I heard this song on the tv the other day, an advertisement for a show. Now, I realize that it’s a love song, but what caught my attention is the verse “I like me better when I’m with you”. Shouldn’t it be that way? Shouldn’t we feel better when we are around our friends, family, loved ones, co-workers, partners? Unfortunately, that is not always the case. We are not always surrounded by people that have the best intentions for us, people who want to see us grow and be a part of that growth. People don’t always want to see us happy because the old saying “Misery loves company” is a very true statement. Most of this has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the other person. Ego and expectation is usually at the heart of the reason, but more about that later.
I took a class with Reverend Barbette a few times about the people in our circle and where they should be placed based on how they make us feel. Curious about how this applied to my life, I researched a little further. The quick version is we are in the first circle. In that circle, we can also place people that we trust with our heart and soul – our true tribe. These are the people that we can share our darkest secrets and they will never judge. These are people that will keep our secrets and protect us. They would do anything for us and we would do anything for them. Our partner should be in this circle, if they are not, well we have some relationship work to do, or maybe it is a realization for us. These are people that we call our “besties”, our “bffs”. These are the people we are excited to see, we want to spend all of our time with them. These are the people we are excited to talk to. These are the people we think about often. These are the people that we feel like we could conquer the world with.
In the second circle, are people that make us feel happy and strong, with whom we share values. These are people that we enjoy seeing and being around. They leave us feeling good and we want to share that goodness with others. These are people that make us smile when we see their posts on social media or see their face in person. They have a beautiful aura and a great energy that we want to be around. These may not be people who we share the depths of our souls with, but we love their company and their friendship.
In the third circle are people that we respect; this can be friends, family, acquaintances who make us feel positive in their company. You may not be close to these people but you still enjoy being around them and feel good when you are. This is that ray of sunshine at work that you enjoy working with but may not hang out with outside of work. This can be someone who you look up to but would not necessarily call them when you want to talk about what makes your soul happy.
People in the first three circles are really who I want to be around. These are people that make us feel good about ourselves. These people remind me of the verse “I like me better when I’m with you.” These are the people that want to see us bloom and grow and become a better version of ourselves every day and accepts when we “change”. One of my favorite quotes “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” is one of my favorites because this is how I view my tribe, my flower garden of people in my inner circles. Everyone just blooming in their own way, in their own time without judgement, criticism, gossip. If everyone in your inner circles acted this way, just think how beautiful your garden would be and how others would want to be a part of that garden. What a beautiful world we would live in. We all have our off days. Nobody in this world is perfect. We may say things we don’t mean out of frustration, ego, misunderstanding…we are all a work in progress. We should never be the same now as we were a year ago, 6 months ago, weeks ago. We should all strive to be better than we were the day before, the hour before. When we make mistakes we should learn from them and move forward. The people in our inner circles should be the people who love us regardless of how we are changing and growing. They should want for us to do so. Having a “bad” morning? Change your perspective, pull yourself out of that rut and strive to be better the rest of the day. Be the person you want other people to be around you. My mother always used to say “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This does NOT mean they will treat you this same way back. But hopefully, in time, as they grow, they will see that treating others well will draw the right people to them and more people will move them into one of these first three circles.
The fourth circle is really the circle of the undecided. This is for people you have just met or maybe something happened in your relationship with a person and you are still deciding if they should be in your inner circle or outer circle, because let’s face it, we have disagreements with everyone at some point, so this is sort of that cooling off circle, the evaluation circle.
Now, sadly, we must talk about the other circles, so you can utilize this activity in your own relationships. The fifth circle is for people who hold you back. These are the people who are not really connected with the real you. These are people that do not have your best interest at heart, who get discouraged with you often. These people were probably at one time in circle three and then you moved them to circle four and then decided they no longer made you feel good about yourself being around them. Do you ever get that feeling when someone walks in the room, the feeling in the pit of your stomach? Or you see their name pop up in Messenger or on your phone and you think “I don’t have the energy to deal with them today!” Because these people can either be super pleasant or super draining and it’s like Russian Roulette when you read what they write or pick up that phone call, so you ignore them. These are people that you at one time called friend, maybe even your best friend, but you have changed and evolved and they have not. What was ok in your relationship before is no longer ok. These are people that you should chose your battles carefully with or they just may end up in your seventh circle.
