We all need each other, humans are social creatures by nature.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” is a quote by Jim Rohn, who was a successful author and entrepreneur. Although I only recently learned who had come up with these words, I have heard many say this over the years. When you step back and look at your social circle, family, coworkers, or any other human beings you associate with, you will come to find that they resemble a lot of who you are as you do them. Each and every one of us has a little piece of everyone we know in our personality. With this being said, Those who we are closest to have the greatest influence on us.
I have lived in the country my whole life, surrounded by woods. As a child, I spent a great deal of time at home, only interacting with non-family members at school or school activities. This meant that a huge part of my personality developed from my parents and brother. Even though we get on each others nerves quite a lot, I am very grateful for my family, and consequently who I have become. I remember when I was 11-12 that my dad told me that as I got older, I would dislike and “rebel” against a lot of what my parents told me. Although I used to be a pretty disagreeable person by nature, I have kept this in mind, and have always tried to maintain a healthy relationship with my parents, as well as my peers and classmates. Of course, this came with some downfalls as well.
Having Aspergers, I have had a very hard time picking up social cues and interpreting the meaning of what people said. I saw just about everything as black and white, leaving no gray area or room for subjective interpretation. Although I have gotten a lot better at socializing and seeing the meaning behind peoples words vs. what I took them as I still have a difficult time doing this. Over the years, I have come to learn that I am an introvert, and need periods of alone time each day for self-reflection. I had a lot of short-lived friendships, and although now I have some very close friends, they are few. I like it this way, and from my perspective, a few close ones are better than a dozen shallow friendships.
Looking back on grades K-12, I am happy and thankful for how I turned out. At the time I hated almost every second of it, but I have embarked on a path that I would not be on had I been the quarterback of the football team or had a lot of friends growing up.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Growing up, we all have a spectrum of emotions that are very extreme on all ends. We are utterly surprised the first day we play with other children and learn that yes, they like toys and crayons and slides too. We shocked and possibly terrified when one of us gets pushed down or their juice is taken at lunch. From the very beginning, a system of hierarchy forms, and I was not on the top of that hierarchy. I was raised to be polite and respectful, and although I had a hard time keeping my comments to myself, I rarely made fun of or hurt other students. Although I was mostly a good child, I also didn’t stand up for myself. I saw two moods: nice, happy and smiling, or mad, yelling and possibly physical contact. This combined with the partial isolation at home, I did not make many friends.
Like I said earlier, I am happy and grateful for how my life turned out- I wouldn’t change a moment of it. Had I played the second year of mighty mite football, I most likely would have been the quarterback as coach offered. Taking this role would have changed my life dramatically, and I feel that my “fear” of having this responsibility was, in fact, a guidance directing me toward the path I am on now. I may have gained many friends and become quite popular if I was successful at it, but my life would not be as out of the ordinary as it is now. Thank you, Universe, for not making me a jock.
Although many mainstream interests are not something I partake in, I feel that if we are to understand a perspective whether it be individually or culturally, we have to spend a great deal of time looking through the eyes of said perspective. Later on, I will write about relationships and what I’ve learned from them, as well as how to keep them going since I have had quite a few failed ones. I noticed that every time I was in a relationship, I wholeheartedly told them everything, and deserted the few friends I was starting to make. Looking back on this poor decision-making, I was looking for someone to spill everything to, as I avoided journaling, male friends rarely talked about emotions, and the advice my parents gave me either rarely helped, or I did not implement it correctly. Needless to say, the five people I spent the most time with varied from day to day. I was drifting and no place felt like home.
Find your accountability partner and help them grow with you.
After several failed relationships, many friendships that ended after a few weeks or months, a few college semesters, and trips across the country and globe, I have found the circle of people who I blend well with. I have learned that while in some areas of life I was very immature, (such as waiting for my turn to speak, listening, and keeping “upsets” from being “disasters”) I am very mature in ways that most my age do not understand for several years. This has been both a blessing and a curse. Curse, because I felt as though the world were on fire because no one seemed to like me. A blessing because I was simply trying to befriend the wrong people. My biggest issue I would say was trying to impress people, trying to be someone else in order for others to like me. Big no-no Chris.
