“Your tribe affects your vibe!”
How many times have you heard this cute manifestation/motivation catchphrase, or posted a cute quote graphic to your Facebook feed with the caption, “THIS”?
Let’s hallucinate for a moment that it’s true (it is, by the way, which we will get to in a moment).
How do you feel after you spend time with the five people you see most?
This could be family members, your spouse, your friends, or your co-workers.
Do you feel uplifted, confident, and supported?
Or do you feel unconfident, drained, and negative?
The quality of your life depends on the answer to that question. Yes, it really is that important.
Studies show that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with: in income, success levels, mindset, and life satisfaction.
Your tribe doesn’t just affect your vibe, but also your beliefs, thoughts, finances, and potential.
If your tribe:
don’t support you;
are a walking, talking Bitch & Whine Festival;
freely offer criticism without praise; or
rain on your parade with negativity ...
... it’s time for a little loving butt kickery, delivered courtesy of yours truly.
We’ll also cover practical, actionable tips for surrounding yourself with like-minded people who support your growth and goals and share your mindset.
An inconvenient, uncomfortable but important truth: If you want to manifest an extraordinary life, you need to limit influences that keep you playing small. That’s why sometimes spiritual awakenings or personal development can feel so lonely.
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to cut negative people out of your life altogether. You may not be able to talk them into changing with you, but you absolutely can protect your energy, stay above the negativity, and inspire through example. This post will show you how to do that.
The social tax of changing your life
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve had a spiritual awakening, done a lot of personal development work, started a business, cleaned up your diet, gotten married, gone sober, quit smoking, or learned to set boundaries ... and felt a shitload of social resistance?
If you’ve landed on this blog post, I’m guessing you might even be going through that right now.
From a manifestation perspective, your inner projection equals your outer perception. In other words, you attract what you are an energetic match for.
Manifestation theory is that if you had no resistance around the change yourself, you simply wouldn’t register others’ criticism, negativity or resistance in your experience because we can’t see anything outside of us that isn’t us.
But there are other reasons why social resistance to change is so common.
Generally speaking, have you ever started thinking positive, doing the affirmations and meditating, and still had terrible days, or felt tremendous resistance? You might think ‘I’m obviously not doing it right, because I’m still getting all of this resistance’.
What’s actually happening is that the reality you are in RIGHT NOW is a reflection of where you were vibrating IN THE PAST, not where you’re currently vibrating.
In the context of friendships and relationships, the same applies. The tribe you have around you right now is a reflection of your past vibrational frequency.
This means that all of a sudden, their vibration and yours are a mismatch, which creates contrast.
Remember the movie The Devil Wears Prada where Andy has a new job and all of a sudden she can’t hang out with her friends all the time? She has an internship at a prestigious magazine as the editor’s personal assistant, a position every aspiring journalist would kill for.
Hanging out at bars with her friends every night was no longer an option. Her friends mocked her, criticized her, and at one point openly sabotaged her by playing a game of keep away with her phone when Miranda called.
Andy was growing up. She was fresh out of college and she had landed a very prestigious entry level job in her dream career.
Instead of seeing a huge opportunity for their friend, they saw her growing without them and it scared the crap out of them.
When you’re leveling up, and some of the people you love resist it, it can be scary. You’re aware of the disconnect, and so are they. They’re watching you rise out of the comfort zone without them.
Your interests are changing. What you tolerate is changing. Not only do they fear losing you, or the person you were, but your growth can be a mirror back to them of their stuckness.
And they’re going to fight it, maybe not even consciously, because they’re not ready to come up with you yet.
Here’s what to do about that.
Step one: Talk to them about it
Have a conversation about how you feel about their snide remarks or negativity. You might say something like:
“I felt unsupported when you made that comment about me being no fun now that I’m sober, because this is a big and important step for my physical and emotional health and I would love you to be a part of my journey. I would like it if we could find a new activity we both enjoy that doesn’t involve drinking.”
Seek to understand their point of view too. You may be able to address their concerns, so they feel heard and understood. You could ask questions like:
Help me understand. What is your criticism really about?
How is this affecting you?
It sounds like you have concerns about my new job. What’s going on?
