When I started my journey to self-discovery and learning about becoming the best possible version of myself, this quote resonated with me and has been a daily affirmation that I have carried and practiced ever since. At first, I didn’t quite understand the true validity of it all but now I know the importance of who we have in our life and who we surround ourselves with.

There was a point in my life where independence was my golden rule. I didn’t let people in, I was the strong one. The one who could handle anything. I was the yes girl, the one who everyone came to when they needed help and I happily obliged and took pleasure in helping others. That is what I did, I was a giver, a helper.  Don’t get me wrong, I still am today but things have changed quite a bit.    

You see, there came a time in the recent past where I crashed. I hit my rock bottom, I was diagnosed with major burnout which led to PTSD, anxiety and depression and my life came to a staggering halt. I literally was forced to do some serious internal reflection and recognize that some of my behaviors were not healthy for me. I had to change these behaviors or things would have continued to get worse.

So began the journey of my self discovery.

While learning about myself, my behaviors and relationships and having to rely on others I was humbly reminded of how I actively contributed to where I was. I realized that I needed boundaries, that I needed to be more vulnerable and to let people in. I had to heal and deal with past events and most importantly to be my true authentic self and understand what I need and not sacrifice myself to help others. Bottom line, I had to come first.

Throughout this process and this realization, I have lost dear friends, made new ones and found out who really valued my friendship and discovered who I really was, to the core. They say that those who stick around for the tough times are truly the people who love you. I have learned this lesson and I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. But, through my struggles and focusing on creating authentic relationships I turned what was the toughest moment of my life into a beautiful thing where I was able to recognize and foster healthy relationships in my life. I learned the true value of who you decide to let into your life and how it impacts how you live on a day to day basis.

When you surround yourself with people that lift you up, encourage you and support you, you quickly learn that your standards are increased, you perform at a higher standard, you operate at your best and you live a quality of life you are proud of. But, if you surround yourself with people who are negative, who put you down, who secretly don’t want you to succeed, then unfortunately that is who you become.

So, be empowered, choose you, want better and take a lesson from my book that t I have learned throughout this whole process. That lesson is to surround yourself with the people who you want to become and that having authentic relationships is a two way street. It takes work. It takes commitment. It takes change. It takes support. It takes vulnerability. It takes lifting others up when they are down. It takes showing up. It takes being present. It takes making healthy boundaries. Just wishing you had more amazing people in your life is not going to make it happen. Change makes it happen.

The beautiful thing about it all, is that when you have those amazing people in your life, when you are dedicated to change,  it is truly the best gift you could ever wish for. The value of being surrounded by women and men who lift you up and encourage you to be your best, who want you to succeed, who are supportive, who loves you for you and who shows up for you, you can’t put a price tag on that.

I encourage you to be the best version of yourself, to dive into learning about you, to strive to be the best you can be and to actively practice working on you and creating authentic relationships. Practice the qualities you wish to see in others and put an effort in. We live in a world where knowledge is at our fingertips, take advantage of that and surround yourself with people who have the qualities you wish for and play an active role in creating the life you desire.

Our lives are driven every day by the choices we make, you have control over how you spend this time on earth, who you have in your life and how you decide to show up. So decide well and be the best version of yourself possible. When you work on you, you will be amazed on who you attract in your life.

Gina Keeping-Taverner: Life Empowerment Coach

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