Jordan B. Peterson wrote a book I read several months ago called 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. While I may not fully agree with everything written in that book, much of it stood out. In fact so much of it stood out that I began thinking about my own life a little differently.
One of his rules is to only surround yourself with those who want the best for you.
Sounds simple enough, right? In fact, you’re probably thinking you’re already do this.
But this is a hard rule. We accumulate people throughout our lives, sometimes in seemingly random ways. And, after we’ve accumulated them, we become attached and don’t want to see them go, even if this ends up not being in our best interest.
Of course, there are people we feel we must include in our lives, such as family or coworkers, or other people we are forced to interact with on a regular basis.
But how many of you have actually taken the time to assess your relationships? Have you examined whether people in your life really want the best for you and whether you really want the best for them?
When I met my husband, the thing that stood out to me was that he, indeed, did want the best for me. In fact, far more than anyone else in my life, he has pushed me beyond my comfort zone and encouraged me to do things that before seemed impossible or that never registered on my radar. Now, after seeing his example, I hope that he can say I’ve begun to do the same for him.
To go back to Peterson, siince my husband and I began changing our eating habits and subsequently our other habits half a year ago, this life lesson of Jordan B. Peterson really has resonated with me, having indelibly found its place in my new life.
While, in the last several months, I felt great and began looking better than I thought I ever had before, I noticed that others did not always share in my enthusiasm. In fact, people purposely tried to sabotage my attempts, told me I was too skinny, accused me of being only focused on looks, and distanced themselves from my life.
When a friend of mine, who did and does want the best for me, saw how happy I was eating in a new way, she, too, decided to give it a try. I encouraged her, of course. However, I also warned her, “you will experience blowback, and it will be unexpected.”
Now, I don’t know if she believed me or not then, but she, too, in time experienced what I was warning her of. You see, I’m not alone.
It seems that many of us are dealing with those relationships where we have to stop and take a minute to really analyze the gain vs the pain.
Do we want to surround ourselves with people who get frustrated with us for being happier? Do we want to have people in our lives who want us to go back to where we were so that they can have someone at their level?
Jordan B. Peterson, in fact, has another rule that goes along well with this one, and that is: Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to where you were yesterday.
Since starting Keto, that has been my husband’s and my own goal as individuals and as a couple.
We are making strides, developing new habits, and taking on new challenges. Each day we try to be better than we were before.
For example, I’ve gotten better in the kitchen and started embarking on a new career that before I never had the confidence to even fathom. He’s developing an exercise routine and training himself as a runner. We do not allow ourselves to compare ourselves to other people, for that will only lead us, and anyone for that matter, to feeling bad about something, for it is not hard to understand that there will always be someone prettier, or with a nicer car, or with a seemingly happier disposition. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are consistently working towards new goals for yourself, that each new day brings more joy and pride than the one before it.
Which leads us right back to “only surround yourself with those who want the best for you.”
And of course, it can’t be a one-way street. You, too, have to be that person to others.
Which is why my husband and I try so hard to help others by encouraging them to do what will bring benefits to them, both in the short-term and the long-term.
In fact, Will even decided to dedicate his nonworking time to helping four people with personal health coaching. For him, a man who works out of town all week, this is a sacrifice from family time. But it is worth it.
You see, I am so excited for him to help others, for we’ve found that true happiness and true fulfillment comes from becoming part of a community and becoming someone who enriches others’ lives.
Last Sunday, in all the chaos of meal prep and cleaning and preparing for my first week of training for a new job, he and I made sure to finish typing up recipes and devising a tailored plan for someone I had known from my teenage years. We were busy, probably too busy for this, but it made us happy; we wanted the best for this person. We wanted to show her some tools to getting her life and energy back. Many of my prayers had been for her success. We were beyond rooting for her.
Unfortunately, as the story goes, no good deed goes unpunished. This person decided not to have my husband help her.
Her reason, vitriolic gossip.
She unfortunately succumbed to some not-so-pretty language about me having to do with my weight and writings about a Keto diet and how I hoped and continue to hope that people find health in a better way of eating.
Of course, from this, the question arises? Whom do we let influence us? Are we being influenced by people who want the best for us, or those who do not have that interest even in mind?
And, are we so engrained in being stagnant that we become enraged when others want better for us than we do? Do we need to better find our own worth so that we can recognize when someone wants what’s best for us?
Furthermore, for those who lose weight and find people around you discouraging you, you must ask yourself, are they comparing themselves to you? Are they wanting you to keep on the weight and continue to feel bad to justify their own lifestyle? Is it as simple as misery loves company?
With people who don’t want the best for you, you have a right to decide. Should they stay or should they go?
And, as it should go without saying, we all should look at our own behaviors to determine whether we’re living this ideal or falling short.
And, a last word of suggestion: next time you see someone working towards goals, don’t encourage them when they have that inevitable cheat item or relapse. Don’t encourage them to give up all together. Don’t encourage them to revert back to old ways that weren’t working for them. Instead, show them that you see their newfound gains and happiness, and help them continue to reach for their ideal.