They say “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The statement has rolled around in my mind over the years. I think it was one of the first lessons I came across when I was introduced to this holistic understanding of our lives. It’s especially powerful when you understand that these may not be your closest friends, just those you spend most of your days with i.e. workmates, house mates, family, or clients.
In recent years I’ve often felt like those I spend the most time with weren’t on the trajectory I would like for myself, not that theirs is wrong, just not aligned with my own. My ideal vision would be to be surrounded by people with expanded world views, those wanting to be the change, and who had found a deep connection to themselves and the world around them.
That being said, in some ways not being surrounded by the “perfect” tribe has been beneficial. Being the type of person I am, I like to help people achieve their goals as best I can, seeing the good in people, and accepting the less than ideal traits we all possess and it forced me to learn to not try to “save” people and waste my energy. This has been a long lesson, and in the past few years, I’ve found my own energy seriously depleted from trying to connect with certain people in their way and not having that energy reciprocated. It’s forced me to carve my own method for working through life and develop my own tool kit. I think it’s also why I find myself spending so much of my time alone and in nature. When I’m around people who aren’t the best for energy I do my best to mitigate that by surrounding myself with the inspirational words of others through books and podcasts.
A while back I found myself around some people who, in my perception, had made some questionable choices with the potential of hurting people close to them, which isn’t ideal, but I noticed that I wasn’t impacted by it like I would expect to have been. I’ve been reflecting on it and realised that what they were going through was something that I had gone through as a child, albeit in the receiving end. I had had a sort of subconscious disassociation from it. In a way, it made me grateful to experience being able to relive that experience in some way so that I could revisit it. It brought the issue to light, where otherwise I may have never had the opportunity for growth. If I’d been surrounded by the “perfect” people all the time, there mightn’t be that opportunity for reflection. It’s a bit of an abstract way of looking at it but sometimes we don’t have the privilege to be surrounded by the “right” sort of people and maybe that’s okay too. Maybe it’s a blessing as it drives us to pursue our own goals and ambitions and develop techniques to do so.
“It’s always hard when you’ve known a person a long time and then you have to recognise that you have nothing left in common but your memories.” ― Eva Heller
That being said, I have been trying a little harder to create a community. Recently I have been trying to surround myself with more like-minded people through attending events, workshops and going to spaces such as yoga studios, the bush, and parks. So far it’s worked surprisingly well. There is a vulnerability and shared interest within those spaces which helps forge meaningful relationships in short spaces of time. I love this approach as I get to learn something along the way too.
I’m also trying to be more honest with the people currently in my life about the sorts of things that interest me, in hope that that may open up the opportunity for deeper connections to be made. Even if this approach doesn’t impact the relationship, at least I’m living more true to myself.
“Brotherhood” has been a key focus as of late. With my passion for men’s mental health, I feel drawn to creating some sort of community where men can connect and communicate freely, stand in their power and foster meaningful connection. I feel drawn to this because it’s something that I too have been searching for and have been unable to find in my life, although I do feel like I’m making progress.
“I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at. ” – Maya Angelou
Creating a powerful community is a work in progress, and maybe one day I will be surrounded by those ideal 5 people. For now, I will continue to strive for that, and in the meantime, I will do my best to not pass too harsh of a judgment and appreciate the “good”, with the “bad”, learn from the interactions, and continue to be mindful of who I give my energy to.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” – John Donne