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We Become The Average Of The People We Spend Most Time With

Have you ever noticed that when you spend time with someone who is down hearted or lethargic you come away feeling low and with little energy; and when you spend time with someone who is happy and upbeat the opposite happens?

Try it out for yourself, take a few moments to think about people you know (both past and present).

What do you notice? 

What effect do they have on your emotional wellbeing?

Some people doing this exercise will have a feeling of joy and fulfilment; others will want to improve their emotional wellbeing.

If you choose to improve your emotional wellbeing, be prepared to make a change, sometimes that means loosening or breaking free from unhealthy relationships, which can be scary, feeling that you are going to be lonely or hated.  That fear won’t come true if you replace the unhealthy relationship with a healthy one.

So, how do you make the changes you want? 

  • Take a piece of paper and in the middle write your name or draw a symbol that represents you.
  • Write the name of the people you know on your paper, placing the people you spend most time with nearest to you and those who you spend less time with further away.
  • Look at each name and notice who it is and the effect they are having on you.  Does this person make you happy or sad?
  • What happens when you move someone from being close to further away? If this feels more comfortable, how are you going to put some distance between you and the named person.  How can you spend less time with them?

Initially people may try to make you stay the same.  Change is not easy and when people feel that their world has been threatened they will do almost anything to put it back to where it was.  The trick is to remember that they are keeping their world safe, they are not thinking of you and how you are affected by staying the same.  Yes, you may lose contact with some people but if they are a true friends and they value you they will change too and you will keep that friendship.  Remember, you have a choice, to stay within the unhealthy relationship and accept it for what it is or strike out for better.

  • What happens when you move someone from further away and bring them closer?  If this feels good, how are you going to spend more time with this person, can you make phone calls, invite them out for coffee, email or write to them.

It can take a while to build up this relationship so that you are enjoying more time together.  Often these people are delighted to spend time with you, after all if you feel good they will probably feel the same.

One final thought: your happiness depends directly on how relaxed and happy you are with the people closest to you. 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Dawn Haworth MSc. UKCP Registered & EMDR Practitioner

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