Outside influences. They come in so many different forms that one might not even notice the effects. We all have them and will continue to have them so it is important we have the right ones, or at least are positively affected by the right ones; ones that help us progress. It is almost impossible to have no relationships if you consider yourself living at least a somewhat normal life. Good relationships. Not so good friendships. They all have an affect on our lives somehow. The big mistake we can make about influences that come from relationships and friendships is to assume we’re only influenced by the good ones. Truth is we’re influenced by both. Therefore, the most important clarification we need is in knowing which are good and which are bad and who we are most influenced by because outside influences have a lot to do with decisions we make everyday.
Influences typically come from family members, community leaders, and close friends but just because people hold these positions in our lives does not make it a requirement that we incorporate those influences into what we do, what we say, or what we believe. When we do receive positive influences, great! But when we find ourselves making bad decisions because of influences around us, we become the responsible party and the longer we take to make changes, the heavier the weight becomes in doing so. When we find ourselves in close relationships or choose to live our lives open to the public, we show the depths of who we are and sometimes we are not at our best. Complication comes in when we’re ready to better who we are and want to begin working on the character we uphold. At the height of these changes, outside influences will either help you progress or continuously remind you of who they know you to be. Unfortunately, so many individuals do feed off of negativity which means the influence you receive from them will be negative. Their hope is that you continue to act a fool, disrespect and demean others, and carry yourself in a degrading and negative light. They may even have the galls to suggest to you to continue ‘being who you are’. If that particular relationship or friendship is a priority, it can be a challenge for you to begin making better decisions. Because some hate so much to disappoint friends, or disappoint those in higher positions, or even the public, they do themselves a disservice and choose to continue with behavior that might even cause permanent damage to their character. Such decisions are made all in the name of pleasing others and the need to feel accepted and unfortunately, those outside influences will continue to keep them bound by deception.
Of course mistakes are made and sometimes we may get off course with our character. For those who have presented a negative demeanor over a period of time, yet eventually realize that changes need to be made, will find that when they do decide to make changes for the better, outside influences will tend to sway them to continue the negative behavior they’ve been known to present. Some friends, family members, and even the public can sometimes become uncomfortable when people want to change for the better. Either you will have the courage to progress anyway, or you will continue to be deceived by what they portray as the things they love about you most, i.e. bad behavior. Yes, it may be difficult to strive for better because it may seem as if you’re disappointing those who were pleased with who they’ve known you to be. So called friends might turn against you and perhaps even see you as what some call a ‘sell-out’. Misery loves company.
Needless to say, outside influences are around all the time. Pay attention to the ones that drive your decision-making. Take notice of what you take in from outside influences and never be afraid to address those that mean more harm than good. In the long run, correction is more beneficial but if the negativity around you is never addressed, your service to community, society, and to the public may never unfold.
Tawana R. Powell