People say it all the time: “Surround yourself with good people.” And, yes, I firmly believe in that.
Many years ago…man alive, that statement makes me sound SO OLD…I might as well have said it more like, “Many moons ago…” in some throaty, old man voice that implies I read all the time and look through a telescope all night.
But, yes, many years ago I was talking with one of my best high school friends a few years after we had graduated. She was still dealing with the same level of drama from one of our old friends from high school…the only difference was that now we were actual adults. Other than that, it was basically the same nonsense.
Every time I would talk to her, she’d have a new story about how that old friend of ours had stabbed her in the back again or tried to turn a situation into my friend’s fault…when it was so obviously not the case.
You know, it was just one of those types of situations where I finally told her it was time to let go and move on without her.
I told my friend that she had to stop wasting her time and energy on trying to please this person in her life who did nothing but make her unhappy, feel bad about herself, and forced her to constantly be walking on eggshells. It was a really unhealthy relationship.
I’m telling you, that was almost 20 years ago, but I still think about it often. That miserable girl was turning my usually super happy, super positive friend into someone who couldn’t stop complaining and stressing over this other “friend”. It was, literally, changing her…for the worse.
There’s a quote out there somewhere claiming that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with.
That’s something I think about a lot because I think it’s really true.
When I sit down and think about who those 5 people are, it first reminds me of one of the greatest things about my life: the 5 people I spend the most time with…by far…are the 5 other people in my family. The only exception to that, and if you ask any of us, it’s not really an “exception” because we all think of her as one of us, is Katrin. The only other person that’s ever become that close to our family that we’ve considered them a “member” of our family, was James Hobart when he lived with us for a few years.
Outside of that, I definitely have people that I’m close to, but since I’m at a stage in my life right now where it’s hard for me to carve out any sort of time outside of my family and training, I find it really hard to “spend a lot of time” with anyone on a regular basis. I don’t think that’s a bad thing…at all…I just think it’s something that I’ve accepted knowing that a time will come when that will all shift.
Having said all of that, I think a lot about who those first few people are who I call on when I do find some free time in a day, who I ask to go out to dinner with Ben and I on our sacred date nights, who I will lean on to keep me company when Ben travels and I get needy and lonely, and who I hit PAUSE in my life for just enough seconds on a crazy hectic day to text and let them know I was thinking about them.
I know that we all subconsciously start turning into the personalities we expose ourselves to on a regular basis. I’ve seen it happen to other people…and, I’ve seen it happen to myself. I’ve seen the change in Ben’s face and demeanor when I start repeating stories that certain people get me tuned into and how distant he grows when I start hanging around people that draw out negativity from my soul.
And, I see how psyched he is when I have spent time with people that are caring, considerate, passionate, optimistic, supportive, positive, motivated, grateful, genuine, humble, open-minded, thirsty to learn and change, smile constantly, make me laugh even when they’re not there anymore, and there for me when he can’t be.
I’m still finding people like this in the world, which I find so encouraging about what my life will be like in 20 years.
What I also know, though, is that interactions with those people aren’t always about unicorns and rainbows. We’re not always laughing hysterically and dancing around to country music.
Those are also the people I feel comfortable with talking to about things I think they should change, people I am genuinely ready to hear criticism from about how I need to get better at something, the only people that I feel comfortable crying really hard around while they hold me and don’t say a word or try to “fix” what’s going on in my head, people that reward my patience with some sort of forward progress, and who…after we let the demons out on each other…bounce back with a gesture reassuring me that we are better after the storm, than we were before.
I do believe it’s about surrounding yourself with good people, but it’s equally about constantly raising the bar for each other about what actually makes good people, good people.