When I was growing up, my parents strictly cautioned me about the friends I had in my life. These friends would contribute to my environment of growing up and my parents wanted to ensure that these influences were mainly positive and uplifting. At the time, I thought my parents were being overly cautious but as I have become older, I realize the importance of one’s environment and how it impacts and affects us in every aspect. And not surprisingly, those friends from childhood remain my close friends and our kids are now friends, which is pretty amazing!
Environment, for me, is what I surround myself with. The space, the friends, the influences – for me, all of these elements converge to create my environment. When my environment is positive and uplifting, that is reflected in how I carry myself. When it is a negative space, the impact is detrimental to the infinite degree.
I was lucky growing up that I had friends who created a positive environment. They were all good people at their core. We all supported each other and were there for one another. My home life, on the other hand, was a mix of environments. At times, it was very nurturing and encouraging. But at other times, it was very stifling and punishing. And so the lesson I learned from being in that environment was that if the environment did not work for you, you had the power to remove yourself from it. And so when I was old enough to leave for university, I left! I returned, for short stretches.
Ultimately, through trial and error, I learned what I needed from my environment to flourish and to be my best self and sought to create or find that environment.
Does that mean that on a whim, I abandon my environment? No. But it does mean that I am not afraid to remove myself from a toxic environment, on the basis of self preservation. It does mean that although I have committed to an environment, as long as the environment does not mire me down, does not reduce me to question my worth, I’m in.
And to be honest, like most people, I do better in a healthy environment. An environment that understands and acknowledges what I bring to the table. An environment that nurtures my growth and development.
But your environment is also molded by you and the decisions you make; the people you allow influence into your environment. And therefore, that’s why my parents made me mindful to this fact, because that allowed me to understand the control that I had to exert to be in the best environment.
And as I get older, I realize the importance of one’s environment and its impact on all aspects of your health – mental health, physical health, emotional health.
And so, although loyalty and perseverance are to be lauded, for me, being in the right environment, is what causes me to flourish.
So – make sure to do a check of your environment on a routine basis. And if it needs a tune-up, don’t be afraid to adjust it or to change it. Always evaluate! As Michelle Obama eloquently stated, “Choose people who lift you up. Find people who will make you better.” This is the environment you want!
But that’s just one Diva’s view!