The phrase, “You are who you spend your time with,” holds a lot of truth.
When we start spending a lot of time with someone, we seem to automatically pick up certain phrases or gestures that the person we’re with uses. That’s because our closest personal relationships not only reflect who we are, but also help to create who we become.
We’ve all experienced this for better or worse. When I was in grade school, my best friend, a girl I’ll call Christy, and I spent almost all of our free time together. We loved each other dearly, and had even developed our own language so we could write notes to each other in class without fear of someone catching wind of the content.
When she started listening to a new band, I immediately bought the band’s entire discography. When I told her of a book I liked, she read it over the weekend so we could talk about it come Monday. We had the same interests, liked the same people, and loathed the same inconveniences. We lived in separate bodies, but we shared the same consciousness—not because we had the same ideas when we met, but because we created new ideas together.
Just before the start of high school, my family moved to a town 45 minutes from where Christy and I grew up. We were still too young to possess driver’s licenses, so our time together dwindled. She started spending time with new friends, many of whom were older and had access to things that had been, up until then, inaccessible to us. She started smoking cigarettes, a habit which she soon passed on to me. I picked up smoking just as quickly. If she did it, I reasoned, it must be the right thing to do. That was just the way things were with us.
Eventually, our friendship faded out completely, and by the time I did get my license, Christy and I didn’t speak at all. Still, I continued to embody most of the habits and ideas that Christy and I developed together. They were just as much a part of me as they were a part of our friendship. People may leave our lives, but the time we spent with them has a lasting effect, one that permeates relationships that come after. We develop new ideas and habits with new friendships, but the foundation stays the same until we make a conscious effort to change it.
When we were children, the people we were closest to were our parents or guardians. As we grew up, our opinions, ideas, beliefs and concerns were generally rooted in the opinions, ideas, beliefs and concerns of those who raised us. They were more or less the same, until we had enough unique experiences to form ideas of our own. Each time we were open-minded enough to form new beliefs about truths we thought we knew, we allowed ourselves to evolve in the sense of personal growth.
Truths are just beliefs we’ve repeated to ourselves over time.
In transforming our negative or neutral truths we previously held because a new, positive belief feels better, we allow our true nature to manifest. In doing so, we move from a state of habitual, conditioned thought into a state of potential of becoming the best versions of ourselves.
Whatever truths we live by are the truths that define our personal relationships. When we act in accordance to our authentic, higher selves—from a place of love rather than driven by ego or fear—we naturally magnetize ourselves to attract people and circumstances that reflect that back to us.
When our attitude toward life is pessimistic, we will see the “bad” qualities in people that subconsciously remind us of our own faults. When our attitude toward life is neutral, others will bore us just as we bore ourselves with the stagnancy of our efforts toward personal development.
When our attitude toward life is optimistic or joyful, however, we will see the best qualities in others, and they will see the best in us. Those whose vibrations don’t match the frequency we’re putting out simply won’t register with us, just as we can’t tune the radio to 101.1 FM and hear a song broadcast on 800 AM.
Everyone has within them the same qualities. We are all strong and weak, courageous and fearful, joyous and sorrowful, loving and spiteful. The personality that we display to the world is simply the embodiment of the focus of our attention. What we focus on grows.
When we feel we are wronged by someone, we must find love inside ourselves to be able to see the humanity in the person who has wronged us. We must realize we have the same potential to hurt them in return—yet, choose not to. In choosing to wish others love and light despite their actions, we are capable of transforming lead into gold. In turn, we elevate and transform ourselves. We are not victims. We are creators.
What (and who) we chase will run away, but what and who we love simply because it feels good will stay in our lives for as long as we allow it. Choose to love and you will be loved.
Author: Ashlee Schultz
Editor: Travis May