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Embracing Authenticity: Finding People Who Bring Out Your Best

Hello loves!


This week we're jumping into part two of Embracing Authenticity: Finding the Right People.


We've all heard the saying 'you are a combination of the five closest people in your life'. It's certainly a true one, whether we accept it or not. If you have your doubts, just think back to when you were in Pre-K with your best friend-- You know, the one everyone said was basically your twin in everything except maybe appearance?


It seems like you can always tell who's besties with whom in groups of little kids. Matching haircuts, interlocking friendship necklaces, the same (or very similar) outfits, and the almost creepily in-sync phrases are pretty overt indicators.


The same happens with siblings. Try as they might, the older sibling just can't get the younger one to stop following them around like a shadow as they "borrow stuff without asking" or obnoxiously copy the older sibling's every word, even if they don't understand them (sorry Sam).


While some kids do this to an annoying degree (again, as a younger sibling I apologize), they do it because their sibling is one of their core five people. As little kids, whether it was with best friends, siblings, or other people who played a major role in our upbringing, we imitated the people who surrounded us.


Why? Well because as little kids we didn't know anything. We were figuring out what life even was at the same time we were starting to develop our personalities. Instead of trying to do it on our own, we looked at the people close to us and emulated what we saw.


It's easy to pretend that this behavior stopped once we reached adulthood, but the fact is we still reflect the people closest to us.


I think the constant use of "Omg I'm turning into my mother" or similar phrases in sitcoms says it all.


But, aside from giving a twenty or thirty-something TV protagonist an existential crisis, the fact we're so heavily influenced by the people around us even as adults is hugely important.


When we spend a lot of time with the same people, we subconsciously pick up their mannerisms, slang, and, yes, even mindset. At times this is wonderful and can be seen in strong friend groups or families that seem to radiate joy, love, and positivity. The right people will strengthen you, pour into the parts of you that need some growing, and you in turn will strengthen them, Proverbs 27 style.


"Iron sharpens Iron, so one person sharpens another."


A strong genuine person will challenge you to be strong and genuine as well. But a miserable, fake person?


Well, they say misery loves company for a reason.


When you are striving for a more authentic life, one where you can be your true self and focus on growth, the people around you will heavily impact your journey-- for better or worse. If you want to feel comfortable in who you are, it won't be easy if you surround yourself with two-faced people who are constantly talking sh*t about others. You'll be too worried about what they might say about you behind your back to let your guard down.


Likewise, if you want to find a crowd that will challenge you to become better and lovingly point out areas you need to work on, then you probably shouldn't seek out single-sided friendships. You know, the ones where the other person is constantly telling you all about their day and their life and their problems (even if it's the same one for five weeks straight), but won't let you get a single word in about your own life or interests? A "friend" that treats you like a mere spectator isn't exactly someone that will help you grow.


Obviously, this isn't an excuse to be rude or unkind to people. Usually, the people who don't treat their friends all that well are struggling with some area in their life. Fear, stress, and the need to overcompensate brings out the worst in all of us. So continue to show love and kindness, but never at the expense of your own wellbeing.


There's nothing wrong with having many acquantices or outer circle friends. I think surrounding ourselves with people different than us-- with different personalities, backgrounds, beliefs, etc-- can widen our worldview in the best way possible. It's important to pop our bubble every now and then, and step outside ourselves.


I believe that every person that comes into our lives, comes for a reason. Some are for a short while, and others stay with us for years. Every human being is deserving of love, kindness, and grace.


But not every human being has to be part of your inner circle.


At the end of the day, it's the people who always make you feel treasured that count. The ones who, every time you think of them or see their name, you smile. The people you could call in the middle of the night, and they would answer.


Our inner circle can change as we age and go through different phases, and that's alright. Some leave and come back, while others go their own way. But the impact they had on you will never truly fade.


So think of the people who care about you. The ones who bring out your best, healthily challenge you, and make you feel safe. Those are the people who should be the top five most influential figures in your life.


And as you go into 2024, with new personal growth goals and strive to live intentionally, trust that these people will support you along the way. Because next week we'll be talking about Vulnerability, and the only way to do that comfortably and safely is by having people you trust in your life.


Love y'all and Happy New Year!


"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11







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