Do you let the fear of others determine your path in life? If you rely on others for the decisions you make with respect to your life, maybe you aren’t listening to your own inner spirit? Further, what makes you so sure the decision you make based on what other people believe is the right one?

Who do ‘they’ rely on to make their decisions? Is it the media (oh, help us!), television sitcoms (LOL!), news (whether right or left), superstition (maybe), or worse yet, their own fear (hmmmm)?

Their decision for you is based on their “perception of you”, which is very different from any decision you can make based on your own perception of yourself. And even your decision can change depending on your state of mind at the time, which is what determines your perception.

You are ‘within’ looking out, while they are ‘out’ looking in – superficially speaking of course.

No two people ever see the exact same thing – it is impossible. This is due to the following reasons:

• You are not on someone else’s path; you are on your own path
• What you interpret as truth is only from your level of consciousness and awareness, while others are on their level of consciousness and awareness; thus, their truth
• Only you can ever know what’s best for you because it is you that must learn and grow from your own experiences
• No one can see the view from your eyes and no one can feel the attached emotions to that view other than you… your perception of what you see is unique to you

… and probably the most important reason: Fear is a self-generated limitation imprinted by the limitations of others.

The fear I’m speaking of here is not the “RUN, there’s an enormous monster behind you!” kind. Although I think we can all agree that running due to fear in this situation is probably a really good idea! The fear I’m speaking of is the never-ending parade of thoughts that sound something like this:

• If I mess up, then they’ll think I’m stupid
• If I don’t win, then they’ll be let down
• If I don’t do this for a career, then they’ll be disappointed
• If I do this or that, then they won’t love me anymore
• If I ___________ (you fill in the words), then they’ll think ___________ (usually something negative)

Sound familiar? I think you’ll agree this list could go on and on. We each have our own words to fill in the blanks, but the outcome is the same … FEAR! This fear is the warning sign that announces the up-coming illness or disease. This fear can be a killer! So I’ll ask the question again … who is in control of your life?

Healing Requires Perseverance… and Peers!

After 25 years in the health and wellness field, it’s my contention that the perseverance to take control of your life rarely comes without positive peer support. Our society is set up to honour heroic acts and single feats of grandeur. But if we look behind the curtain, most often there really is a village helping turn the wheels and prop up the person in front. Our peers, our family and friends, our co-workers all make a difference in how we choose to live our lives.

Ah, but you might say peers can have a bad influence as much as good. Sure. No question. In the Framingham Heart Study researchers made the connection between behaviour and heart disease e.g. if we eat a lot of “bad” food and don’t exercise we’re more likely to have a heart attack. After 40 years of studying this subject, Framingham researchers also found that we’re birds of a feather. If you smoke and you hang around with a lot of smokers, you’re less likely to quit. The same is true for over-eating and a lack of exercise.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that it goes both ways. When one person quits smoking, all of that person’s friends will take notice and, Framingham determined, at least one out of ten smoking peers will follow suit. Then one of that person’s ten smoking friends will do the same and so on.

The ripple effect is exciting!

So, if it’s true that healing rarely happens in a vacuum, why not take this power of peers and channel it in a structured and intentionally positive direction? Why not leverage the good news? Just as we can leverage the power of the mind to heal by placebo, why not influence our change with the power of friendship, familiarity, camaraderie, and on-going yet free support?

Peers provide a natural form of support. They are always there, in our lives almost daily, and in it for the long haul. Oh, and did I mention they’re FREE!

Peers know you. They know your local resources and options for success. They know your likes and dislikes. They know your limitations, but better yet know your strengths that surmount your flaws. They’ve seen you succeed and they expect nothing less.

Peers want to change too. They’re in it with you rather than an outside judge. They’ll often go to the class or the meeting with you, or pick up that same inspiring book, or do that same difficult challenge. Shared experience is richer, more flavourful, more colourful and more indelible in our ever important reservoir of happy memories.

I recently finished an intense 10-day “cleanse” diet. I had to seriously restrict my food and drink boring juices/smoothies every five minutes. It was hard. Really hard. I was grumpy and spacey, and I kept forgetting why it even mattered! But… three of my close friends and family did the cleanse with me. If not for them, I’m sure I would have given up. Every day we processed and shared what we experienced. We commiserated together, and we dreamed about bread, coffee and wine together!

We were there for each other and we celebrated the outcomes together! It was well worth the challenge!

These same people have helped me lose 15 pounds of fat over the past year by creating a whole new lifestyle. Because they matter to me and because I matter to them, we Zumba, we box, we dance, we laugh, we sweat, we eat amazing healthy food, we play; we grow together! We learn from each other and celebrate our positive changes. We help turn the wheels behind the scenes no matter how difficult the challenge for each. And, we stick to the excitement of each of our dreams making sure each has a fighting chance at her own heroism.

Imagine the world if everyone had such focus

Don’t let the fear of what others think determine your path in life. Care and concern, joy and compassion, and of course, laughter are all free! The power of the mind is indeed powerful, and it becomes ever so much more powerful when supported by the positive influence and reinforcement of peers. Think about your inner thoughts. Think about your peers and how they impact your health.

How can you be a role model and begin to support positive change in your circle of friends and family?

Think about it, and just by putting it in your train of thought you’ll be starting on one of the best paths possible in positive, holistic healing!