Seems like we’re in and out of the process of rebuilding our lives. But no matter what stage we’re in, we need to consider the influences in our lives and how they are impacting our ability to rebuild our lives and move forward after traumatic events. Have you really thought about who is influencing you?
Who Influences You
I believe influence may actually start as early as conception. The events of a mother’s pregnancy can affect her child as she carries it. If she’s happy and healthy, that will positively impact the child she is carrying.
What if she endures a number of traumatic events or heartbreaks while carrying her baby? Events like a divorce, job loss, the loss of one or both parents, or other major losses can significantly impact her. Then the baby will, in turn, be impacted by what’s happening in the mother’s body as a result of those traumas or losses because there’s a direct connection through the umbilical cord. So before we’re even born, I believe that our mothers are influencing our lives. Have you ever thought about that? How might your mother or father be influencing your rebuilding process even now as an adult? Are there old messages replaying from childhood about your ability to do things?
We tend to think about the big things that parents might influence us about, but not the smaller things. We hear about the women with crack cocaine addictions who give birth to babies who also have crack addictions, but we don’t think about how the far less dramatic daily events might impact our world—especially all the good things they do for us. Our mothers are the first to influence us. Next, come our dads and our other family members. Our home environment begins shaping who we are as we grow up. What we’re exposed to at home becomes “normal” to us. Is that influence one of screaming, shouting, fighting, crying, hitting, manipulating, lying, and cursing or is it loving, reassuring, affirming, building up and challenging us to aim higher? As we grow up, relatives, friends, school teachers, neighbors, co-workers, and bosses all influence us.
I remember a college professor during a healthcare program entrance interview telling me that because I didn’t do well in high school chemistry, he expected me to do no better than that chemistry grade throughout the entire healthcare program! That’s ridiculous! I promptly set out to show him that he was wrong. And I did! I graduated from that entire program in the Honor Society. Now that’s making lemonade with the lemons he threw at me. That’s how it can go when we learn to be resilient.
What Those Influences Do
We are influenced by those we’re around, what they say about us and to others, how they act toward us, what we listen to on the radio or with our music, what we watch, or what others try to get us to do. The question is will these influences move us in positive directions or in negative ones? Will those influences cause us to be more loving, caring, and serving or just the opposite?
If a parent repeatedly tells you that you’re no good, then it may take a while to overcome that type of influence and know that you’re valuable and have a lot of worthwhile skills, talents, and gifts to offer the world. Pouring such toxic thoughts into a child’s mind can leave a lifetime of devastation unless the child learns the truth about who God says he is and what He says he can do. God sees His children as winners with unique skills, talents, giftings and great potential!
On the other hand, if you’ve had parents telling you that you can do anything you set your mind to do, you’ll be out there tackling the world at every turn. You’ll be willing to try new things and to interact with others more readily. Big difference from the negative approach, isn’t it?
What is influenced?
Everything in our lives can be influenced! From how we think about ourselves, our lives, what we wear, what we eat, where we go, how we act around others, how we can handle our lives, our finances, our shopping, and our future. Wow. Big list! I personally like to read my Bible and let God use His Owner’s Manual (the Bible) to guide me through life and be my greatest influence.
We need to pay attention to who and what is influencing us negatively, and consider what we are believing about ourselves in order to make the adjustments to move forward in positive ways. In fact, we might have one of those aha moments when it feels like a big light bulb came on to show us exactly who to stay away from because of the negative influence they have on our lives. It might be someone who calls you a lot to go shopping when you’re trying to stick to a budget. Or it might be someone calling you to go to sports events instead of getting to bed on time so you’ll be alert at an early morning meeting.
Tips to Overcome Wrong Influences
So you’ve probably had to do this before. Start weeding out those negative influences in your life and keep the positive ones around. Easier said than done, but start slow and keep at it! Not everybody deserves to be your best friend. Some people may need to shift to acquaintances and stay at more of a distance.
We need to limit our exposure to those who are not building us up, but who tend to wear us down or tear us down. I call them the “Gimmes.” As they come toward you they almost always have a handout and ask can you give me… thus the name. 🙂 They nearly always want or need something or expect more of you or from you for some reason, but they rarely ask if there’s anything they can do for you. A true relationship includes both people giving and serving each other and building one another up.
So who or what is influencing you and how? It is true that influences will either draw us closer to God or drive us away from God. So we need to be aware of who and what’s influencing us and choose wisely. Otherwise, our rebuilding process might take longer or may even get totally derailed. I would love to hear about your experiences (that you can share) regarding the impact of influences in your life.
12 thoughts on “Who is Influencing You?”
