Sunday, December 9, 2012
"Surround Yourself With Who You Want To Be"
I have this poster hanging in my classroom at school, and I discuss this with all of my students when I'm giving one of my weekly "life lessons." What an important thought for young people...
As I was talking about it last week though, I realized that it is EQUALLY as important of a concept (if not more) for us as adults.
It's so easy to get into a habit of doing what you've always done and being who you've always been. That's comfortable. It's easy. It doesn't take any "stretching" or growing or stepping out of your comfort zone. And if you're okay with your life exactly as it is, then that's fine. Keep doing what you've always done.
But I know I want to be BETTER. I want to be a better version of myself and improve in SO many areas because my hubby, my family, my friends, my students, my co-workers, my children, and my God deserve the BEST I have to offer. And one awesome way to make personal growth a reality (besides reading, which is so important) is to surround yourself with others who are a positive influence; who will push you to be a better version of yourself, even if they are just leading by example. Surround yourself with who you want to be. (Obviously I don't mean that you want someone else's life...or should compare. Jealousy and comparison are bad news. But it is okay to admire and respect others for some of their personal qualities, characters, skills, etc., and to want to possess those in your own life because you know it will benefit you and others.)
I always point out to my students that they probably dress like, act like, and talk like their best friends- even if it's not intentional. Most people become like those with whom they spend the most time, which is why our parents always urged us to choose our friends wisely. They knew what a major influence our friends were going to have on how we turned out, even if we thought we were "so independent" and "totally our own person." I can remember my mom always telling me to be sure my friends were taking more of my personality and attitude than I was taking from them. (I had a little rebellious phase, but for the most part I was a pretty decent teenager- partly because I had good friends.) The truth is, all of the important people in our lives have helped shape us into the people we are, whether we realize it or not. And that doesn't stop once we hit adulthood.
If I hang out with people who gossip, I gossip. If I hang out with people who overeat, I overeat. If I hang out with people who spend too much, I spend too much.
I wish I could say I was above that...above that influence. But I'm not. And that's why I'm a "work in progress" and striving to improve the person I am.
So here's what I'm learning. Since I'm going to be "taking" some of others and they are having a part in shaping me, I need to really choose wisely.
**If you want to have a stronger walk, hang out with people who are solid in their faith and have a strong walk.
**If you want to be more fit, hang out with people who are conscious about their health and make good decisions regarding nutrition and exercise.
**If you want to be a better wife, mother, or friend, hang out with people you think excel in those areas.
**If you want to be a better steward of your finances, hang out with people who are making financially savvy choices. (I've always heard your salary is typically an average of the 5 people with who you spend the majority of your time.)
**If you have specific goals goals, find people with similar goals or who have already accomplished something similar.
Most people are more than willing to share how they got to where they are, what shaped them, and how they became successful. We just have to have the boldness and courage to ask, the wisdom to listen and learn, and the confidence and discipline to pursue it ourselves.
When I was engaged, I started watching other women who I felt like were awesome wives so I could duplicate that. When I first became a teacher, I learned from the things that my mentor was doing because she is an incredible teacher and the students love her dearly. When I decided I wanted to run a marathon, I started training with one of my friends who is a PHENOMENAL runner. The more you think about it, the more you will recognize the concept of the quote on that poster is absolute TRUTH and common sense.
There is wisdom in learning from others. We just have to choose those "others" wisely.
If someone is not adding value to your life, I'm not saying to cut them out completely....but it may be worth re-evaluating and considering if they're helping you become who you want to be. If not, and you do not like the influence they have on you, it may be time to do some pruning.