Are you surrounded by people who are cautious, controlling or jealous and would rather you play it safe?
What is a support network?
They say that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Whether or not you agree with that statement, it is true that the people we spend time with directly influence us. They can be energy givers or energy drains. They can inspire us or be a walking warning. They can open doors or they can block them.
How do our support networks impact us in every day life?
As humans we have a finite amount of energy to expend, and we have a mind that has the tendency to self-sabotage. Utilising energy reserves to stay positive, focused and motivated in the face of perpetual negativity is like watching your favourite wine slowly disappear down the drain. Creating and maintaining deep self-confidence takes work, but it can be tricky for some people to see you grow in confidence because of the way it makes them feel about themselves. They see you wanting to take risks which make them feel cowardly. They see you wanting to do your own thing against their advice and beliefs which makes them feel unimportant. They see you growing and becoming happier and it makes them feel resentful of their choices. This is because these people don’t have inner self-confidence themselves and they experience faux confidence from external validation. It is easy to go with the flow and bend to their will, leading you to not fulfilling your potential and fuelling a negative confidence cycle.
Why do we attract and maintain negative support networks?
Situations are important in the networks we build – the family we were born into, the places we live or work are to an extent outside of our control. However we often see the maintenance of these relationships in people who have a negative self view, experience of negative relationships in their past or have experienced trauma. People who struggle to set healthy boundaries often maintain more toxic relationships as they feel unable to communicate their own needs, instead prioritising others needs and wants over their own.
Notice how the people you spend the most time with make you feel about yourself and try to manage your interaction with them accordingly. It’s not always possible to remove negative people from your life completely, but you can choose how much time and energy to give to them.
Be proactive with the people that fill you up. People that drain us are prone to demanding way more time than those people who energise and inspire us. We need to be proactive in creating opportunities to spend time with the people that lift us up. Dinner? Drinks? Coffee? Prioritise precious time with these people where you are able to..
Consider ways to get out and meet new, positive people. Gatherings of people with similar interests and passions as you. Try clubs, courses, networking events, social events, tag along with friends to things they are doing etc.
Download the worksheet below to find ways of creating a support network that really works for you.