Importance of Your Support System
by Teresia Smith
When we think of building a good life, the first thing that comes to mind is the other people involved. The people we surround ourselves with are the biggest influencers of our behavior, attitudes and outcomes. Who you choose to be around can set the course of your life. What they think, say and do becomes what you think, say and do.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn sums it up this way: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Wow. That is something we all need to be aware of. The people you spend the most time with shape the person you are. They determine what conversations capture your attention. They affect the attitudes and behaviors to which you are regularly exposed. Eventually you start to think like they think and behave like they behave. Older people say it this way, “If you lay down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.” According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, [the people you habitually associate with] determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life. That’s massive. And it has significant consequences. You may have big hopes and dreams for your future; however, you may have to get out of the environment you are in to see your dreams come true.
You will have some people in your life that will hold you back, but you may have others who will push you forward. For instance, you can’t hang out with negative people and expect to have a positive life. You need people in your life that will hold you to a high standard and challenge you to succeed.
So how do we make sure our lives are filled with the right people? The lesson here is to intentionally build your support systems with the right people. Don’t let it depend on chance or because that’s how it has always been, but consciously plan which opinions, attitudes and values you do and do not allow to be in your life. And cut out those that don’t help build the life you envision for yourself.
Since we know that we become like the people that we spend time with, it follows to think that you should spend time with people who already are who you want to become. You can see and adopt behaviors and attitudes that helped them achieve their success, making it more likely that you will realize similar results in your life. So start by asking yourself who you spend the most time with, who are some people you admire and hope to emulate, and are those two groups the same? Having good, healthy boundaries will help you stay focused on your life and not get drawn into others’ drama.
If you are rebuilding your life after escaping intimate partner abuse or experiencing sexual assault, we offer crisis counseling, support groups, court advocacy and more. You may reach our Jackson County office at 256.574.5826 or our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000. We are a safe, confidential place for you.