This was a really great article. I could not agree more about been influenced. I really liked the fact you acknoweldge the fact music and what we read and watch influences us because it does. I have a facebook page were I share music, pictures of nature etc… and it has really improved my well being especially the music. All you have to do is look what gangsta rap can do to change a person outlook and behaviour. I am not suggesting the music makes people commit crime but it is definetly a factor. I listen to a lot of Sam Cooke and music from the 5o’s and 60’s and it definetly has an effect on my well being. Also parents play a massive role we learn from them. They might tell us how to behave but we observe what they do, and pick up bad habits. They are a lot of negative influences in the world, I think was you accept that and become mindful that you can choose better influences, and apply them your life can change for the better
You’re absolutely right, Joseph! This world is quite crazy and violent, so the more calming music and scenery we have around us, the better off we are in many ways. We observe our parents’ words and behaviors and we learn cues on how to behave. If parents are generally positive, their children will grow up modeling that, but if they are generally negative, verbally or physically abusive, it can send their children in the wrong direction and leave them with some major scars. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on my post.
I know it’s definitely true that your emotions during pregnancy can affect the baby–your body creates cortisol when you are stressed and the baby isn’t immune that.
Our influences in our life certainly start when we are young, and it may take well into adulthood to recognize if those influences are good or bad. Hopefully we all have the strength to do what we need to do in order to surround ourselves with positive influences.
Good point, Holly! Babies aren’t immune to the stress-related cortisol made when a woman is pregnant. That must be very difficult for pregnant women who have job, family, or financial stress. The challenges of life can make it hard to stay positive and stress-free. I know I have to constantly shift my attention away from the negative influences of life and get my attention back to God, because He can help me when nobody else can. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
the one paragraph that jumps out at me in this post is one I tell my kids as to me it is important and that is the paragraph where you state “that you can do anything you set your mind to”
This creates postitives that are stands you in good stead as you approach adult life. Why would a parent be negative with their children?
I believe it’s important to keep a circle of likeminded people around you in order for you to grow and have postive influence.
Great post with strong positive inspiration.
We all like to be around positive people, but negative, toxic people drain us. So it’s best if we do all we can to be the positive influence on those we come in contact with each day. Thank you for sharing and for your kind words.
The biggest influence in my life is Jesus Christ and the Gospel message, but it hasn’t always been that way. Since Jesus has made the ultimate breakthrough with me I now know peace, love, hope and great joy in my life. It also amazes me how much I have learned about being a positive influence in others by building them up and sharing the truth with them from studying the Bible. Jesus has also surrounded me with positive faith-filled influences of other people in my daily routine. There is no end to the blessings when you know Jesus and make Him the center of your life. Thank you for an interesting and important topic.
Yes, Jesus can be our greatest and best influence. As we get to know the Lord Jesus, we desire to study the Bible and to become more like Him. The more we study the Bible, the more we walk in those things that you mentioned—love, joy, peace, patience, etc. Others often learn about Him by observing us. No pressure, right? We just need to be real and to be who He made us to be. He can change us and can take away the toxic behaviors as we cooperate with Him. He’s done amazing things in all areas of my life! Thank you for sharing your experiences, Alexander!
Hi, Colleen. I am lucky that I have great parents. They showed their love by teaching that we are precious and they create the condusive environment to learn our interests. They gave us the great formal education and fed us with the encouraging words. My father told us to prepare our future by studying hard and performing our best in the academic field. That is a great advice for the children in my era. But I don’t think the advice is suitable for the children in this era. I have observed so many successful people who are not a great students. So I will give my children the other advice, that they should explore their talents and be the successful people in the field they choose. I agree with you that we must limit our interaction with the toxic people even if they are our close relative.
Hi Melani! You’re right, our parents set the tone of our environment and can take the limits off of our learning. They are very instrumental in our long-term success. Hopefully, most parents try to create a non-toxic environment, but there are still some days where that’s difficult or when negative, toxic relatives stop by. Thanks for taking time to leave a comment.
This article about influence is very relevant in many aspects. And I love the method described to overcome negative influences. Unfortunately, some of them started since childhood, and the victim grows up accepting them as normal, and then continues with the same negative influence, as they start influencing other’s lives negatively.
Take for instance, a child with a defect on the body. Direct family members make fun of that defect in the context of joking, and child grows up knowing it’s normal. Guess what, when child grows up, he/she starts making fun of others too, thinking it’s normal, until he/she encounters God and understands that everything God has made is beautiful. Reading your article brought to mind a lot of similar situations I’ve already come across, how people influence others and completely destroy their personalities. But once you start seeing the world through the eyes of God, everything changes.
Great article. I enjoyed reading.
There are so many ways that people can impact our lives and personalities. I believe that there are many good people who truly want to change for the better, but I’ve learned that we can’t totally change ourselves or others. If we cooperate with God, He can change us for the better, then we can more positively impact others. What you said about children born with defects or who look or act different than other children is true. They may be laughed at or made fun of because of those differences, which makes them less likely to interact with others or may cause them to withdraw. Seeing thru God’s eyes is a great way to live. It surpasses the human mind and gives us His vision and compassion for others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!