Choose your tribe wisely

One of the most important things my mother taught me was to choose my friends intelligently. From a very young age, I remember my mother quoting Proverbs to me and telling me this, “Choose your counsel wisely.” The older I get, the more I believe who I allow to influence me plays an enormous part in the place I find myself in today.

Research has shown you become like the five people you spend the most time with. I would argue that you also see the world through the eyes of those who you listen to the most. This is why I choose very carefully who I allow into my daily life, and why I find myself every few months unsubscribing, unfollowing, and disengaging from many voices.

Life is hard. In my very immediate circle of people I love and care for, there is a lot of rough and painful life happening. There is divorce, abuse, addiction, depression, cancer, dementia, adultery, mental illness, financial instability, childhood illness, infertility, eating disorders, learning disabilities, and death. That’s reality for most of us, and most of us would not choose these things.

But guess what we can choose?

Our tribe.

We can’t escape life’s hardships, but we can choose to surround ourselves with people who are grateful, positive, kind and honest even in the midst of life’s struggles.

If you are a person who uses social media to constantly complain, whine, point out the negative, or bash groups of people, I don’t follow you. You may be my friend, but I have zero qualms clicking “unfollow.”

I choose to create a space on social media and in my daily life that involves positive, real, grateful and uplifting people.

It’s my choice.

And it’s OK.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about the importance of unsubscribing from negative, demoralizing and demeaning people in your life. I challenged you to do a peer inventory. I truly do this in my own life and let me tell you; I don’t feel bad about it. I have had many people tell me that deleting, unfollowing and unsubscribing from certain people is seeing life through rose-colored glasses.

I smile and say, Salute.

We can’t choose hardships, disease, accidents, and tragedies. We can’t choose many hard things that happen to our loved ones. We can’t escape natural disasters and losing our jobs and families. But we can choose who we let shape our attitudes about these events, and I do.

Some of the most grateful, positive, kind and uplifting people have suffered some of the most terrible life events.

These are the people I choose to do life with.

These are the people I choose to see on my feed and at my dinner table.

I challenge you to evaluate who is on your “feed.” Who influences you? Is the message positive and uplifting? Or is it negative and cutting? Is it interesting and educational, or is it demoralizing and gossip?

I leave you with the words of my mother:

“Choose your counsel wisely.”

Sasha K. Shillcutt is an anesthesiologist who blogs at Brave Enough.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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