Who do you want to be? Who do you hang out with? These are two interconnected and related questions. I have learned that if I want to be someone who is kind, inclusive, truthful, generous and compassionate, it is important to spend time with people who embody these virtues.
We need people in our lives who can demonstrate what kindness or compassion look like everyday. Spending time with others who are other-centered helps me to see the everyday choices that this involves. This gives me the opportunity to make similar choices.
Conversely, if I spend time with people who are self-centered, self-focused or interested in living a life of comfort, then I will begin to experience these dysfunctions as “normal.”
How do children learn to make choices? From watching the choices that adults close to them make. How do we learn? The same way. We learn by watching the choices made by those whom we admire.
Where to find people who embody virtuous choices? Volunteer at a homeless shelter or a non-profit near you. Chances are good you will meet other volunteers, homeless women and children and others struggling who demonstrate these virtues daily. Sometimes churches are good places too – though that’s not a guarantee.
Therefore, to become the person you want to be, think carefully about who you spend your time with. Who do you hang with?