Does anybody remember that scene from Meet The Parents where Jack (the overprotective father figure who is employed by an Intelligence Agency) looks at Greg (the daughter’s love interest) and talks about the “Circle of Trust”?
Jack says, “I keep nothing from you, you keep nothing from me…and round and round we go”. Well, today I want to talk to you about who should be in your inner circle.
Here are some tips I think are important to keep in mind when looking for an inner circle:
Your circle should include people who are willing to be brutally honest and constructively critical.
I think that this is the MOST IMPORTANT characteristic of those in your inner circle. If your inner circle is full of people who will not be honest with you then your circle isn’t helpful. However, if those people cannot provide their criticisms in a way that is constructive or productive then their words will just be hurtful and likely destroy any forward momentum.
Your circle should be people who can celebrate you.
Your circle must include people who are willing to be with you in the lows but also able to celebrate with you during the highs, even if they may not be experiencing a high in their life at the same time (this is critical and DIFFICULT). If this steps on your toes perhaps this is an area that you may want to consider working on as well.
Your circle should include reciprocal relationships.
Think of this in terms of a two-way street. I am there for you and you are there for me (very similar to what Jack is talking about in the quote at the beginning of this article).
Ideally, you would be in the inner circle of those who also find themselves in your circle. Having and utilizing an inner circle requires a high level of vulnerability. Vulnerability works best when it is reciprocated.
Surround yourself with people whose opinions you value and trust.
Your circle should include people you will listen to because let’s be honest when it comes to hearing truths we are not always the most receptive listeners. Hearing truths we don’t like can be brutal, but necessary for growth.
If you only allow people into your circle of trust whose advice you can easily ignore it may lead to you potentially doing things that you may later regret and could have been avoided.
At the end of the day, despite the importance of a circle of trust, you have to own your decisions and make choices that you can stand behind. You are truly an expert on you. However, having a circle of trust can make some of the things in this life just a bit easier to bear.
First of all, we have been asked to transition our ENTIRE lives in the span of a day or two. We all used to have responsibilities in our day that took us out of our home. Now many of us work from home, shop from home, teach our children from home. We have non-existent social lives.
There are exceptions, of course, with our front line workers who haven’t had the option to be at home during this time. I salute you all as you have had to figure out how to manage all those little people at home and still go and face this big, bad nasty pandemic face to face. These MAJOR transitions in our life were made without our input and, I don’t know about you guys but usually, I like being in the driver’s seat for life decisions.
Secondly, I want to direct you to the handy pyramid below. Many people have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as it is often taught in basic psychology courses.
If you haven’t, allow me to give you the basic run down...
The pyramid breaks down what we need to be successful humans. The needs lowest on the triangle are considered the most vital for basic survival and each level builds on the other. The lowest level of the triangle is physiological needs – those would be our water, air, food shelter, etc. The second level is our safety needs – that includes our security, employment, resources, health, etc.
During this time our two lowest levels of need are in serious jeopardy! Perhaps you have lost your job right now and unemployment hasn’t kicked in yet. Your bottom two levels have been seriously impacted.
Perhaps you are a person in an at-risk health category so your concerns for your personal safety are warranted.
Disruptions to the supply chain along with overwhelming demand have made “essential” items more difficult to get – particularly items we need in order to prevent infection (ahem..hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, and bleach on anyone else’s ongoing grocery lists).
We are tired because we are trying to ensure that our most basic needs are being met. For many of us those basic needs haven’t been an issue for us in a LONG time or even EVER.
That is a reason to be exhausted.
Finally, let’s have a serious conversation about anxiety. All of these threats to our basic needs, along with the challenge of trying to adapt and adjust can lead the most well-adjusted person to have some amount of anxiety. We are nervous that even being near our loved ones will put them in jeopardy. We are trying to make decisions when we don’t have all the information to make informed decisions.
So, when you feel tired find a way to rest. Be intentional in your rest. Take time to reset and refocus. Take time to be grateful and seek intentional ways to add in gratitude and positivity because it isn’t always easy to see the light and bright things right now. Most importantly, extend yourself grace and know that this will pass but grace will make the journey a bit easier.