Surround yourself with (please also read the part 2 link)

surround yourself with love

****I ask you to please read part 2 of this post at this link before commenting on either of these posts. Part 2 clarifies and revises what I said here.

Do you find that people still can dishearten you, distract you, break your heart or even destroy you? I think all of us have days like that. We tell our children to ‘stick with the right crowd’. We know (at least intellectually) that it is important to be with people that share our values. If you worship God and desire to follow Him closely, odds are that you also know that it is unwise and treacherous to hang around with a bunch of people that regularly mock God and do not wish to follow Him. As a matter of fact, they will always try to pull you away from Him. ***Revision after some thought***–>Actually what I was trying to say is that if you are at a vulnerable or tenuous time in your own life, and trying to heal, it can be especially detrimental to hang around with people who try to shake your confidence and determination to be emotionally or physically or spiritually healthy through  unkind or cruel actions. At those times it is essential to surround yourself with people you can count on to be loving and supportive.

My dad always told us, and later his grandchildren, that if you have “gotten yourself together” and someone who is still “lost” wants to hang around with you, your initial temptation will be to permit it because your goal has become to “help that person get him/herself together. He would say, “no, don’t do it”. Why? Was my dad lacking compassion or forgiveness? Oh, definitely not! His point was well taken, though. He said “it is as though you are standing on top of a chair. The person that is lost, or misbehaving, or whatever, is standing on the floor facing your chair and you. It is far easier for the person on the floor to pull you down off the chair and onto the floor than it is for you to pull the person up onto the chair with you.

That is why it is sometimes so very easy for someone to pull you down or bring you down. I think of that sometimes when some cutting remark or rotten attitude in another person ends up emotionally destroying me for a period of time. It is always such a shock! My dad would tell me–when you see them coming’ by golly high-tail it out of there. Do not give them the opportunity.  Of course the question for me sometimes is this: how do you surround yourself with loving, supportive people if at this point in time you are actually surrounded by people who seem to enjoy knocking you down or tearing you apart? I pray. I pray for strength. I try to find loving and supportive people. I tell myself I AM worth it. I tell myself “no, the bullies are wrong; nothing I did has caused nor justified their perilous behavior. If I am at a time or place where I truly have no one….I volunteer somewhere. If the people at that place are also unkind or not supportive, I volunteer elsewhere. Blogging has introduced me to loving people all over the world. Kindness begets kindness, doesn’t it? [“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24}

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
This entry was posted in faith/courage/miracles/hope and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Surround yourself with (please also read the part 2 link)

    • Kate Kresse says:

      thanks! can you see my sidebar and badges and widgets on this post? or on yesterdays posts? i think i did something wrong when i posted this…Never mind. I think it was 2 of the photos i put in that i found on the web. they must have had a bug in them. i removed them.

  1. gwen07 says:

    “If you worship God and desire to follow Him closely, odds are that you also know that it is unwise and treacherous to hang around with a bunch of people that regularly mock God and do not wish to follow Him. As a matter of fact, they will always try to pull you away from Him.”

    Kate, this statement is a bit too generalized – I have a fairly atheistic view when it comes to religious belief. I was raised a Catholic and intelligent enough at a young age to question the church and belief in a supreme being in general. As a result, I have formed a quite different view in this matter. That is who I am. In no way do I expect my friends and acquaintances to change their religious beliefs in order to remain friends. I respect the right of others to believe as they wish. In no way would I want to pull them “away” to where you say non-believers are. I believe a person can be the good that others seek out in religious endeavors. I do not mock the God of others – to the contrary, I truly hope there is one. If there is a God, I only know that s/he must exist for more than sports teams, victory for warring entities, the haves, the infidels, wealth, and the superiority of one gender over another. Yes, we’ve been given (?) free-will but I will work tirelessly to give mouth to the ugliness that a free-will can manifest. I cannot blame these manifestations on any one God. For me, it is easier to be the GOODNESS that I would want in a belief system. Again, that is who I am – at my core.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      I agree. The way I wrote it was an oversimplification. I was referring to people who openly and ardently bully and demean you for your beliefs and try to throw you off center. Obviously that crosses all lines — it can happen in any religion or system of beliefs. I was more specifically trying to talk about someone who had been an addict who is now a devout Christian. Some of his former friends (who are still addicts) tried to pull him down and openly demean him for his now true religious beliefs. He was not trying to convert them–he was just going about his changed and sober daily life. In his case, for his 12 step journey, he needed to avoid those people who could still easily pull him down due to the residue of emotional influence from the past.

      So yes, I over generalized (more than a little). I actually should have clarified that I was talking about people that bully or try to demean you. I truly am sorry. and you are right—the exercise of free-will often does result in ugliness. and you ARE the Goodness….I am sorry for being offensive.

