We arrive in this world alone and we leave this world alone. During our short sojourn on earth, we depend on others to make us feel alive. But do we really need companions?
I believe we do. From the moment we begin our lives, our characters are molded by the people we are surrounded by. Subconsciously we absorb the feedback we get from the ones we spend our time with and also formulate our habits to please them. The voices that echo in our heads are often the voices of these companions. Our self-talk is created by the output we receive from them. We classify ourselves as good, capable or bad based on their comments. They can make us or break us.
We acquire different sorts of companions during different phases in our lives. Let us look at six groups of them.
1) Parents: The first responsible person in an individual’s life is always a parent. An overly protective parent, a tyrant or a well-balanced individual; each bring out a different personality trait in a child. A traumatic childhood under a parent who gave emotional scars to the child often creates a depressed and timid individual who is scared to face the world. Our childhood memories also define how we will be as parents when we take on the role later on in life.
2) Grandparents: The best memories of any child are often of the time spent with their grandparents. These are the people who pamper them and who assume the next prominent position in moulding the child. Lack of love or cruelty from this group usually scar the child forever.
3) Siblings: After the parents, come the siblings of an individual. Except in very rare cases, most of us face sibling rivalry. If they are nearer to our age, the more the chances that we will hate their very existence. They give us our first mental messages. You are a loser/ cheater/liar. We try to please them and try constantly to be in their good books if they are elder and try to rule them if they are younger. We get majorly influenced by these companions. But when there is love between the siblings, the bond plays a major role in the development of the child. The first lessons in love, sharing and caring are often given by siblings.
4) Friends: Once we start going out to play and later on pre-school, we meet and make new friends. They become our next critics, our idols and a major factor in shaping our character. If a child faces bullying early on in life, they become scared of being among people, they inevitably turn to be timid introverts. But if they get a peer group that is encouraging, they are always ready to go out in the world and conquer. Friends change according to the different phases in life and each group is responsible for planting a new set of ideas.
5) Teachers: Human beings remain students for the first quarter of their lives. A very skilled teacher can change a student forever by providing the apt encouragement and push in the right direction. A cruel teacher by crushing the self-confidence of the student can adversely affect his/her character development. I believe hence that the role of a teacher is the most important one in society.
6) Spouse: When one gets married, we often believe every word uttered by our spouse. If they praise us, we believe it. We heart their comments. We are broken by their harsh criticism. Often people change after marriage. Some become a pale shadow of their former selves while some others bloom into better individuals. Everything depends on the environment we create in our married life. It is useless to cling on to a relationship that is killing you from the inside just for keeping up appearances in the society.
7) Children: We reach the beginning of the companionship cycle here, but now the role is reversed. Some become wonderful parents, while some others should not be allowed miles near a child even if they are the birth parents. Some fail to cope up with the pressures that parenting brings, while some others shine.
In our lifetime, these companions provide the lessons we need to learn. We are souls having a human experience. The companions we acquire are said to be pre-decided according to the lessons the soul wish to learn during this lifetime. If the companionship is based on love, we bloom. If hatred exists between the companions, we shrink and die out.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with says motivational speaker and Guru Jim Rohn. Do you agree with this statement? Which companion has been the major influence in your life?