In the sixth circle, these are people that are important to you whether in your career, social life, family, but no matter how hard you try, you do not feel comfortable with them. They make you feel inadequate and you often feel like you have to explain yourself. Why should we have to do that? Why should we have to try so hard to please someone? I grew up working hard in school and developing a good work ethic, why? Because I grew up in a house that no matter what you did, no matter how hard you tried, you were never enough. I was that kid that cried if I got anything less than an A, not because I thought I hadn’t done my best, but because my best wasn’t enough. Even an A- would send me into a downward spiral. I was too young to understand that even if I achieved a 100% in every class, it still wouldn’t have been enough. But I had a lot of self doubt, never feeling like I was worthy, never feeling like what I was achieving was in fact an achievement. My focus was more about what I couldn’t do and how maybe if I was like the really smart kids in my class, maybe my parents would be happy. I compared myself with others which led to low self esteem and a lack of confidence. I poured my all into everything I did just to never quite measure up. I brought this attitude and feelings into my adulthood. Being the best employee, staying the longest, arriving the earliest, working the hardest, crushing all of the company records, doing other people’s work…but at the end of the day, I still never felt like I had accomplished anything of great value because I didn’t hear those words “I’m proud of you” from the one person who let me know all the time that they weren’t proud. It wasn’t until I was almost 30, when I realized that no matter what I did, no matter what I achieved, I would never be enough in some people’s eyes. That some people would view me as the broken person who made mistakes and hasty decisions, but it was then that I realized why should I care what they think? It was truly a reflection of what they didn’t like about themselves and not at all about me. This was a turning point in my life. This was the time in my life when I decided that I was going to start living for myself and stop letting others define who I was and those people that didn’t like this new me could be put in the seventh circle.
The seventh circle…this is where we can let go. Putting people in this circle was a pivotal point in my life. It led to a road of happiness. These are the people who have hurt us, angered us, let us down, talked badly about us behind our back. They are the people that make us feel badly about ourselves, like we are not good enough, the people who seem to tear us down, the people who never have anything nice to say about anyone. These people are usually a ring leader who suck other people into their negativity and sometimes you are blindsided by a group of people who have a pack mentality, who attack people and try what they can to disrupt our lives. Misery loves company. By placing these people in this last circle, we can let go of painful thoughts and feelings and move forward in our lives. This is where we can release ourselves from self doubt and “stinkin’ thinkin’.” By placing those people in my life in this circle, I had room to grow. I had room to breathe. I had room to discover who I was and who I wanted to become. Some of those people I have since moved back into my inner circle. They have grown as well and become people that I enjoy being around again, but others are in that circle and will probably always stay there and that’s ok.
“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” Some people, you will place in a circle and they will stay there. Others, you will move from circle to circle as you travel on your path. Sometimes, people are just in our lives to learn a lesson. Once you learn that lesson, they are no longer useful in your growth process. I’m not saying use people for your own growth, I’m saying sometimes we meet someone who teaches us a valuable lesson and off they go to teach someone else or to grow more themselves. Sometimes people are in our lives for a season. Maybe you’ve had a friend all through your twenties and then you get married and start a family and they are still traveling and living the life of a single. This is ok. They aren’t doing anything wrong, they are just growing differently than you. One day you will catch up again. How many friends did you have in high school that you lost touch with over the years and now, through the power of social media, you have reconnected? Some you are just acquaintances with and others are in your first or second circle. How many of those people are exactly the same as they were in high school? The hope is that the answer is none of them, but sometimes people are stuck and haven’t grown and blossomed yet. It’s never too late though. Maybe your positive influence will be the change.
I like me better when I’m with you! I enjoy people with good, positive energy. I enjoy having great conversations with people about the beauty of this earth, the amazing humans we have created, the good that can be done, the changes that can be made. We all have our stories. We all have our pain. But the only way to heal is to remove yourself from the people that make you feel anything less than amazing. Some people will come and go in your life, you will move them into different circles in different cycles of your life, your growth and that’s ok. Maybe you will have a disagreement, a misunderstanding with someone who is in your inner circle and they will move you to their outer circle…it’s ok. You keep being true to you. You keep making this world a better place. You keep shining brightly. You keep making others feel good when they are around you and you keep surrounding yourself with others that make you feel better when you are with them. Life is far too short, the days go by way too quickly for us to waste a moment on being sad or angry. Keep shining my beautiful friends!