  2. Susan Michaels says:

    Wow…another timely post…thanks so much, Kate. I just had to tell you that this post confirmed a situation I faced this week where God asked me to simply put myself in the ‘attacker’s’ shoes…( a person who got angry and attacked out of the blue!) The Lord asked me to listen and to be gentle and caring in my response…to not look at the offense but to try to understand the heart of this person (and to let her know I valued her and wouldn’t allow anything to change that). The same applied with another person a couple months ago, who attacked but who I knew was facing great duress and was lashing out at anyone she could. Wondrous and amazing how God’s love covers a multitude of offenses…our own…and others. Thank the Lord! Powerfully written post! Thanks again!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      oh gosh Susan—that is so apt and so beautiful. If an attacked person is strong enough to do that, so much healing can happen. If they are not strong enough to do that without falling apart they need to rest in the arms of God and gain strength from Him. Susan—you are so empowering and affirming. What is your new job?

  3. Good word here! I’ve used that same illustration that your Dad told you (the chair) many, many times especially when talking to my own kids and other teens. It’s so true.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      i know. it really hit home with my son after he had been through some tough times. In order to get his healing and changes to become an integral part of him, it was essential that he hang out with people that were extremely like-minded. It was, in a sense i guess, an emotional vaccination to protect him until the “attitude/action transplant” really stuck.

  4. Aimee says:

    Very true. I have noticed this with some of my own friends too. It’s great if we can find ways to reach out to those around us who are not doing well, but we need to use discernment in how to do that so that we are not “pulled off the chair.”

  5. Terri O.A. says:

    How true!!! You certainly deserve “good.” Did you know that I wrote that last poem with you in mind? Of course, you didn’t. You are a precious light!!

  6. Debbie says:

    Hi Kate! I have a blogger friend whose been hurt by online comments. I fully understand and honor your intent here. You’re all about hope and encouragement. That’s why the Candle Lighter award is so special. I’ve nominated you for the ABC Award today. Seems to be one of the few you don’t have and a lovely way to get to know you better! 😉

    • Kate Kresse says:

      What is the ABC AWard? I thank you in advance.I am so sorry that your friend has been hurt by online comments. I surely hope that she is now surrounded by loving support.

  7. phylor says:

    Sorry that you feel vulnerable and under attack at times. You are a very special woman, with strong faith and committment; I hope you always surround yourself with good people — but then good people tend to attract good people and so on.
    Good luck to the person who was trying to do his 12 steps — his former “friends” weren’t ready to hear what he had to say from his heart. Speaking from the heart isn’t easy.
    I hope your son has found the kind of people to surround himself with who are good for his healing. There are lots of good people out there; sometimes it can be harder than others to find them.
    I’m glad I found you.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Thanks—I do try to surround myself with good people. I am inexpressibly grateful for the good people that do bless my life. God sends them into my life at just the right times. I wonder sometimes why it is that sometimes good people have to go through so much emotional difficulties or trauma. It breaks my heart to see people get hurt. I wish i could prevent it from happening to people. I think all we can do, each of us my friend, is to try to reach out to people and offer them solace, kindness and a’safe place’. My son has found some people who are good for his healing.. . and his relationship with us is incredibly good, incredibly close. So that, too is a dear blessing. Phylor, know that as much as I can, I walk with you on your ongoing journey. I am truly glad I found you too—you are a blessing.

  8. Madeline Lund says:

    Loved the chair illustration! The Lord himself hung around with 12 people who supported him and believed in him even when they did not understand him. Not a bad model to follow. It is that kind of support system that gives us the ability to carry on our daily ministry, to learn patience, to heal, to forgive, to help, to love others. Blessed to be a blessing! And Kate, you are!

  9. sarsm says:

    Your article has made me think.

    I have spent my life surrounding myself with people who are quite different to me. Different religions, cultures and lifestyles. I’ve always encouraged my children to show openess to other peoples values. I think our society is enriched by our differences and that we should listen to each other and tolerate each other. Of course, as well as differences my friends and I also have things in common – or those friendships couln’t work.

    I’ve always pushed myself to be open minded. Probably because my parents weren’t actually.

    My MIL has joined a religion, however, with which I have major issues. Next month my nephew will be christened. She is not allowed to attend the ceremony (she would be shunned by those in her church), she’s not allowed to celebrate her own birthday or those of her family and last year she called me and told me that the catastophic events that took place in Japan last year were her fault because she hadn’t persuaded my husband, myself and our children to turn to her faith.
    I would actually fit into the catergory of trying to take her away from her faith because I truly believe the path she has chosen is dividing her from her family and making her deeply unhappy. So much so, that if it wasn’t forbidden in her faith, I suspect she would try to take her own life.

    I’m a great believer in respect. If people respect you, generally, they will respect the choices you make and they of course, won’t bully you.

    I’ve never heard that chair analogy before. I’m pretty uncomfortable with the thought of considering myself as standing above someone else. But if I’m honest, I do at times see someone as being on another level to me because of their behaviour.
    It’s a thought-provoking analogy. People do often ‘bring you down’ and make you feel bad. No doubt because of the issues they have in their own lives. But I guess, in all truth we all have our issues, but we don’t all choose to bully and belittle.

    I think that you are absolutely right that the people you choose to have around you should be those who make you feel strong and feel good about yourself. People who offer you love and comfort.

