Dr Jozelle Miller
September 27, 2022
Do you have the right people in your life?

It is fair to say that we all need people in our lives. Human life is always in connection with another being, otherwise, life becomes non-existent. It’s commonly said solitary confinement is the cruellest form of punishment. There is a large volume of research on the mental health effects of solitude on an individual. Many have even provided, a common inference that solitary confinement constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

From birth, our lives are molded by relationships. Without another human being to take care of you, you would not have survived. Without other people in your life, you would have an extremely limited view of the world. It is because of relationships that you grow and mature and thrive.

Without relationships, life would be meaningless. Thus, the importance of those you “hang around” is a common topic of discussion. Those around you affect who you become. It has been written in countless self-help books and articles on how important it is to have relationships with the right people.

To say we need other people in life is an understatement. And yes, it’s even true for us introverts! The important thing is to make sure that you have the RIGHT PEOPLE and not use PEOPLE.

The people we choose to surround ourselves with will eventually shape the way we think, behave, and feel daily. Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up, lend you knowledge, and help you learn from mistakes will eventually raise your standards to become a better person in the long run. Here are some of the positive changes that you’d notice when you’re in the company of the right people.

1. Learn new things

The right kind of people will guide and inspire you to achieve your goals. They help you in areas where they excel and push you to do better in things that you may already know. As a result, you can attain a lot of knowledge about topics that interest you intellectually. 

2. Stay positive

Negative people often discourage others and try to derail their success, and they always keep people off track. It is very difficult to focus on things that are beneficial to personal growth when you’re surrounded by folks like this. The right kind of people will always be a source of encouragement and support as you pursue your goals.

3. Improve personal development skills

When we surround ourselves with achievers, we strive to be one. A creative person can learn from a business-minded person. Take the good habits and ideologies from successful people and incorporate them into your own life – things that are crucial for securing accomplishments. 

4. Achieve goals

Finding the right people is not restricted to the professionally successful or famous. It is all about the people who inspire and are full of positivity. With the right people around us, we will be driven to make the most of everything and work towards our goals and ambitions. 

In a nutshell, studies indicate that who we hang around with can profoundly impact us, and that our behaviour is heavily influenced by our friends. Oprah Winfrey once said, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” So, keep in mind to choose your company wisely

The Science of Choosing the Right People in Your Life

Here are four principles that will help you choose the right person, be the right person, and develop healthy relationships.

#1: Connection

A relationship is first and foremost about emotional connection. Our attachments to others are called “bonds,” and they are created and maintained by someone’s ability to share and connect from the heart, with all its emotional vulnerabilities and tender feelings.

Many people can relate on a superficial and social level. But in a long-term relationship of any kind, it becomes increasingly important for you to be able to share your heart with someone, and have your heart be safe with that other person. When evaluating people that you are going to give your heart to, be careful to see if they can respond responsibly to your vulnerability and feelings! Make sure you are not creating a one- sided relationship and that they can also share their own heart with you. That mutual sharing is how bonds are built and maintained.

When determining whether someone would be “right” to connect with, ask yourself these questions:

1. Can they listen and empathize with your feelings and vulnerabilities?

2. Can they share on an emotional level?

3. Do you go away from them feeling like you have connected, or do you feel alone in the relationship.

4. Is there a high level of assurance that your bond will be protected?

Asking yourself these questions will help ensure that you are creating mutually beneficial relationships instead of one-sided ones.

#2: Boundaries

Another important aspect of a healthy relationship is to respect each other’s personal boundaries.

One way you can tell if someone respects your personal boundaries is whether you feel free to be in control of your own person, or whether you feel invaded, or controlled, by the other person when you are with them. A healthy person will respect your wishes to be in control of yourself. They allow you to freely choose what you want to do, or what you don’t do, without any pressure.  

Do they become unreasonable when you refuse to do something? Do they allow you to be separate from them and have your space? Do they see you as an extension of themselves, in some way, and feel they have a right to control you and do whatever they want with you?

Next week we’ll look at some things to consider in a healthy relationship.