It’s “love month” so while stores capitalize on Valentine’s Day, I’ve got 4 blogs for you throughout the month. Whether your “love” is for your pet, your one-to-come, your spouse, your kids, or your bestie you will find something both encouraging and practical here this month!
2/7 – 4 Obstacles to Love that Everyone Can Overcome
2/14 – Being the One – If you’re looking for love, don’t start with a list
2/21 – Who Makes You – Identifying and Keeping the people who get to speak into your life
2/28 -5 C’s that Create Relationship Champions
Dear Reader, my mama always said remember you get to pick your friends because who you spend time with will influence you. That’s just as true today, and especially important when it comes to building, keeping, and growing relationships that matter to you! Who is getting the right to speak into your life these days? Those voices influence who you are in the present and who you become in the future…they truly help to “make you”.
When I think of the phrase “who makes you”, I think of 2 things: 1) I hear Telly Savales’ voice saying, “Who Makes You, Baby!?” (Aristotelis “Telly” Savalas was an American singer and character actor whose career spanned four decades of television. He was noted for his deep, gravelly voice and his bald head.) and 2) I think of what my mama said.
That’s my question to you this week dear reader, who makes you?
You get to have the right to speak into your own life and you get the right to allow others to speak into your life as well. What does it mean to “speak into” your life? This is the everyday exchange of words inside our heads to ourselves, the self talk that gets expressed outloud and the way others speak words to us. Words are powerful and so is the tone and the emotion connected with those words. When words are spoken, they either get allowed into your mind, will, and emotions, thereby coming into your life; or the words get denied and don’t get access into your mind, will, and emotions.
So let’s start with how to identify and keep the people who get to speak into your life.
It all starts with you exercising your rights! Are you exercising your right to speak well to yourself? Self-talk is a powerful voice that creates a self image that we show to the world. Not sure how you are talking to yourself is helpful? Take 1-7 days and be mindful to listen to how you talk to yourself. If your self talk is helpful then you will feel pretty good about yourself when you are with others and when you are alone. If your self talk is talk you wouldn’t share or give to your worst enemy then there’s some work to do so you can be kinder, graceful, and true to yourself.
Staying with your rights, are you exercising your right to allow how others get to speak to you? If you aren’t sure, then take a few days again to be mindful. Someone who should have the right to speak into your life should bring about 3 results, according to Dr. Henry Cloud, they should 1) helps me become the person God created me to be, 2) draws me closer to healthy others, 3) draws me closer to God. How we let others talk to us and speak into our lives will impact these areas for sure! Remember the proverb about iron sharpens iron and a good friend sharpens another?
Now what about identifying who gets to speak into your life? That quick 3 point evaluation is a place to start! Also good to keep in mind is the 3 types of people each one of us should have in our lives. 1) Encouragers – these are people who will encourage you with loving truth, facts and faith. 2) Protectors – these are people who embody 1 Cor 13 explanation of what love looks like because they truly have your best interest in mind. They will protect you from your self talk, from lies, from other’s talking about you behind your back. 3) Investors – these are people who can impact wisdom in your life in either a personal or a professional context. Maybe these are mentors, coaches, pastors, counselors, those who will stretch you, guide you, and impart wisdom to you. If you have these 3 types of people that also align with the 3 point inspection then you truly are blessed and are on the road to a strong impact in your world! One last way to identity those people who get to speak you’re your life is to consider if they are “healthy” and “safe”. Remember, who you are around influences you!
A healthy person will align with the 3 point inspection, while a safe person will align with the following: 1) will show healthy character (including integrity, humility, respect, wisdom, etc.) 2) will demonstrate healthy character growth, 3) will demonstrate stable emotions, 4) will demonstrate healthy self care, 5) will maintain healthy strong boundaries, 6) will be honest and realible, 7) know their limitations and will help you get help from others when needed.
Lastly, let’s cover how to keep these gifts of people in your life! A helpful first step is to be the person you would love to be there for you. Be someone who helps others to be the people God created them to be, help them draw closer to others, and draw closer to God. Be healthy, humble, wise, and grow in all the areas of being safe. But it’s important not to care for that person exactly the way you want to be cared for because they are not you! Get to know yourself and also get to know those you allow in your life so that you can truly know who they are and what makes them unique. It’s so important to remain connected to the one who created you so that you receive the needs he can only* give and then you can give out of those needs. *here’s my note on this – I believe we can’t survive only with God, as we were created for relationship with Him AND with others. This means that God meets our needs through our time with Him just as we spend time with others, and he also provides for those needs to be met through relationships with others.
A good friend has many descriptions in our world today, but I prefer those which have stood the test of time and of healthy, impactful, relationships so I look at the proverbs and wisdom found in scripture regarding being a good friend, how to care for one another, and what “love” looks like in practice. There are several tools that can help in any relationship (not just romantic) including: Relational Intimacy Needs, the 5 love languages, personality types, enneagram style, strength finders, DISC, and more!
This most likely will include you continually being a good study of those in your life because we are all growing so our needs may grow with us. Naturally we could look at growing in communication skills, relational intimacy, self-care, connecting with God, and community or group skills.
If your relationships don’t look like these descriptions or if you are in the process of growing in these descriptions, be sure to gather some healthy support around you as you grow. Sometimes that includes a healthy spiritual leader, a personal trainer, a counselor, coach, or integrative health professional. As I mentioned in an earlier post, support is critical to healthy growth!
Truly the best friend who helps you be you as you were designed in this time in history is your heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit he gives to live with us now. If this is a relationship that interests you, please look at the verses in the Bible in the book of John, chapter 14, verses 16-17 and 26-27, or visit your local church, or download the YouVersion App on your phone where you can view the verses on the go.
John 14:16-17 The Message (MSG) 15-17 “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you! 25-27 “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
- Are you exercising your rights healthfully?
- How did you come out on the evaluation of you being a healthy, safe, good friend?
- How did those you are currently allowing to speak into your life rate on the 3 point evaluation and the “safe” list?
- Do you need to gather any support for your current growth?
We were never designed to go through life alone, but life and adulting can make it begin to feel like that! Don’t let it stay that way! Get back to the important things of building healthy relationships and being a healthy, safe, good friend to those in your life! Together we can make a difference in brining about healthy, safe, good growing relationships! Next week tune in to 5 C’s that Create Relationship Champions.
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
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