    It’s easy to see that you’re a warm and loving person, sensitive to the needs of others, from your blog and the comments you leave on the blogs of others.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      I guess I wasn’t as clear as I meant to be. I actually wasn’t trying to say ‘each stick to your own kind’ or be intolerant of those different, or that they are a danger. I was more specifically talking about the case where someone has been struggling—for example with depression, or substance abuse, or having been abused or bullied. In those cases, it can be quite treacherous or detrimental for that person to spend time around the exact people that were a huge part of the person’s downfall. For example, if it was a group of friends that the person going through 12-step used to do drugs with, or it is a group of people that emotionally abused the person….no matter how much the person has now healed and grown, it may be an ever-present danger for that person to be around those people. Often, someone who is really tender hearted and compassionate yet has been emotionally abused will have forgiven the persons that abused him/her. this forgiving person will figure it’s fine to be with those abusers(whether they were emotional bullies or drug abusers). yet the abusers haven’t changed. In those cases, the forgiving person can’t risk their own emotional health by being around them. The ones who are still abusing can pull the person down with them.

      the reason my dad used the chair analogy is because in the cases he was referring to, the person had risen above their own flaws, foibles, and errors. the crowd that the person had previously associated with while engaging in bad behaviors could be an impediment to the improved behavior. thank you for your kind words.

  10. Kate we owe it to ourselves to make sure we are surrounded by people that support us and make us feel good. After I turned 50 ten years ago, I learned to say ‘no’ and I cut myself loose from the people who were not really there for me or who took me down emotionally because it wreaked havoc with my physical health. It was hard. Some of those people had been in my life since kindergarten! But I plan to spend the rest of my life with people who make me a better person and support me and, yes, tell me when they think I need a little correction 🙂 I hear you. I understand. Thank you for this post!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      oh you SO get it!!! i reached the same conclusion last year after i came down with Bell’s Palsy due to my stress etc. We deserve affirmation and love. sweet days under the oaks indeed!!

  11. sarsm says:

    Ah, I understand the chair analogy better now, thank you!!!

    I can really relate to what you say about abusers. I have some personal issues in this area. I think the abuser can’t change because they can’t see or accept they do something wrong. In my situation it’s a family member and that makes it very difficult to delete them from my life. So I end up forgiving and the situation stays the same.
    I didn’t speak to them for 18 months, but I wondered if that’s what my headaches were about so I called them in the New Year. I’m trying to keep my ‘respect me’ stance at the moment. Time can only tell how things will go. I’ll keep your perceptive words in my mind and try to stay strong. x

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Sarah—here is my plan…i am writing a follow-up post explaining the context etc. I respect your perspective here and i am asking…do you think it would be better in that follow-up post to have it be a re-write and remove the original? I cannot live with creating the erroneous impression that i am bigoted or unaccepting of various kinds of people….i have been praying for your headaches. get back to me when you can. i wish you love.

  12. sarsm says:

    Oh no!!! I didn’t mean to insinuate that you’re bigoted!! Please don’t think that. Your post is very thought provoking. I like posts which make me look internally at my own workings and think about my own behaviour. Your post did exactly that!

    You made me for example, think about my own treatment of my mum-in-law. I wanted to explain that I really am a person who is open-minded to the beliefs of others but your article made me think about how I don’t accept the beliefs of my MIL because I think they are bad for her, and I worry about her.

    I don’t think you should rewrite your post at all – and contrary to bigoted, I think you are one of the nicest bloggers around.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Regarding your mum-in-law here is my 2 cents. I think perhaps we can agree with someone’s rights to believe whatever they choose. We can also, quite correctly, that by exercising their right to believe what they choose that we can see those beliefs are bad/unhealthy/ or unwise for them. But I think because you and I are kind, nice people, we think we have to always accept someone else’s beliefs. But we don’t. For instance, we don’t accept the belief that Aryans were the superior race and had the right to eliminate the Jewish people from the face of the earth. If we knew someone that suddenly took on that belief system,no matter how much we love them, we cannot accept those ideas.

      There were times in my life when a friend or two fell in with ‘cults’ and of course were trying to convert all of us to their cult. I had to step away from the friendship because i was afraid that i would be swayed by their influence over me. I had to do the same thing when some of my friends got into drugs.
      and thanks for the nice things you said about me. you’re a wonderful, wonderful person. i wish you lots of love today.

  13. sonsothunder says:

    I understand exactly what you were saying. I am certain the Holy Spirit witness’s to us if we begin to mingle around the wrong people, For the wrong reasons…Otherwise, we are to be a light unto all people. It certainly is a wonderful idea, pertinent, even , for parents to raise a child up with cautious awareness to their surroundings. People skills, and values, instilling a sort of intuition about these things. Which is exactly what takes place when our heavenly Father anoints us with discernment. Bless You

    • Kate Kresse says:

      thanks, Paul. Discernment is definitely one of the keys—and a skill that takes a lifetime to really get great at applying to situations! With each experience we learn a little more and acquire a bit more wisdom, too. thanks for commenting 🙂

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