There is discussion these days about the impact that our friends and our lifestyle decisions have on our personal and professional development. New research shows we tend to develop traits of those with whom we spend the most time. Experts say our “Top Five” play a role in our decisions. As the adage goes: ” We are the company we keep.” Often, we don’t have a choice. Our families, for instance. Sometimes we find ourselves alone, or with friends who don’t have our interest at heart but wield influence. Sometimes we may simply be on a crowded bus or airplane for a sustained period. Worse, many of us daily must be part of less-than healthy work environments that offer no opportunity for growth, personally or professionally.
We are not at the mercy of others. We are valuable. Our thoughts are powerful. Daily, we have the opportunity to make choices that validate us. We can dismiss situations in which our personhood is not valued if not physically, then at least mentally. No is not a four-letter word. We can detach from people who consistently invalidate us by constant criticism, lateness, manipulation or misuse of our time. The same for clients or employers who don’t treat us well or compensate us appropriately. When no one else is in the room, or when emotional terrorists seek to destroy us, we are still armed. We have God. We have ourselves.