As the New Year approaches, we are all thinking about the 2014 resolutions we ought to be making to better our lives and allow for a more harmonious year. These declarations usually include spending money more wisely, treating people in a thoughtful way, losing weight and being more productive. Rarely does one think of the company one keeps as having a direct correlation with happiness. But who you choose to surround yourself with will have a profound effect on your self esteem, and on how others view you. Consider the following scenarios when choosing whom to spend your time with in 2014.
-Gravitate toward those who are happy with themselves. This is the best kind of person to be around. When you socialize with individuals who are grounded and who have their priorities in the right place, you create a network of friends within which you can truly be at ease. Their possessions do not define them. This group has the ability to make everyone feel special and part of their inner circle. The company that you keep shows a lot about your character. If those you are close with mirror how you think and act, then you have done a good job choosing peers. If you are not comfortable with someone’s behaviors, judgements or values, they should not be in your world, no excuses needed.
-Stay away from the crowd that only talks about what they've purchased. Whether it's jabber about jewelry for every occasion, or test driving the newest six-figure car on the market, this is a red flag. They are merely masking their insecurity and unhappiness with their acquisitions. This sort of mentality will inevitably spill over to the people around them. The ones who have close ties with these materialistic driven personalities will only end up feeling bad about themselves for what they don't have rather than good about themselves for all they have acquired and accomplished.
-Be careful who your spouse befriends within your social circle. There is no adage more true than “Where there is smoke there is fire.” If someone has a reputation for cheating in their marriage, chances are there is some degree of truth to this. When these types become the ones who your spouse spends quality time with, do not be surprised to find out that their behaviors are mimicked.
-Avoid the put-down specialist. How else can an unhappy person prop themselves up if not by putting someone else down? When you find yourself the victim of constant barbs, sarcasm and ill will, pull away quickly. Proximity is the only way that you can be drawn into this game.
- Ladies, don't hang out with women who belittle their husbands. Listening to this negativity day after day, year after year, is only going to filter into how you view your own intimate relationships. It is only natural that those who hear nothing but the downside of what goes on behind closed doors will begin to look for flaws in their own partner.
-Gents, don't believe all the bombastic nonsense other men spew out about what they can afford when at guys' night out at the cigar club or Eagles games. This usually translates to one of two things: Guilt gifts for their wives or girlfriends so they can do what they want on the side, or keeping up appearances that are more flash than cash. Have enough respect for yourself not to attend these outings. Instead, invest your time in making quality friends rather than being pulled into this vortex of meaningless bravado.
Like finds like. In a world filled with stresses relating to education, jobs, child-rearing and finances, when one seeks out friendships and relationships, it is of the utmost importance that positivity and connectedness are the magnets that draw you to your peers and significant others. A person's close-knit circle should be a reflection of their standards and values. Take responsibility for the decisions that you make regarding who surrounds you. Ultimately you want them to be people with whom you feel confident, happy and comfortable. They should be in alliance with the foundation of who you are as a person. Keep your standards high and remember that all of us are known by the company we keep.
Ask Monica: In 2014, resolve to surround yourself with people with whom you feel confident, happy and comfortable.