As you have probably guessed, this week’s theme is about what influences us. When Kitty and Shonna and I came up with this topic several weeks ago, we determined that we meant outside influences. Maybe it is the emotional journey I have been enmeshed in for so long or maybe something else, but I can’t seem to think of any outside influences that are not at least an indirect result of my internal, mental and emotional influences.
The more I consider this topic, the more I realize that what I think not only motivates me to do (or not), but it also filters what I hear and understand and believe. If I believe I’m intelligent and capable of learning, I’ll hear and draw strength from those voices of friends and others. If I don’t believe I’m capable, I probably won’t even hear blatant encouragement. If I do hear it, I’ll discount it. So what I think about myself, my abilities and my possibilities in large part determines what influences me.
As our regular readers know, I’ve been through an emotional year and a half. I’m on the healing side of that journey, but I still need what a dear friend calls “reality checks” every so often. Periodically, she would share an event or opinion and ask for my perception. She wanted to know if her feelings and actions were appropriate or if she had misconstrued something. By getting another person’s perspective, she can better adjust, or reinforce, her mental influencers.
My major reality check influence is the Bible. I’ve chosen to base my life on its principles. There have been times when what I read conflicted with what I thought or accepted. Because of my choice to believe and live by the Bible, I had to adjust my thinking. That hasn’t always been easy. (How can I live if I die? How do I become rich by becoming poor? Am I really loved so much the Creator of All pursues, protects and provides for me?) But I choose to believe and in the process, have found strength and purpose through difficult times.
“How To Live Right When Life Goes Wrong” by Leslie Vernick has been a huge influence this year. I’ve read that book and “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” multiple times in the past months. (Despite its title, it is more about recognizing and creating emotionally healthy relationships.)
My friends and my family rallied around me. They believed in me when I doubted myself. They encouraged and prodded and supported me through some very dark days. One friend in particular made a point to articulate those areas where I excelled. (I didn’t believe her for months, but finally some of her words took root and replaced the negativity and self-condemnation that filled my mind.)
God, books and friends. Seems like appropriate influencers for a writer. Wouldn’t you agree?