You never know who you will be influenced by or who will influence you. My older sister passed away many years ago and I still miss her deeply. I miss her laugh and the amazing way she had to encourage all of those around her. She had such a big personality and an even bigger heart and she loved with so much passion and energy. Although she had about a dozen siblings between her parents multiple marriages, she took the time to keep in touch with all of us and all of our cousins! She would call just to chat and then keep me up to date on everything happening in the family. I admired her greatly. I respected how devoted she was to all of us and how she made it a priority to contact each of us and check in. She was such a positive influence in my life.
I also learn from those that influence me in other ways. There is the person I looked up to and thought I wanted to emulate, until I spent a great deal of time around them. Whew! I learned quickly and deeply to recognize those attributes in myself that mirrored hers and I began to work on changing them. Although they were a defense mechanism and something I had labeled as me being strong, they were not. They were selfishly driven and unkind. Once I saw them for what they really were in her, I was able to recognize them in me and let them go. It was difficult dealing with the remorse and shame I felt once I saw the behaviors for what they were. Everytime I found myself moving towards that shared behavior I would recall her and how awful it was from the outside. This quickly caused me to choose a different way of responding.
My point is, we all have positive and negative in our lives. We can learn from both just as equally. It’s so easy to see the negative in others while being blinded to it in ourselves. Have you heard the saying, “You are the combination of the five people you spend the most time with.” or
- Good friends are respectful
- Good friends return the favor
- Good friends avoid beating around the bush
- Good friends try to avoid gossip (I would change this one by crossing out try)
- Good friends stand up for their friends
I thought this was a great list. Friendship can be very difficult in today’s world. We are all so busy and pulled in so many directions. It’s been my experience that friendships are work. I make friends easily, but struggle to keep friendships going. It’s because I am not one to pick up the phone and call, which is why I respected my sister so much for that simple trait! It came so easily to her! I struggle with it. I don’t want to interupt or be a bother. The second reason is, I am actually not very good about sharing me. I feel my struggles are mine and I don’t want to burden someone else with them. So, I don’t. I’ve come to realize that to others that might feel like I’m holding back or standoffish. When in reality I’m aching to share, I just never really learned how.