The Company You Keep
*Photo by Justin Patterson

The Company You Keep

(Or being around the wrong person will turn you into a terrible person)

    Not too long ago, I figured something out about the people I had allowed into my life, in what was starting to look like a repeating pattern. That is, people who weren’t good for me. Toxic people. Selfish people. People with chronic aimlessness. At some subconscious level I must have thought I could help them somehow, but the truth is, the only people who can help us are ourselves. And I needed to help myself get away from certain characters who would only continue to suck the life out of me and leave me with no energy left for my own endeavors. Here’s what I found out, and when it hit me, I couldn’t “unsee” it anymore.
    “If you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas”. The company you keep affects you more than you would ever think. If you surround yourself with positive people, who are ambitious in their lives, it will rub off on you. People who have a plan, and are following it. People who are healthy minded and open-minded. People who inspire you and have something to teach you. 
    Now I’m not saying that people who don’t fit into this category don’t have anything to offer, they DO! Everyone has a purpose in being here on earth, and everyone you encounter is here for a reason. However, if someone is negative, whiny, overly competitive, untrustworthy, lazy, or aimless….RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION. These people will suck the life out of you and leave you an empty shell, with nothing left for yourself.  If they happen to be your boss, tread lightly and start looking for a new job. 
    Sometimes…there will be people who can never be wrong….who can’t take responsibility…who will make everything your fault…who aim to bring you down. There are a few names for this personality trait, but I’m not a psychologist. These people can be sneaky, masquerading as some type of person who would be good for you. THEY ARE NOT! Once you see them for who they are, RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION! 
    You might have that boyfriend who won’t get off the couch, get a job, or procure rent from his freeloading friends, while complaining that he can’t afford a cup of coffee out with his girl….dump him. He’s a child, and you are not his mother. Don’t try to change him, or raise him, (or anyone for that matter) you won’t succeed. Just move on with your Bulletproof Bette life and chalk it up to inexperience. 
    Here’s my personal policy about it: once you see people for who they are, the responsibility of doing what is best for you, is up to you.
See, I don’t want to spend one minute of my time or one ounce of energy on creating suffering or negativity in this world. It’s the same reason I HATE GOSSIP. Its hard enough to stay positive, and having someone like that around is not only taking energy away from what I should be spending it on, but also calling into question my compassion for others. I don’t need that. Since I’m also not anyone’s therapist, it’s not for me to try to change others. 
Now if you happen to figure out that YOU are the toxic person…you know what to do. Go fix yourself. Try to put into the world something better. Go to therapy and be willing to look inward. Amazingly…I found out that the people I had allowed to be close to me (including people that by social standards I continue to have to keep in my life) had made me an unhealthy person. When I limited their reach into my world….everything got so much more peaceful. Magic.
    Boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, moms, dads, siblings, extended family, lovers, friends with benefits, etc.; if they lift you up (and you, them, it’s a two way street) keep ‘em. If they bring you down, lose ‘em. If they are family, set boundaries. You DO NOT have to be friends with everybody! Sometimes you don’t see it for a good while, even years. But once you do see it, it’s up to you to be bulletproof and make a change. 


Bulletproof Bette shares her wisdom in the first ever Showgirl’s Guide to surviving and thriving in a city and industry that wants to eat you for lunch. Get exclusive content when you sign up below!