“You lie down with dogs and you get up with fleas.”
Such an intense graphic offered by my southern grandmother portrayed a perfect message. Be around the wrong crowd and you’ll start behaving like the wrong crowd – and get all the bad stuff that comes along it. However, now that I know better, the converse can be true as well.
In my earlier years… Okay, I’m not old, but I’m old enough to know better. I tended to be around people with similar interests, focus and what not. I’m not saying it was a bad thing to do. It’s been important for many different levels of comfort and support. When I was going through chemotherapy, it helped to talk to cancer survivors so that I would know that I could survive the dreaded disease, too.
But, what’s good to you may not be good for you. At this current stage of my life, I look for more than the ‘comfort’ aspect of that statement. Now, I’m looking for people who challenge me to think differently about myself. I actively seek out those who have done things differently, had different life experiences, and aren’t afraid to change themselves.
Change is the biggest factor. Without change, we don’t grow. We don’t challenge ourselves to think higher than our situation. All we do is stay the same with none of the rewards that come with the risk of opening ourselves to new scenarios. If you are happy with being the only you that you know, “ROCK ON!” I need something different. When it boils down to it, most people want the same basic things. To love, be loved, food, shelter and clothing. Now, the lengths we’ll go to to obtain those things are different and shaped by our past, our present, and what we desire in our future.
I had to think to myself, “But, what if I truly let go of my past — all the thoughts that go into my self preservation. What if I eliminate the fears and insecurities that make me a prisoner in my mind?” I can tell you it’s been scary. Being around people who don’t think or perhaps process life and all it holds the same way I do. Do I fear being hurt? Yes. Have I been hurt? Yes. Do I want to withdraw into my old self? Yes. Have I grown as a person, though. Absolutely! Am I happier! For sure!
Life is a continuos process of building up and tearing down – much like working one’s muscles. How do I know how to love and give love unless I just plain old start doing it? How do I know what someone is thinking unless I ask? How do I know how to do something new, unless I seek out someone who knows how? (I mean other than YouTube. Have a human interaction for the love of all things holy!) Not to be all “We Are The World,” but I wonder how much sweeter life would be if we all just ventured outside our norms to really understand one another and be willing to grow. I suppose then that you would need to know what to grow toward. Who says what is good change? But, that’s another discussion…
I know this post is rather esoteric. But, I have all these quotes on one of my Pinterest boards, and as I go through them, I want to make sure that they are real to me. More like the fabric of who I am, rather than just who I want to be. I’m tired of taking on things in life because they are nice-to-haves. Everything – people, places, and things – need to help make me be the best me I can be.
How are you with people who bring out the best in you?