I have gratitude as I sit here writing this week’s blog. I spent the weekend with those I trust, I look up to, and I value. This weekend, I had meaningful conversations with friends, both old and new, and the topic of mentorship, and the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships with people that give meaning to our lives, was a highlight of each conversation (mind you, the topic was with different people and in different settings- same sentiment though!). What was discussed with both parties was that in essence, the value of our lives can increase, we lead more enjoyable lives, and achieve more satisfaction, connection and meaning, through surrounding yourself with those that build you up. This can be achieved through having someone you consider a personal and professional mentor (learning from those who have experienced life, and gain insight), being a mentor to someone else (sharing you experiences to help guide others), and by surrounding yourself with genuine friends and family members who have your best interests at heart, and are true to you. The idea of keeping company with those who have something you want (in the sense of positive attributes), surrounding yourself with positive influences, and reevaluating periodically to make sure that those you surround yourself with have the same values and contribute to your life, is a key component for my individual growth.
I asked two ladies I spent time with this weekend to share their take on how relationships play a role in our self-evolution and self-esteem, and I hope you are able to pull truth and inspiration from them both.
“As an individual it is so important to have role models, goals, inspiration…things that keep you going. Just as importantly it is healthy to surround yourself with company that encourages growth. The balance of friendships and relationships that give you freedom to aspire to fulfill goals build confidence and self-esteem. Friends that I’ve known through my teens, 20s and now 30s who have seen me fall, spiral, laugh and cry, yet they have allowed me to be the person I needed to be in that moment. While they may not have agreed with decisions they still knew that I/we weren’t done growing. Growing for women especially is an on going process. I think throughout life we learn compassion and boundaries daily. We are constantly on a journey. I have a mother, sister and husband and the bond with them all is strong, but different. The bond I have with my “support group” is the one that lifts weight off my shoulders when there are times I just need to talk to a girlfriend. I’m always saddened when I hear about women who don’t confide in their friends. Mostly, I’m sure it’s out of fear of feeling “stupid” or passing judgement we have to stop worrying about not being perfect. No one is. No life is. Social media too creates such a (fictional) comparison complex. I really think it hinders self-esteem and confidence when you see the perfect portrayal of somebody’s life online.” -Jen Cates
“My advice on mentorship is to take the time to find a mentor organically. Look for someone you connect with and respect. A mentor should support and guide you through your successes and failures.” – Sanam Parvizi
This morning I woke up and had received another quote sent to me from my good girl friend, Jen. She felt it was very relevant to this topic, “You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.” I wish we would all repeat this over and over as our mantra… Trust me, it is a work in progress (I am a work in progress), but surrounding ourselves with positive, uplifting, encouraging people, and graciously declining to be part of the negativity and undermining behavior, really will make all the difference in your life and others who get the pleasure of being a part of (a side note, of course, is that you must also be giving out the same aura in order for it to work!).
My experience on this topic is this– I would not be who I am today without the valuable relationships I have gained from my mom’s good friends who watch out over me. I no longer have the good fortune to have the support and guidance of my mom, but I feel very supported, uplifted, and encouraged by relationships I took an active part in developing. These relationships help guide me, calm me, support me, and are also a built in cheering squad. I would not be where I am today, and I would not have the confidence in achieving my goals and dreams without this support system. We are repsonsible for this important component of our lives. This took work to create, we all are responsible for creating this type of support system, but when in place — no struggle is too hard, no sadness is ever experienced alone, and each success is celebrated with those that love and care for you.
I encourage you to spend some time taking inventory on your circle of confidentes and friends, mentors, and protogees. I hope they are able to provide the tools necessary to lift your spirits and your life, and help guide you through the continuous turns we experience, like they do for me. I hope they are a key component of your self-esteem and confidence. If they aren’t, make a worthwhile investment to find someone who will and ask them to lunch or coffee. Develop these relationships that will bring such meaning to your life.