Have you become more sensitive to outside influences when you interact with others or create written content for any purpose? Perhaps you find yourself facing heightened sensitivity over what you say or write, or in your tone when you speak. An outside influence can be defined to mean an individual or some factor that may affect what someone does or what happens.
Do not be surprised that you are experiencing such sensitivity or awareness of outside influence—just do not let it cripple you with inaction, fear, or loss of your individualism. It has become more difficult to avoid offending someone who comes across your written or spoken offerings and has a differing opinion or perception than you. People are not perfect and always subject to evaluation of perfection based solely on another individual’s personal viewpoint.
Just as the type of food you eat affects your body, your environment and exposure to media and others affects your mental state and output. You can take action to minimize any negative impact that may be brought about by a particular outside influence. The first step is to recognize your own perceptions and to become aware if outside influences may have an undue effect on your beliefs or actions. If you are aware of outside influences bombarding you, it is important that you generally address three of the major areas of influence—people, media, and environmental factors.
- Surround yourself with supportive people. This does not mean that you should limit yourself to just those people who may agree with you. It does mean that you should surround yourself with individuals who believe in you and want you to be successful. Such influencers should have the willingness to give you their opinion and respect your decision to accept or not accept it. They should be willing to discuss any topic with you that you want to discuss however sensitive. In return, you should be willing to discuss anything with them which they want to discuss. Confidentially should never be in question, and you should have trust in their characters.
- Avoid negative people. You should be careful that the individuals with whom you associate are not consistently negative in their outlooks. They do not have to be happy and cheerful all the time, but they should be individuals who are “safe” to be around and who do not have negative things to say most times about everything. You need to want to be around influencers and leave their presence encouraged not discouraged.
- Ask others to help you even when you can do whatever it is yourself. It is a good thing to ask for help or support when you can do so, not just when you are forced by workload or competence to do so. Asking for help or support can be a good thing for your morale and for others. Consider bringing others in to help or support you when you are not happy about the task you must do or when you are discouraged.
If you surround yourself with individuals with encouraging energy, you will find your attitude changing as well. Further, if the individuals are stronger than you, more intelligent that you, or more competent than you, you will learn from and grow from the exposure and from their willingness to help you.
- Do not compare yourself to others. You do not have to be as intelligent, competent, handsome, or beautiful, or gifted as someone else. You have talents and gifts that others do not have, and a purpose that only you can fulfill. Live to fulfill your dreams for yourself not to fulfill the dreams that others have for themselves or for you.
- Limit your exposure to negative media just as you do with negative people, and fact check what you read and hear and study. Be sure that advertisers or authors are not skewing the content or misrepresenting claims. Expose yourself on occasion to opinions which are different from yours as well. You do not have to accept other opinions, but you will find it helpful to understand the positions of others.
Disregard the method of message delivery, and try to see beyond any bigotry, profanity, poor diction, poor grammar, racism, etc. Do not buy into scams, racial stereotypes, inflammatory language, and other less-than professional methods of expression, but learn the viewpoints of others, even those with extremist views.
The more you learn and the more knowledge you have will result in increased wisdom and tolerance. Mediate on ideas which are of interest to you. Be professional in your writing and speech without disrespecting your audience or others. Remember, you are what you believe and act upon not what you read, and not what others say about you.
- The first things which you should ensure are met are your basic needs–food, shelter, clothing, and safety. If not, they are most important, and your focus must be on creating your environment which provides for those needs to be met including transportation, healthcare, and communication. If any or all these needs are not met, they will prove to be major influencer(s) and potentially taint your opinions, beliefs, and attitudes.
- You should assume that any spiritual or religious beliefs you hold will be a primary influence on your actions. Just be sure that your spiritual beliefs are in line with your morality and ethical standards.
- Assuming that such fundamental needs are met you can turn your attention to environmental factors such as sunlight, water, temperatures, substances, climate, occupational hazards, and air quality. Other factors include social settings, learning environments, finances, cultural norms, and beliefs. In general, environmental factors can be both physical and social.
These factors may or may not be able to be controlled. However, you can determine how much they affect your actions and your beliefs. If crime is at a high level in your area, you can determine how you respond – do you act in fear, or with consideration to the conditions.
You are an individual. You are the sum of your beliefs, experience, knowledge, actions, and decisions. Any particular thing or person could be an influencer. You must make the decision to be aware of such influence and determine whether you will permit that influence to affect you and your actions. There is no perfect influencer, no perfect decision, no perfect human. There is choice and you make it.