Protecting yourself in terms of your success is largely determined not only by your thoughts and emotions, but also by people you choose to surround yourself with. In fact, there is a strong connection between all three of these. Have you ever noticed that you tend to attract certain types of people into your life when you feel happy or sad? Short-term or long-term relationships based on how you perceive yourself at that time?
Not only does surrounding yourself with the right people matter toward your overall confidence and self-esteem, but these same people can actually impact your overall ability to make good decisions, which could probably lead to successful outcomes.
In my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, I draw attention to the concept of building strong personal relationships based on similar core values. There is a reason why we categorize others in our lives as loved ones, friends or acquaintances. Don’t get me wrong, all of these people serve a very specific purpose in our lives (which I discuss in more detail in the book), but you really need to learn how to differentiate and cultivate the right relationships from an early age, while at the same time quickly recognize and distance yourself from the bad ones. I call this life lesson protecting the castle, or one’s ability to protect oneself from those individuals that can negatively impact you.
Negative relationships often cause us to emotionally shutdown. As a result, we tend to draw all of our conclusions and decisions based on our thoughts only as opposed to including our emotions or how we feel about things. Young children often grow up and lose their ability to “feel” things instinctively. As young adults, they then tend to get in their own way and excuse or ignore their feelings for less rational thoughts. I liken this dilemma to a bigger concept I call the “why” versus the “how”, which I discuss in earlier blogs.
Unfortunately, most adults lose the ability to trust their own instincts (e.g. feelings). They tend to rely more on their own thoughts and get deeper into their own heads. As a result, they begin projecting or forecasting outcomes or responses based on what they perceive others might think. These thoughts are often never grounded in any form of reality, sort of like anticipating a fire when there really isn’t any smoke. This type of unhealthy programmed thinking often leads to fear or, even worse, self-fulfilling prophecies (e.g. outcomes).
To help others get back in touch with their own instincts and emotions, I often recommend the following exercise to help get them out of their own way, or more specifically, out of their own heads. This exercise should be repeated daily for 45 consecutive days.
During each session, choose a quiet, uninterrupted place where you can sit down and reflect upon your own feelings for as long as it takes. This is “not” a thinking exercise. This is all about re-acquainting yourself with long-lost feelings, while also re-engaging and trusting your own instincts (e.g. raw emotions), especially whenever you contemplate making decisions or allow others to draw upon your personal energy and space.
Reflect and handwrite these 5 different emotions you are currently feeling at that time in a notebook. Do NOT over think this exercise. Just simply write down the first five emotions that immediately come to mind. For example, “I feel happy today because ………………”
Take your time and write out each of these five separate emotions (good, bad, etc.). Then briefly describe why you are feeling that way. The purpose of the exercise is to really help you get back in touch with how and why you are feeling a certain way before you endeavor to make any type of decision or, even worse, project a potential outcome based on any future conversations, encounters or confrontations with other people that haven’t happened yet. Unfounded projections are merely fears with no basis.
Fear is often the number one cause of failure that prevents you from achieving your desired success and outcomes.
To quote the Chinese Taoist Philosopher, Lao Tzu: “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
In the future, before you choose to attract or surround yourself with others, ask yourself one simple question, “What value does this person bring to my life?” In other words, does this person support your relationships? Does this person support your goals? Does he or she provide you with any emotional support and/or friendship, or does this person simply drain your energy like an emotional vampire?
Letting go is not the same as giving up; it’s okay to let people go as you enter into this New Year. I suggest that you at least consider re-categorizing each person’s status (acquaintance, friend or loved one).
Surround yourself in 2013 with the people that will definitely provide you with mutually beneficial energy and the ones who will continue to grow your success.