From there, you could also educate your friend/family member about why you’re doing what you’re doing and how it’s important to you (note: you never owe anybody an explanation). Explain that you would like their support, you honor their feelings, and nonetheless you’re firm about your choice.
I go into much more detail in a previous blog post, How to be Assertive: A Guide for Empaths, where I show you how to flow with a conflict situation, and how to construct an assertive sentence.
Step Two: Stop talking to them about it
If the person/tribe continues to be unsupportive e.g. making snide comments, being negative, asking uncomfortable or judgmental questions, etc, simply don’t bring up the topic with them. If they broach the subject with you, answer as much as you feel comfortable with, then swiftly change the subject.
You are under no obligation to share things with someone who will not support you.
People can only understand something from their level of perception and to the extent that they’re willing to keep an open mind. Sadly, not everyone is so willing.
Just as you are under no obligation to stay stuck, or justify your reasons for growth, the other person is also under no obligation to change, or justify their reasons for staying stuck.
Just because you’re on this path doesn’t necessarily mean that the other people in your life want to or are ready to walk that path with you.
Whilst it would be lovely to have everyone’s support all the time, it’s an unrealistic concept. The good news is, it’s a nice to have, not a must have.
For every person who will not support you, there are bound to be three people who will. Go to them for encouragement, advice and celebrating. For everyone else, it’s possible to love them as they are, how they are and still focus on your growth.
Abraham-Hicks calls this the art of allowing, and it’s an important part of manifesting. It is allowing others to be as they are, and also allowing yourself to be as you are.
In this way, you release the resistance and contrast created by their lack of support and free yourself from your need for their approval.
Step Three: DO NOT play small and crawl back into the comfort zone with them
As we saw in The Devil Wears Prada, Andy is under a tremendous amount of pressure from her friends to give up her prestigious career so she can hang out with them and support their careers and priorities instead.
This is sadly common. Many times we feel we have to come back down, take ourselves down a peg, and step back into the comfort zone to continue to be around those people.
Except that no, you freaking don’t.
Never ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER play small so that other people feel comfortable.
“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don’t feel insecure.” — Marianne Williamson
The truth is that you will shrink back down and sacrifice your growth to stay in the comfort zone with these people and they will never acknowledge, appreciate, or thank you for staying stuck with them.
Many times someone’s negativity comes from them not wanting you to uplevel because it shines a mirror on their own fears and insecurities and choice not to grow. They might not want you to uplevel, but they will never thank you for staying stuck.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. It doesn’t serve you or the people you’re trying to fit in with by staying small. You will hurt yourself and ultimately the people you love by choosing smallness.
Even if they choose not to grow with you right now, the act of observation changes the outcome for the observed and for the observer.
The very fact that they witnessed you rise and grow means that they cannot possibly remain at the same frequency as they were before.
You have shown them a different reality and truth. Even if they’re not yet ready to make that leap, the fact that you have means that they simply must make some sort of shift, growth or change as well.
Step Four: Lead by Example
We’ve all had our ear talked off at a party about how great Sharon’s new juice cleanse is (by Sharon herself) and now we never want to hear about juice cleanses again.
But when Susan walks in with glowing skin, buzzing with energy, flirting with her hubby, and magnetically confident, we’re falling over ourselves to know her secret.
This is because the best way to lift your tribe up with you is to inspire through your journey and be a walking, talking example of your reasons for up-leveling.
As the motivational saying goes: People will start off asking you WHY you’re doing it and later on, when they see your results, they’ll ask you HOW you did it.
It’s incredibly inspiring for your loved ones to see you crushing it, living your best life, and shining your brightest.
Those who truly love you and have your best interests at heart will bust with pride, even if they were skeptical in the beginning.
Rather than wasting your time, your breath, and your energy preaching from the pulpit about your growth, attempting to justify, convince, and rationalize – just shine on, you crazy diamond.
Be the lighthouse. Don’t go out into the sea to try and meet the ships, because now you’re all in the dark fumbling around together. Stand tall and firm on the shore, shine bright, and guide them safely home.
Step Five: Crowd out your time with like minded people
It bears repeating ad nauseum: You are the average of the five people you hang out with most.
