BY JERÉ ANTHONY
What if I told you that you have full control over your life, would you believe me?
Studies show that you become most like the five people you surround yourself with. This means that your proximity to friends, family members and coworkers literally morphs your personality, which also means that you have the power to affect change in your own life by choosing wisely.
I find this information to be profound for many reasons, but for starters, I feel empowered to orchestrate my social settings and select my influencers according to who I want to become one day. This is such powerful piece of knowledge that affects my entire life and for the most part the work on the front end is minimal. As a CASA it is so important to maintain self-care and I believe that self-awareness can be a huge tool to help keep your fired up to do this work.
Before we start pulling out the sorting hat to categorize our friends and coworkers (Harry Potter reference anyone?), we need to be self-aware of the relationships in our lives and realize if they are really serving us. I have created a list of helpful questions to ask yourself to get the wheels turning.
What are your values? What is most important in your life? Our influencers should be people that embody our own values and/or respect the values that you have made a priority in your life. Many people believe different things and I am a firm believer that it takes all kinds of kinds in this world. The important thing is that you feel respected and supported in your values and beliefs.
Do you feel energized or drained after being around them? For quite some time I believed that I owed my friends something. I believed that I needed to be there for them when they needed me… but what happens when they always need you? I am talking about those life-sucking relationships where things are always one-sided, the one’s where you walk away from the conversation drained and the other person has a pep to their step. These relationships need to be examined often.
Do they inspire you to be better? Maybe this looks like a little bit of envy… not the bad kind, but they are doing things that you want to do and maybe they have things that you want to have. Aspiring to reach goals is normal, as long as comparison doesn’t become a regular feeling. Say it with me: Comparison is the death of joy. You cannot compare yourself to anyone in life because it will always be apples to oranges!
Do you feel pleasant after encountering them? This one may seem obvious, but I cannot tell you how many people follow friends/acquaintances/family members on social media and are annoyed by everything thing they post. If you are constantly annoyed by someone or just outright jealous… block them, unfollow them, do whatever you need to do because they are bringing you down and they don’t have to know you don’t want to see it! If the person annoys you, don’t seek them out… it really is that easy.
I understand that we can’t always choose who we have to interact with, but we do get to choose who we are close friends with and we also get to choose how we spend our free time. I’ve heard it said, “Invest in those who invest in you”, and I really feel like this phrase sums up who we should seek out in relationship. Relationships should be life-giving, that doesn’t mean it is always about rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes you are walking alongside someone is a hard season, but remember it is about give and take.
I hope that you choose life-giving people to surround yourselves with because at the end of the day, serving as a CASA can be depleting. The families that we serve don’t always pour back into us the way that we need. Self-care is such an important life skill and should be a priority in everyone’s lives.
Thank you for entering into a relationship with an abused and neglected child, we recognize the strength it takes to Just. Keep. Swimming.