The Power Of The People: How Who You Surround Yourself With Can Affect Your Life

When I was a kid in elementary school, the 1st grade class I was “randomly” placed in was a class full of problem children, and a tough teacher who used creative punishments to straighten them out.

Even though I was always a good student – quiet, followed the rules, did all my homework – I often got lumped in with the bunch, and was subjected to these creative punishments.

I can’t even tell you how many times I marched around the playground with my classmates, watching other students from other classes play, all because about half of my classmates were seemingly incapable of walking in a single file line. So the teacher made us “practice” walking in a straight line during the first several precious minutes of recess. Regularly.

It was defeating. I had absolutely no power over what was happening to me. No matter how good I was, no matter what I did, I wasn’t able to avoid these punishments, and it was all because of the people I was surrounded by.

(By the way, if this isn’t the kind of experience that could lead to the development of anxiety, I don’t know what is).

Back then I didn’t have a choice as to who I was surrounding myself with. They were my classmates. I was forced to do everything with them.

But now I do. We all do. As adults, we have the ability (for the most part) to choose whom we surround ourselves with. The friends we keep. The places we work. The social engagements we participate in, even the places we live.

Do you ever feel like the people you’re surrounding yourself with are having a negative impact on your life? Whether it’s physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually? People have a way of doing that.

When I was in elementary school, my classmates were having a direct impact on my life in a way that I couldn’t control. Now, as an adult, I’ve begun to notice that my coworkers are having an impact on my life as well. Not in the same way that my classmates did way back when, but in a different way.

More often than not, my coworkers affect my attitude and the way I feel. Work doesn’t feel like a safe place for me, sort of in the same way that my first grade classroom didn’t feel like a safe place. And I think it’s important for me to recognize that, and if/when I can, to do something about it. I’ve tried little things here and there. Talking to the right people (which I also did in elementary school. My teacher knew I was good, but that didn’t stop him from punishing me along with everyone else.), trying to stay positive regardless of what’s happening around me, shutting everything/everyone out, and even stooping to the level of those around me. I’ve tried to make it work, but nothing seems to be creating the effect that I’m looking for.

So I need to make a change. And I will.

Do you notice that the people around you are having a negative affect on you or your life? In what ways? Is there anything you can do to change it? How? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

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