to the people we’re drawn to, and ask ourselves whether we’re ‘using’ those people to reinforce our beliefs about ourselves and the world. When that’s the case, we’re often inadvertently perpetuating the patterns and experiences of our life which we’d most like to change.
I recently interviewed Fabiola Campbell, Founder of Professional Migrant Women. (You can listen to the interview here on 16 August 2021.) Fabiola immigrated to Australia in her early 20’s and rode the rollercoaster that is the immigrant’s journey. When I asked her what advice she’d most like to share with new Australian immigrants, she paused and responded (and I paraphrase) that it’s so very important to find your tribe. Of course you’re going to be drawn to people you can most immediately relate to – expats from your country and people with the same cultural background. That’s natural. But, she said, be brave and broaden your circle. Choose to spend time with people who uplift, rather than those who dwell on difficulties and hardship. Choose to be with people who are aligned with what you want your life to be like.
Our environment has an enormous impact on our state of being, and the company we keep is a part of the environment we create for ourselves. It’s the environment in which we grew up which formed us, our beliefs, perceptions and our self-identity. If we have a certain picture or impression of how we’d like our life to be and yet we’re not aligning our environment to those goals, we simply won’t get there.
I asked a client yesterday whether she’s creating an environment around herself where she can thrive and grow, or whether there are aspects she needs to change. She reflected and responded that there’s one friendship which had been contentious for quite a while. That needed to shift.
It’s not necessarily about cutting people off, and it’s certainly not a matter of blaming others. It’s simply a decision to take responsibility for what we want our lives to belike. In terms of relationships, sometimes new boundaries are needed. Sometimes it’s simply a firm refusal to engage in “poor me” conversations. And yes, sometimes it does mean letting a relationship go. Whatever the case, it can be done with love.
It’s not about the other person. It’s about you and your life. There’s no place for guilt here.
YOUR OWN COMPANY
And finally, what is your own company like? Do you bully yourself or nurture yourself? Do you cheer yourself on or knock yourself down? What do you allow your mind to tell you over and over and over? Would you ever say that to anyone else? Is it aligned with how you want to feel and how you want your life to be? Are you giving yourself every opportunity to shine, however that looks for you?
The company you keep within yourself will also be reflected in the company you invite into your life. Let it be loving and respectful. You deserve that.