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Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher. ~Oprah

This is one of my favorite quotes. And one that I have really had to learn the importance of as I’ve gotten older, especially in light of dealing with chronic illness.

When I was younger, I had energy to spare, excitement for all things, and wanted to hang out with all sorts of people. I was finding my way, finding my footing in the “real” world. You could say that I was trying on a lot of people for size. I was not intently tuned into how certain people made me feel (i.e. drained or inspired). I think that is a skill that comes with age.

Over the last year, however, I have had to become very conscientious of who I surround myself with and who I associate with. Not in a snotty, conceited way, but as a method of self-preservation. I only have so much time, energy, and bandwidth to give to the world every day so I want to make sure those precious resources are being utilized in the best way possible.

I want to lift people higher, and that is one of the main goals of this site and my coaching practice site. But I also know that we also deserve to receive so I want to surround myself with people who also lift me higher. It’s a two-way street…

Recently, I was thinking about all of this and the words just started flowing out. One thing that is not often addressed for most people is the importance of focusing on your emotional, spiritual, and mental health as it relates to chronic illness. This is an area that I am insanely passionate about because learning how much those areas impacted my physical capability of healing was life-changing for me. I hope it is for you too. <3

The Importance of Surrounding Yourself with the Right People

Remember when our parents used to tell us, “You are who you hang out with“? Well, turns out they were right!

If you hang out with troublemakers, you’re likely going to get in trouble. If you hang out with “Debbie Downers,” you’re likely going to feel down about your life. If you hang out with people who lift you up and inspire you, you will likely feel inspired to lift others up and inspire them.

One thing that has become apparent over the last couple years is the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. This applies to all aspect of your life, from your profession to your relationships to your children to your health.

When I was younger, I didn’t really pay close attention to this, but as I’ve gotten older I have begun to be really careful about who I interact with. While I may have lots of acquaintances that I chit-chat with somewhat superficially, I choose to let only select people into my heart, soul, dreams, and aspirations.

I do this not to sound arrogant or snotty, but because I have learned how important it is to be protective of my energy, as well as my hopes and dreams. Not everyone you meet is going to be supportive of you right now, nor will they be supportive in the future. There will always be someone (or multiple someones) who may try to undermine you, to hold you back, to give you reasons for why you can’t succeed at x, y, and z.

Hans F. Hansen, a retired football player, once said:

People inspire you or they drain you. Pick them wisely. 

This is perfect advice for anyone and everyone, but especially those who are dealing with chronic illness or dreaming of accomplishing big things in their life (and CRITICAL to those who are dealing with both).

It’s not always an easy thing to sit down and take stock of those who are in your life, but it’s an exercise that could help save your precious energy and set you up for further success. This can be a slow process, but one that over time will become more comfortable as you begin to get really clear on your personal goals and the type of environment you need to cultivate in order to achieve those goals.

If you’re not really sure how to go about this, I would start by just beginning to pay attention to how certain people make you feel when you are around them. This takes tuning into your body, mind, and spirit and letting your intuition and inner wisdom guide you.

Do you feel inspired, motivated, and refreshed when you are around these people? Do you leave feeling like they wholeheartedly love and support you no matter what? Do they motivate you to be the best you can be in life? Do they lift you up and help propel you closer to your dreams?

If so, then keep these peeps around because they are a sparkling gem in a pile of gravel.

On the flip-side, when you hang around certain people, do you find yourself getting annoyed? Do you leave the encounter feeling drained and like you need to curl up and take a nap? Do you feel like you have to be selective with what you talk about? Do you feel like if you share your hopes and dreams with them they always offer a reason why you can’t get there?

If so, then it may be time to shift away from these relationships and move towards the people who do not leave you feeling drained and uninspired.

Now, if you tend to find some people fall in the middle gray area, then you’ll have to just go with your gut. Some people will always be a little blah. They may not be the most inspiring people to be around, but they don’t always try to bring you down either. For these folks, you’ll need to really tune into what your intuition says, and then you can decide if you want to continue cultivating the relationship or move away from it.

I totally get that this is sometimes a lot easier said than done. I have been a people pleaser for most of my life and I would do whatever I could not to have hard conversations or offend anyone. I would always avoid conflict, or if it did arise, find some way to placate the person or situation, many times with total disregard to my own feelings.

I still struggle with this from time to time, but I have learned that protecting my energy is critical to my success in all aspects of life. As someone dealing with multiple chronic illnesses and running multiple businesses while juggling all that life brings outside of that, energy is a precious resource for me. When I overextend myself, I pay the price by not showing up at full vibrancy in all aspects of my life.

On the flip side, make sure you also turn this exercise around on yourself. It can be a very eye-opening process. When people are around you, do they leave feeling inspired and motivated? Or exhausted and bummed? Do you lift others up and inspire them? Or do you bring them down and try to sabotage their efforts?

Sometimes you may not like what you discover. But that’s OK because it gives you a chance to grow and improve. That is what life is all about — evolution. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. How can we be the type of person that we would want to hang out with?

I see so many people struggling with energy and not knowing where to go in their life. They feel overwhelmed, stuck, and frustrated. This exercise of taking stock of those in your life can be the one really important step to creating more space for your dreams to come true. When we have more energy, we have more to give to the world.

If you’ve been struggling with your relationship to food and body and are ready to find the peace and freedom you’ve truly been craving, I would love to help. Whether you’re dealing with binge eating, overeating, yo-yo dieting, body shame/hate, or a combination of the above, know that these symptoms are holding a deeper message for you.

Come join my 7-day Food & Body Freedom eCourse (it’s free!) here. This eCourse came from my passion for helping women transform their relationships to food and body. What you desire IS truly possible if you are ready, open, and willing. It is time to say goodbye to the years of control, compulsive behaviors, limiting beliefs, scarcity of joy, and actions driven from a place of fear and feelings of unworthiness, once and for all. Learn more and sign up here.

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