A very best friend of mine told me how, when she was a teenager, her mom used to always say, "Show me who you're with and I'll tell you who you are." This was her way of telling her children that regardless of how individualistic or independent they might have thought themselves to be, no matter who you are, you are inevitably influenced the most by the people you spend the most time with.
This isn't a super new concept but, I've recently been around a whole lot of really incredible people and, I have to tell you, I think their incredible is rubbing off on me a little bit. And I like it.
But, I can vividly remember many times and many long seasons of my life when I surrounded myself with and/or subjected myself to people who were not the best of influences.
A bad influence doesn't just have the potential to make you do something wrong. A bad influence could also just make you feel sort of "off."
Before I recognized my need to be more intentional about the influences I allowed in my life there were many times when I would walk away from a lunch or a conversation not really knowing why but feeling sort of crappy afterwards. Maybe we talked about something that left me feeling down or we talked about someone which made me feel like a jerk because I was totally being hypocritical and compromising my integrity by gossiping when I say (or convince myself) that I don't do that.
Influence's impact is not limited to people. This has happened to me with t.v. before too. Have you ever found yourself watching something that left you really drained after you turned it off? Or maybe you were left in a bit of a negative mood or you felt more combative or maybe you were suddenly beating yourself up for your looks or struggling with something body image wise because you were somewhat unknowingly being negatively influenced by what you chose to subject yourself to. (I've had this happen with certain songs too but I think you get the picture so I won't belabor the point any further.)
Maybe you need to install an Influence Filtration system. It won't happen overnight but, there's probably a few things and maybe even a few people in your life that are mucking up your tank a bit. You know what though? You're the only one who's going to be able to make a change that will ensure that you stay clear and true to who you really are as opposed to being diluted by the bad influences of other people, places (Yes places... Hello!), and things all directly or indirectly imparting some of themselves upon you.
You know I'm only ever sharing things with you that I've learned the hard way myself. It's always written with love and believing the best in all the wonderful people I imagine read this.