Shaping Influences Make You

Everything you will become began with others.

Your parents are the first shaping influence in your life. Many others followed. Teachers, friends, coaches, mentors, bosses, co-workers, even brief interactions with strangers contribute to who you are becoming.

Image of a potter's hands.

Everything you will become began with others.

Shaping influences:

#1. You are who you are in relation to others.

John Donne wrote:

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;”

#2. You are who you are because of your response to others.

Responses to wrongs and offenses shape you. Forgiveness enlarges you. Resentment diminishes you.

Even the people you don’t like shape you.

Your response to praise tests you. Taken poorly, praise grows into the illusion of self-sufficiency. You begin thinking, “I’m ‘all that.’”

Your response to challenge strengthens or weakens you. Turn from challenge and you grow a little weaker. Habitually turn from challenge and apathy sets in.

Responses shape you.

#3. You are who you are because others saw something in you.

There was a time in your life when the confidence of another set you free. They helped you dare.

Confidence is connected to the crowd that stands with you.

#4. You are who you are because someone corrected you.

The lens you use to see yourself is foggy and distorted. Perhaps you magnify your self-importance, or you dimmish yourself.

If you’re fortunate, someone cleaned your lens and helped you see yourself more clearly. They brought up self-defeating behaviors or confronted inconsistencies.

You need others to see yourself.

Made rich:

I’m reflecting on the people who make me rich. Some are local and long-term friends. Others I’ve never met in person. One is my high school sweetheart.

Becoming your best self is done in connection, not isolation.

How have others shaped you?

How might you contribute to the shaping of others?