It Matters Who You Hang With!
Humans were created for fellowship…with God and each other.
There’s been lots of buzz about “finding your tribe” in the past several years, because we all know who we hang with matters! There’s a high correlation between our own health (mental, spiritual, physical, even financial!) and who we spend our time with. This is because of the influence we have on each other and how susceptible we are to “group think”. Attitudes are contagious and attitude is everything because it reflects our thinking.
If you’re like most people, you have a variety of friend types. Some are your “yes men” (cheerleaders) who will always have your back, and always support your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Others (if you’re lucky enough to have them) will set you straight when you’re off base in these areas, but only if they have a different perspective than yours.
When we’re emotionally “STUCK”, we run to the people who will validate us and our experience. While this makes us feel better in the moment, it’s a huge obstacle to spiritual growth and mental well-being. If I think my circumstance is awful and my friend(s) validate that it’s “awful”, guess how I get to keep feeling? Awful! While I’d rather feel awful with others than alone, I’d rather not feel awful at all! When friends are unable to help you through challenges, it’s usually because what drew you to them in the first place was that on many levels-they think like you. (How many friends do you have with morals, values, beliefs, and lifestyles that are polar-opposite of yours?) This makes it difficult to help you shift out of your current thoughts/feelings/actions.
Few people realize that this cycle of running to friends with our problems is actually a large part of what keeps us stuck in them, and the results we have in our lives.
Who you run to matters.
Because we’re only as stuck as our thinking
…and the thinking of those we run to.
How do we know who we need to get unstuck? How do we decide where to run?
First, stop running. Stop being reactive and instead, be intentional about what you really need. Do you need to vent? Feel heard? Understood? Are you ready to move out of that stuck place yet, or do you need to just allow room for the emotion for a short time? What you need will determine who you go to. The first stop is a given.
God: You’ll never go wrong with this one, my friend. He’s the only living being who is not changed or influenced by circumstances. He isn’t swayed in opinion, doesn’t pick sides due to favoritism, and He never misses parts of the story. In fact, He knows the why, the how, and the ending of what you’re going through. So why in the world would you go anywhere else first? Pour out your thoughts and feelings and then be still and listen. He might even point you to a friend for wise counsel in addition to giving his own.
Friend: If you are blessed enough to have a friend who tells you hard truths and challenges you, this may be a good option. These are the people who are able to validate you without validating your unhealthy thoughts. Just realize that by virtue of your relationship, they’re inherently at risk of joining you in your thinking. Friends have a tendency to “get in the pool” with us when we’re drowning in emotion. They care, so they jump in…to help, rescue, or drown with us. Just because they’re wise and can call us out on our bad thinking doesn’t mean they can’t join us in it as well!
Then there are the friends who openly ask for the diving gear before jumping into the pool with us. We choose these friends when we want to continue believing our thoughts. We want them to justify our thoughts/feelings/actions to exonerate us of responsibility for these three things. But we can’t grow if we don’t change. And we can’t change if our thinking remains the same.
Coach: The coaching relationship is unique. Because a good coach will not get in the pool with you. Instead, we stay on dry land and have tools to help you get out of the pool! We don’t agree with your thoughts or judge them as right or wrong thinking. Instead, we help you evaluate them, show you your blind spots, and hold a safe space for you to find empowerment through responsibility for your life. The greatest gift I get to offer clients is the realization that they have options. I help them see that they can choose how they think, feel and act even in their current circumstance. I help them see that their thoughts are creating their emotions and I help them see how they can reach a result that they want by changing the way they think. This is not the work of Polly-Anna. This is not “fake it til you make it” or feeling happy about everything.
This.is.tough.work. It’s not for everyone. But it is available to everyone.
If you’re sick of feeling “stuck” and struggling with the circumstances of this life, it’s time to give coaching a try. Six weeks will give you the tools you need and time to practice them. Click the button below and schedule a free 45-minute session with me to explore where you’re at and what coaching can do for you. There’s no obligation.