- Amy Bull
The Company We Keep
This topic of the company we keep; the people we surround ourselves with day in and day out, continues to resonate deeply with me. Our relationships are interwoven throughout our daily lives, so much so that it is considered an important part of how we approach health and wellbeing for those of us in the field of Integrative Health Coaching. If a client is unhappy with their relationships, it can affect their overall ability to move forward with goals and development.
Our relationships with other human beings can be highly complex. Each of us as individuals are imperfect beings with baggage and flaws, and some people are in our lives from birth, leaving us no choice but to be impacted by those surrounding us, at least until we are of age to properly care for ourselves and survive in the world.
Once we become adults, we have choice on who we interact with. We have the free will to decide who we call our friends, our partners, and we can even decide who in our family we want to maintain relationships with.
I have previously shared different types of relationships that, based on my experience, have provided a powerhouse of support in my life as I have looked to make significant changes. I have and continue to build on my community support system; people who add value to my life in various ways that I can draw knowledge, strength, and inspiration from. I have learned a lot in my 50 years on this Earth, but I am still learning.
That said, I believe in the reciprocity of giving and receiving. I believe in being active in my community and I am not here to just receive endlessly from my relationships. I also am here to give back to them, and this means I also have included in my life other imperfect beings that are at different points in their journey. I have been blessed in many ways, and believe if I can give of my time and energy to help alleviate another beings suffering, I must take action.
This action of giving back to my community involves being surrounded at times by beings that are suffering, both human and animal. This is a reality I have come to accept as part of the package. I do not believe I was put on this Earth to create my own bubble of only good, positive, happiness. I believe that while it may be less obvious, and more painful, there is immense value in experiencing difficulties, challenges, and pain; both our own pain and being in the space of the pain of others. These experiences keep me humble, grounded, and grateful. I have learned to appreciate these seemingly negative experiences from a place of gratitude for all they teach me.
That said, staying in a mindset of gratitude when you are around other beings that are suffering can be challenging. This is largely due to how much of our time and experiences are balanced with other experiences that are positive. I like to think of it in terms of energy. Negative experiences are energetically draining. Positive experiences are energetically filling. Too much time spent in the area of negative experiences, leaves you energetically drained. When your career of choice is in an area such as social work, nurses, doctors, veterinarians, non-profit management; burn out and compassion fatigue is a real issue. Even if it’s not your career, but you choose to volunteer your time in these areas, it can become an overwhelming challenge to continue to give of yourself.
The world needs us to be able to sustain careers mentioned above. The world needs volunteers to give of their time, even though it isn’t always easy. Acquiring the skills to access and manage the negative energy is what allows for sustainable, long-term success in helping alleviate the suffering while not suffering ourselves. The tools will vary by individual, but the key is each individual developing the muscle to discern this balance of energy for themselves before it’s too late and they end up giving up out of survival. And this is a large part of what drew me to the field of Integrative Health Coaching; helping others find these tools within themselves so they can continue to make the world better while not sacrificing themselves along the way.
Have a healthy & mindful week!