Ahhh … I probably know what you’re thinking … friends are great and helpful and supportive. Yes, that is nice, isn’t it?! But that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m referring to is the influence that people have on you when you associate closely with them. The Bible says:
“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?”
We’ve all heard the old adage about one bad apple spoiling the whole bunch. Many people feel like they can “help” the negative people around them become better more positive people. This seldom pans out, by the way.
These people, known as “Rescuers” are the people who know they’re hanging out with a bad crowd but they want to “bring everyone up around them”. It is a truly noble thought, but that’s rarely the way it works out in real life. Try as you might, you are statistically more likely to lower your standards, than the group is to raise theirs to meet yours. Don’t waste your time with these people. You will invest huge amounts of energy trying to change them and it will never come to fruition. You will be the person who suffers and loses sight of their goals.
Total common sense! You can’t walk with someone without both being headed in the same direction! So, that means if you have serious fitness and health goals, you will be best served by hanging out with people who have similar goals. You will uplift each other, and not tempt each other with foods and activities that don’t support your goals.
“Be careful the environment you choose, for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose, for you will become like them.” W. Clement Stone
Then there are the “well-meaning” friends. This is a tough situation because these people often don’t mean any harm. They think they have your best interests at heart, however, in the process, they are unwittingly undermining your fitness efforts. These are the people encouraging you to “just have one bite”, or “I made this dip for you!”, or how about my favorites … “it’s healthy” or “it’s just fruit”!!!
All these things are great, but if they are not accounted for in your diet plan for the day, these are the things that can begin to derail a perfectly good plan. So, once again, while these folks have good intentions at heart, they just don’t understand exactly what it is that you’re doing and how much it really takes to get there. So, these people are much harder to deal with because they are kind hearted, generous and loving. Not the end of the world, just not helping you move forward toward your goals.
Even worse, are the “non-supportive” friends and family. These are the ones who are either outright jealous or underhandedly negative. They also may simply be unsupportive by not BEING supportive. For example, they may NEVER congratulate you on your fitness accomplishments. They may comment on how you were “fine before” at your prior heavier weight. Even though you, yourself, were completely unhappy with your physique before, and are now happy and proud of your accomplishments, your unsupportive “friends” will not be on the celebratory bandwagon with you. The lack of support and the lack of acknowledgement is their passive-aggressive way of giving you a disapproving scowl. They often sit there stone-faced while other people exclaim how great you look and celebrate all your hard work. You may or may not be able to get away from these people on a permanent basis, but if you can, you should. Try to phase them out of your daily life if possible because the underlying negativity, voiced or not, will eventually rub off on you.
Instead, try to surround yourself with people who have the same or similar values as you do. Have friends who are proud of you and genuinely happy for you when good things happen in your life. You tend to mimic and pick up the habits of those you spend the most time with. It’s all about focus and immersing yourself in positivity.
Most importantly, remember to BE a great and supportive friend as well. “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you” … be supportive, be congratulatory, be happy for the success of your friends. It’s not a competition with them or anyone else. You are only competing with yourself! Someone else’s success will not in any way overshadow yours, as long as you focus on continuously improving yourself and helping others. Just be the best you can be and help and support others in being the best they can be also.
Remember, as my mothers always says… to have a great friend, you have to be a great friend!!