In order to be the best version of yourself, you need to be purposeful of who you choose to surround yourself with. Be conscientious of your spouse, friends and co-workers. You see them all the time and they have a huge impact on you and how you see the world.
Your spouse will be the most impactful single person in your life. Ruben Navarrette had a great quote in a commencement speech in 2013 (when I graduated college). He said
“For those of you who choose, or are able, to get married — and hopefully, one day, all of you will be — who you decide to marry will go a long way toward determining your success. It’s more important than degrees from fancy schools. People can either lift you up, or bring you down. Choose well.”
This is not to say your spouse needs to be the person to make you happy- you are the only person that can truly make you happy. You have to be happy on your own. But your spouse should make you happiER, or at least comfortable in your happiness. If they drag you down, don’t think it will go away if you try to bring them up. You don’t want that constant pushing up while they are pulling down. The pushing and pulling is a balance and you take turns. You should get at least a little bit interested in the activities your spouse likes. You “lift them up” in your activities, and they will “lift you up” in theirs. For example, I really value helping others and volunteering with kids, and my partner can only handle so much. But when he joins me, he knows he made an impact during his time even though it took a lot of effort. He also feels happy knowing that he made me happy. Conversely, my partner really likes gardening and eating healthy, natural fruits and vegetables. Although I see it as work and would rather simply buy organic and be done with it, I know he values the time spent weeding and planting in his garden, so I make it a priority in my life as well.
Your friends will shape your world as you go through puberty and help you become the person you are. As an adult, your friends continue to impact you and help you think of the world through different lenses. Find friends that help you see things differently, but still in a positive way. Your differences will help you try new activities, or foods, you may not otherwise think twice about. My girlfriend got married in Baltimore last year. She is a really close friend, so I couldn’t imagine not being a part of her special day. I really had no interest in visiting Baltimore, but I decided to save the money and make the trip for her. I was (jokingly) told that I wouldn’t be allowed back on the plane home if I didn’t try crab cakes while in the city. They were incredible! My mouth starts watering just thinking about the fresh crab and old bay seasoning. Now when I go to restaurants I actually order crab cakes! Now I understand and appreciate when people say east coast crab cakes are better. I would have no idea to try these things without the influence of my friends!
Your co-workers are definitely another area where you need to know the best version of yourself. Sometimes co-workers challenge you and your ways of thinking. This isn’t always a bad thing. You need to frame your mindset to understand you are both trying to do what you think is best for the company. One co-worker of mine comes off a little rough around the edges. He always questions my decisions and makes me explain my rationale. He may have another opinion, he may play devils’ advocate, but if I want someone to agree with me he is definitely not the person I turn to. However, his argumentative stance helps me really think through my ideas, which helps build a stronger case. He also shows me different perspectives so I can take that into account. If I have to work an idea and get his approval, I am very thoughtful and thorough with my work. Now even when I am not working with him, I know how to use a more thoughtful and thorough approach when needed.
There are also co-workers that turn into friends. Sometimes it’s refreshing to vent and complain and get something off your chest. That is a healthy way of dealing with stress from a work environment- but don’t complain too much in a negative way. Understand that work is stressful, and stress can be a motivator to get things done. I completely understand, sometimes it’s nice to just get that complaining out and then you just feel refreshed and ready to tackle another day! Just don’t dwell on the negative.
Even as an adult you should consider the people you surround yourself with if you want to be the best version of yourself. Your spouse, friends, and co-workers should all be somewhat scrutinized to make sure you keep a positive mindset. There is a saying I heard a long time ago- “if you stand around garbage long enough, you’re bound to step in it.” I’m sure you can think of someone who has negative people around that get dragged down and become negative like them. Don’t be that person. Surround yourself with people that stretch you and make you want to be just a little bit better. You have long life ahead of you, and if you are a little better every day, think of the person you will be and the impact you have made on others after all of those little things. At some point, all the little things add up and you’ll find they are actually the big things.
One “little” way to start is to surround yourself with positive people and join Chicktime this month! We will be painting small totes to hold beach items for the summer. We’ll have a BBQ lunch the afternoon of 5/6. I hope to see you there!