“Emotional landscape” – what does that mean to you? More psychobabble? Nope, it is an important aspect of your life which you may or may not be paying attention to. It significantly affects your mental health, self esteem, and overall happiness. If these factors are important to you, read on!

     Emotional landscape describes the emotional environment in which you live, primarily relative to the people that populate your living space. These people that you share your life with, especially your personal life as opposed to your career people interactions, greatly impact and influence how you think, feel and ultimately act.

     If you have raised a teenager, what is the primary concern that you had? Answer: the people that s/he hung around with. If your teenager was hanging around with the “wrong crowd” you were concerned and tried to change it because you did not want your teen to be badly influenced by “these” people. “Birds of a feather flock together”.

     Well, this reality is true in adult lives as well. An individual tends to blend in with and emulate the people with whom they spend time with. If you are hanging around with negative, critical, sarcastic, prejudiced people you tend to move in that direction.

     “People pleasers” are particularly prone to do this. They want, perhaps need, to be accepted. They want to fit in and therefore mimic the people around them. “Monkey see, monkey do”.

     “Controller” personalities tend to do less of that. These folks more often “march to their own drummer”. Still, often they want to be liked and be accepted by the predominant “in crowd” and thus do not want to be excluded from the group they have chosen to be a part of.

     My point in all of this is for you to choose individuals, a group, that reflects the kind of person you want to be – people that motivate you – bring out the best in you. Do you remember the famous line of Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets” – “You make me want to be a better man” (person). (Google the movie clip, probably will bring a tear to your eye, as it did mine).

     I’ve shared this before, there is reliable research stating that you as a person are a composite of the five people closest to you. And those people are?

     I give this homework to clients that I work with. Place a series of concentric circles on a piece of paper. In the innermost circle put a heart – that’s you. Then moving out from that center circle write the names of those people who are closest to you with each circle designating a further distance from you emotionally. See who the five closest to you are. This is your “emotional landscape”. These are the people that most affect who you are and how you act. Need to make any rearrangements?

     Personally I am grateful to have chosen “Sherry Sunshine” as my wife, the person closest to me emotionally. Her positive outlook, consistent love and affirmation have greatly impacted me in a wonderful way. Thus, I’m trying to be a “better man”! Others chosen in my emotional landscape have contributed greatly for a life abundant with Sun and very few clouds. Fortunate, I am!


Dr. Stathas can be reached at 706-473-1780. Email: stathas@plantationcable.net. Web site: drstathas.googlepages.com. Blog: drstathas.com

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