Our mothers used to say “Hang out with the right crowd. Don’t be hanging around with a bad crowd.” I hate to admit it, but she was right then, at the age of 16. And she’s still right now, at the age of…
Well, we won’t go there.
Now hanging out with only the happy people can seem to be kind of cold-hearted, or even downright Un-Christian (or whatever y calzoncillos calvin klein baratos our particular religion is.) However the fact of the matter is that if you put a “doom-and-gloomer” in a crowd of people who are laughing and having fun, he or she will bring the whole group down. Very seldom does a positive, happy person raise the level of happiness for someone who does not want it raised.
For instance, I have a loved one who is chronically depressed. For many, many years I tried to make her
happy. I finally learned that she gets no better at all when I try to lift her spirits. But I can easily get worse as she dampens mine. So I have learned to step back and limit my time with her.
I have heard top experts say that you can tell your approximate income by averaging out the income of your closest friends. I take that one step further and say “We can tell how happy, or fulfilled, or successful, or spiritually connected we are by assessing the people we hang around with.” For the most part, our happiness level will be similar to that of our friends, family members, and lovers.
This is very good news, in a way. Because it becomes very obvious that our access to what we want in life, be it material, or non-material things, is to hang out with people who have it already. In other words we have to search the world for friendships with people who personify whatever it is we want.
At this point I will also make a bold claim that what we ALL want, what everyone truly desires at the most basic level of life, is to love and feel good about themselves. And as a close 2nd, we want to share that love and feeling good with others. So if we want that, we need to scour the world and find and become friends with the people who truly love themselves, and feel good about it.
If we have that kind of self-love already, I will assert that we already have those kinds of self-loving friends. Because like attracts like. And conversely if most of our friends are unhappy, or doom and gloom, or the glass is half empty, I will assert that they are lacking self-love, and so are we. Otherwise would not attract them as friends
So this is the not so good news…If we are each to have the life we dream of- including self-love, fun, play, ease, joy, fulfillment, and happiness, we are going to have to let go of all of our friends who live in the opposite way.
What would happen if we each surrounded ourselves with joyful, happy, fun, playful, and heart-centered beings? How would those kinds of “rising & soaring” friends help us to “Rise Above & Soar”? Meanwhile when our unhappy friends get lonely enough, they may choose to go out and learn how to be happy.
In the days of loving an alcoholic I learned this… It is only by choice that any of us change- choice or when life convinces us that we have no other choice. Meanwhile peer pressure is huge, even for adults. The trick is to have your peers pressure you toward what you really want, and not away from it.
The wonderful thing today is that such enlightened happy friends are ‘there for the taking.’ At online sites like meetup.com we can literally search for whatever we want in a friend. And we search by association whatever we want in ourselves! How cool is that?
Once we have such friends, we will want to get into community with them. This is truly step # 6… not just having supportive happy friends, but getting together with them, going to the dances, and drumming circles, and meditations, and ball games, and picnics, and spiritual events. This will have our spirits truly soaring, as we leave behind the cell phone, the computer, the TV and the Game Console to really connect with others.
I have walked the walk my friends. I have been in the deep, deep trenches in life where it seemed like there was nothing lower than where I was, and the only direction I could possibly move was up. The thing that raised me in those days was that I actively put myself around people who felt better than me. I welcomed the light and joy that happy, peaceful, heart-centered people brought to me.
So go make some new joyful new friends and really connect to them. That is Step 6, and how we use “Peer Pressure” to alter life for the better.