I find this a very interesting post to write. Interesting because I have spent time teaching about this from the Christian perspective and watching real life examples. For the sake of this post, I am talking about the negative aspect of the question that is our title. The title of today’s post is essentially asking this question; Are the people around you, the things you listen to/read/watch on television/internet and even the food you are consuming on a regular basis taking over who you are and contributing to not just a negative self-image, but to negative behaviors that at one time were completely uncharacteristic of you?
A person that says nothing or no one has the ability to influence them is a person that is living a life under the veil of deception. Every time you have contact with another person influence is exerted be it you influencing someone or someone influencing you. This influence is part of why we choose to listen to, learn from, and allow various people into our lives. Where this becomes an issue is when what you are listening to for guidance is completely and utterly wrong. It’s a very unfortunate fact that some people don’t like hearing or experiencing the truth. The bible says it this way in 2Timothy 4:3-4 according to the Amplified Translation:
3For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
4And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.
This passage of scripture in and of itself is why you need to always have people of integrity in your life that will tell you the truth, even if it’s not what you want to hear because what we want as people isn’t always what’s best for us as people. All of us have a few basic mental/social needs that need to be fulfilled. We all want to feel loved, wanted, needed, and appreciated and when you aren’t fulfilled in these areas then you begin to go out and seek it in places that you shouldn’t.
So when the people that you go to for counsel or comfort are people with no integrity, they can steadily feed you everything but what you need in order for you to feel fulfilled in an area of your life. This causes you to lower your defenses and be open to what ever crap people want you to feel, think and do. If you eat poisonous food and never receive an antidote, you will die from the poison. So if this is true of your physical, why wouldn’t it be true for the rest of you? If you continually take in poisonous talk about people and never hear the truth, you will eventually believe a lie and live as if that lie is the truth. Once you have bought into a lie and believe that it’s true, it is so easy for you to be manipulated into accepting that things/behaviors that you’ve always held as wrong or immoral are now okay for you to do.
I’ll close this post with one of those old sayings that I believe is applicable to this topic is:
Show me your friends and I will show you you.