Over the past couple of years, my life has changed dramatically. Although going to parties and developing a group of friends that were not actually much of good friends at all, I learned a lot about myself. Most importantly, I discovered that I need to make myself happy and be content with who I am before I try to please anyone else. I also found several accountability partners, one of which is my soulmate. This is a big statement to make, but whenever I begin to doubt these words, I think of my life without her, and my gut starts to churn. Not from losing her, but from the person Jodie has helped me become. Knowing you have found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is something felt in all parts of your body, and you may not realize it at first. Dating your best friend and all that comes with is a whole other topic, but It has made an enormous impact on my life.
Another aspect of being more mature is making friends with older people. I have never been able to relate to most guys my age, talking about sports, cars, video games, etc. I always found myself making friends with guys older than myself, instead of talking about worldly issues, finances, what it means to be human, and learning about their lives when they were my age. Trying to talk about the origins of the universe with guys my age only got me weird stares and laughed at. This further developed my self-doubt. When that turned around, it developed my passion for learning more about our species and the nature of interconnectedness between every living thing and our beautiful planet.
Several of my accountability partners are much older than me, by a decade or more. One of them is Lee, who I met almost 2 years ago as he was riding his covered wagon through my hometown. The other is Robert, who I met at college in horticulture class, who is an army veteran and an avid lover of nature as well. These two men along with Jodie have helped me learn a great deal about myself, and what it means to be a kind as well as a strong person. Although I have older friends, I have a few my age, who have some deeper interests as I do. Having an accountability partner means that someone is going to ask you periodically how you are doing with your goals, making sure you aren’t slacking off or giving up. This can be tough love sometimes, but it is absolutely necessary and worth it.
None of us ever got anywhere without a few mentors.
The biggest mentors in my life have been my parents. While there have been many nights where in tears, arguments, fights, and all of us being stubborn, I hold no resentment for the people who have provided a home and food for my brother and I. I have disagreed with a lot of what my parents have told me, and had I swallowed my ego and gotten a tutor when they told me to, I might not have had such a hard time with math. I also might have become a math genius, I never would’ve met the people mentioned above, and this website may have never existed. I am a huge believer that everything happens for a reason, even if we never find out why.
There is a theory, and I have either read about it, or learned about it while meditating, but it goes like this. Everything outside of our singular perspective is a projection from the center of our soul. Every person, place, and thing that isn’t us is a direct reflection of what is going on inside of us. This goes for everyone, meaning that each of us is a reflection of what everyone else is doing. I will go more in-depth with this in a later article, but for now, try to imagine something.
Every person that you follow or listen to, every situation you have encountered and experienced is exactly what your higher self, your soul has set up for you. All of the influential people I have mentioned in other writings could have taken the path they did just so they could speak to the people they do, and how they influence me decides who I am, (based on how I interpret that information) and thus my actions happen specifically to influence those who I touch. This, of course, all could be speculation, but who can prove it right or wrong? 🙂
With this little side note above in mind, it is important to remember that you have people guiding you. They can be people you know personally, such as a teacher, parent, coach, or older friend, or someone you have never met before, someone you follow on Youtube, their books or blogs. Wherever you go and whatever you do in life, it is imperative that you surround yourself with people who build you up and support what you believe in. They may not agree with everything, but they have confidence that you will be happy with what you are doing. Along with that, having a following of people, such as you reading this, help build confidence in me so that even on my off days, I still pursue my goals and dreams.
If you would like to know where this blog took off and the wonderful community that has supported my writing and ideas, click here!
Thank you for reading, if you have any questions or would like to share stories about your circle and how they support you, or how your story developed, feel free to leave it below!
Have a wonderful day!