We are surrounded by people in every aspect of our lives and others see us as associated with them. Sometimes we have not chosen the people around us, but there are others we do choose.
We are born to parents we have not chosen but usually love. Others recognize, and even admire, our choice to honor them or accord them respect, even if they are not people we'd choose to spend time with if unrelated. We get a "pass" on the fact of common blood lines if our relatives turn out to be shady characters, unless we follow in their footsteps.
I am intrigued by how oblivious we can be
about how much our friends influence the
opinions others hold of us and how very influential
our friends are in our lives. Literally, they can propel
us to become our highest selvesor they
can pull us down to a lower level.
Our work group says something about us, varying with how much we identify with that group. Within any large group, there are some we gravitate toward, some we may avoid. These choices make a difference in how others view us.
Neighbors come with our homes and can be a blessing or a curse - sometimes mixed. Sometimes there is very little contact, sometimes a great deal.
Then there are the people we seek out, purely from choice. These are the people that give others the best view of who we are.
The wiser we are, the more carefully we choose those who fill our discretionary time. These are the people who determine our casual conversations, whether or not we receive wise counsel, how we spend our precious time. Our choice of friends is one of the biggest decisions we make in life.
All we need to do to ratchet our lives upward is to choose the right friends. It's that simple.
As we get older and value our time more and more, we tend to bring the people around us into focus and weigh what they contribute to our lives. I am ever more aware of how I spend my time and with whom I spend it. It is very freeing. It is very important.
I cannot imagine how much less my life would be without my sister Ann, my best friend Elaine Thompson and my other half in my business Nikki Young. These are three women who have played a major role in encouraging me to be the best I can be in my life, do not judge me when I falter and always offer a hand to pull me back up when I fall down. I can stand next to any of these and be judged to be a better person simply because of who they are.
We each have discretionary time and the ability to choose. I have named three with extraordinary influence and there are others. I am blessed with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who enrich my life.
We all make choices. They matter.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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