If you feel intimidated about playing a bigger game when you’re with your tribe, you need a new crowd. STAT.
Specifically, you need to find people to spend time with who are like minded, pursuing the same goals, and ideally are at the same point, or a little further ahead on the journey than you.
Let’s face it: living an extraordinary life means that you have to think extraordinarily. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to do that if the people around you never want to think outside their box.
Does that mean you fire everybody in your life who doesn’t see your point of view? No, it does not mean that.
But it does mean that you crowd out your social time with people who get you, inspire you, are already doing the do, understand your journey, and are of growth mindset.
The online space provides limitless opportunities to do this. For example, you could:
Join a free Facebook group (e.g. fitness, entrepreneurship, personal development)
Find a local Meetup group in your area
Search related hashtags on Instagram and connect through DMs
It’s also important to find others who are ahead of you on the journey, through groups, or paid programs like coaching/mentoring.
If you cannot afford the services of a coach/mentor you resonate with, consume all of their free and low priced content, and do so regularly, and by that I mean daily. Consume everything you possibly can.
What I like about ‘crowding out’ is that it doesn’t suggest completely ghosting anybody who doesn’t see your point of view.
Crowding out means that you spend the majority of your time associating with like minded people, thereby creating new mirror neurons and neural pathways that support your growth.
With that said, if you’ve got someone in your life who is always raining on your parade, it’s best to limit your time with them. If you can’t do that, at the very least have mechanisms for taking care of your energy behind the scenes.
Nothing will stunt your growth more than constantly trying to compensate for the energy of someone who goes out of their way to bring you down.
There are going to be people in your tribe who are married to their problems, shacked up with their excuses, and committed to their toxic habits, no matter what you do or say. Where that is the case, you need to ask yourself a difficult question:
Is this a person that I want to spend time with on a consistent basis?
Think of your tribe just as you would a thought, an emotion, a belief, or an action: is it moving you closer to where you want to be, or is it holding you back?
If it is holding you back, you have two options: either choose to do something about it, or choose to stay where you are.
Step Six: Your energy is YOUR responsibility, and yours alone
For the longest time I automatically allowed the energy and emotions of other people affect mine. I could just walk into a room and based on the energy in that room I would instantly feel a certain way.
I also feel the energy of catastrophic world events, or bad news, and that is why I never listen to, read, or watch the news.
My work in the past year has been to take responsibility for my own energy and learn not to be so easily influenced by the energy around me. I choose to adopt the beliefs that:
I am 100% responsible for my own energy field: both protecting it and projecting it
Others are 100% responsible for their own energy fields
I am 100% responsible for what I allow into my energetic experience
I will be the first to say that once upon a time I was very dependent on the energy in a room for my own energy.
I would almost feed off positive vibes, and crash out hard on negative ones. It would take forever to recover.
It was a red flag for me that I needed to deal with my shit and take responsibility for my own energy.
By protecting my own energy, I’m not draining others’ energy, feeding into/expanding negativity, or depending on others’ happiness for my own.
Part of energy protection is carefully choosing my tribe, saying no to negativity, and steering clear of energy suckers.
However I don’t lose my shit anymore in a conflict situation or around negative people. I guess you could liken it to having an in built palo santo smudge stick.
It’s also important from a manifestation perspective. It’s disempowering as shit to allow your vibration to depend on others’ energy, because you cannot control others’ emotions or vibrations.
You can only take responsibility for your own by (a) being around like minded people, (b) staying above the negativity you do encounter, and (c) doing the inner work to maintain your energetic field.
As Gabby Bernstein says, “be a mirror for the light instead of a sponge for the darkness”. When you mirror your light, negativity becomes less and less a part of your experience. Your vibe affects your tribe AND your vibe affects your tribe, so act accordingly. Love accordingly. Be kind to yourself and to others always and that means having loving boundaries that you enforce lovingly and firmly. Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below. How do YOU feel after spending time with the five people you’re around most often? Do they reflect the life you want to live? Let’s chat about it.
THE EDIT//shop the story
Braving The Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone - Brene Brown A Tribe Called Bliss - Lori Harder The Devil Wears Prada Tribe of Mentors - Timothy Ferris
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