We already know how important it is to have healthy, likeminded people in your life.
The power of influence that your “tribe” can have in your life.
People that we’re close to impact us – on an emotional, mental, and even physical level.
Our nervous systems attune to others. This process of attunement begins moments after birth with our mothers (typically). It’s how a mother can sense what her baby needs. It’s how the baby learns to mirror the mother’s expressions. It’s a dance of connectedness that is unconscious and unspoken.
And we do it all through life.
When we take the idea of attunement and put it into practice in our adult lives, we become aware of who is a positive or negative influence in our life.
We can make bold strokes of elimination in discharging people that aren’t right for us at any time, however many feel frustrated with how they notice patterns in this area.
The process of auditing your tribe is essential and can be exhausting – particularly when you’ve noticed you tend to attract, or be attracted to the same kinds of people.
Auditing then becomes a revolving door in your life.
It’s common to look at the patterns of your life in this area in particular and feel a sense of embarrassment, guilt, or shame.
Why do smart, kind people attract manipulative, mean people into their lives on a continual basis?
Why have we attracted partners or professionals to work with that are exactly what we don’t want or what we tried to avoid?
We can judge them – as we do ourselves – until you read this.
Let’s hunt for some empathy and look into the root cause – because the pattern is just a symptom.
Many people feel confused about why they’ve made the choices they have in the people they’ve allowed into their lives.
You’ll hear people talk about how they are magnets for certain types of people and how others are just their “type”.
This opens them up to outside judgment in obvious ways.
In reality, this concept goes beyond conscious thought, and choice.
It’s deeply embedded in early experience and what environment you were in when your brain was developing.
The process of rupture and repair in misattunement as you were growing up that build resilience.
This isn’t about you making bad choices because you don’t know better or because you aren’t strong enough.
Awareness and decisions about what you want are essential – but insufficient when you’re dealing with the patterns you’ve been participating in throughout your whole life.
This is about bringing in awareness and finding the right tools to provide repair as part of your inner work first, and then taking that level of regulation and resilience and making better choices.
Here are 3 steps to change the crowd you attract…
1. Go back to the beginning.
Look at what was “normal” for you growing up. That’s what you naturally will gravitate to. That’s what will naturally come to you.
For many – this is suboptimal or outright terrible and many of our maladaptive coping skills have come from this place.
Look at the dynamics and interplay of personality in your family.
Look at how conflict was handled and resolved – was it resolved?
Where was their health in communication and repairs?
How was trust built…how was it crushed?
How did people establish boundaries?
Your family of origin, your parents in particular, plays a huge part in the patterns of your life – not because of them – but because of how they contributed to the neural pathways that fired together and wired together in your brain during development.
It’s not their fault – they likely didn’t know better – it’s not yours either – neither did you. The work is not in the blame but in this process of awareness.
Where there were gaps without adequate repair and where there were unhealthy family dynamics and dysfunction, our brain wired that together as our context of what we thought was ‘normal’.
Those experiences, in adulthood, are often recontextualized and seen with different perspectives, and we are often drawn to look into those when we start to see failed relationships, common denominators of treatment from others or personality types or outright drama.
People live in patterns. You will attract and be attracted to what you resonate with as normal based on your earlier exposure.
You can try and fight it, and likely have, with conscious thought to varying degrees of success, but you might find yourself frustrated with the continual battle because what really needs to happen is the creation of new neural pathways in your brain to replace the old ones.
2. Replace the wiring.
It’d be easier if we could just go in like an electrician and replace all the wiring we don’t want in our brain, but we can’t.
At least not yet, and not in healthy ways that actually build long term resilience (and that’s always the goal).
Building new neural pathways is necessary inner work in this area to heal over developmental ruptures or gaps, which Self Regulation Therapy (SRT) does, you start naturally being drawn to healthier people – and they to you.
The process of therapy and the attunement that occurs in session with SRT changes the inner psyche by providing new context and patterns as part of the process.
Because SRT helps build new neural pathways in each session, as part of neuroplasticity (or the brain’s ability to change), it allows for new patterns of behavior, choice, and attraction to form.
Without force, without anxiety.
What we’re doing is regulating the nervous system AND creating new healthy pathways in the brain first (behavior later) concurrently.
This is why this modality works and is able to work with the elements of guilt and shame and the deeper development pieces all at the same time.
This will change the way you think and bring awareness to the roots of those symptoms of bad relationships in your personal and professional life and in your families.
The reality is that we recapitulate relationship dynamics throughout our lives unconsciously in attempts to resolve them.
Start to look at what feels familiar. Start to build in understanding of why and what relationships that familiarity belongs to. Then start to imagine the ideal, healthy, desired replacement. Not what feels right, but what is right based on healthy relationship dynamics that you’ve taken the time to educate yourself about.
3. Rebuild your network.
You’ve brought in awareness – your inventory of development.
You’ve hopefully checked in and started some deeper therapeutic work that ideally works with the nervous system as opposed to cognitive behavioral therapy (because you can talk and strategize all day long – which is good for step 1, but doesn’t accomplish step 2.)
Now you can start using your newfound awareness, discernment, and will to make better choices.
Your nervous system all nice and regulated, you’ll feel aware of misattunement in your relationships, more connected to your gut instincts, and more confident to make good auditing choices with your tribe.
You can always consciously choose differently – but it’s a lot easier to make healthier choices when you’re regulated your nervous system and brought in awareness to your own patterns of attraction and behavior.
Give your ‘thinking’ brain a rest – it doesn’t have to work so hard to change behavior when you’ve created healthier neural pathways in the brain first.
Every thought and behavior change is easier with a regulated nervous system in place.
Early development is the beginning for all dysregulation that we can spend a lifetime fighting against.
It’s not necessary.
It’s important to know what has played in to making you who you are – positive and negative.
Ditch the shame. Understand the context of the patterns you live in and what influenced those. Then do the work on your nervous system to heal those. Then you’ll be in a better place to make better choices in your tribe and all that auditing will be easier and more natural.
Audit your tribe – regularly. As you rebuild your network in your personal and professional life, bring in awareness of the patterns and consciously strengthen new, healthy neural pathways with conscious, purposeful choices on the kind of people you want in your life. Not the ones that feel like you’ve known them forever (often a red flag of a developmental pattern), but the ones that make you feel the most relaxed, the most content, and the most at ease.
Avoid anyone that makes you feel too high after you spend time with them, numbed out, or completely drained. All these states and extremes also point to symptoms of dysregulation that your nervous system has picked up on.
Pay attention to how you feel – balance it with what you know – challenge it with this knowledge of early development to make healthy, grounded choices in who you allow in and who you kick out of your life.
Doing this kind of work is the way to stop repeating unhealthy patterns in your relationships and friends and also stop those patterns from carrying on in your family legacy.
It’s important work to do. It’ll change your life.