Are you a positive influence in the lives of others?
Let’s take an honest look.
1) You encourage their dreams
The first of the signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that you encourage other people to follow their dreams.
This may sound like a cliche, but it’s important.
When your son tells you he wants to be an astronaut, you don’t laugh, you go through a checklist with him about what that could involve.
You get him that NASA t-shirt, too.
When your friend tells you he’s thinking about opening a new construction company, you talk it over with him and look at the market and his best approach.
If you have no knowledge in the sector you still tell him you believe in him and cheer him on!
2) You help them self-actualize
The next of the signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that you help people self-actualize.
The concept of self-actualization was first developed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow.
Maslow posited that we all have basic needs such as food, shelter and social belonging, but that as we ascend the “pyramid of needs” we reach a point where we can achieve our dreams and personal fulfillment of our full potential.
This he referred to as “self-actualization” or reaching what your self is fully capable of.
When you’re a positive influence on others, you help them reach their full potential and see the greatness inside them.
3) You give practical advice
Next up in the powerful signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that you give practical advice.
Cheering folks on and supporting their dreams and potential is one thing.
But if it’s not accompanied by real practical advice, it tends to remain pretty vague.
Practical advice is simple:
It’s about what to do and actual steps to take in life.
By giving practical advice you help folks stay grounded and figure out the next step instead of remaining lost by the amount of options.
What college should somebody attend? What’s the best way to save money or reduce spending during inflation? How can somebody increase the chances of meeting a solid romantic partner?
These are all examples of practical advice that make you a positive influence in the lives of others.
4) You serve as a role model
The next of the signs you’re a net plus in the lives of others is that they look up to you.
You find that folks take your life and what you do as a model for how to live.
This can sound a bit intimidating, and to be fair we don’t all want to be a role model or have folks looking up to us.
But whether you want it or not, if you find that something about you, your job or how you approach life is a model for others, then you’re definitely a positive influence on them.
5) You’re a rock when others are in trouble
The next of the signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that you’re a rock who others turn to when they’re in trouble.
You don’t “bail out” people or always save them from their mistakes.
But you are somebody they can depend on, and you care.
That’s more than most, and in a world that can often seem cold and uncaring, you make a difference in being a reliable and empathetic individual.
6) You help people see the potential in failure
Next up in the signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that you help them look at failure in a new way.
We all hate failure.
The pain and humiliation can be intense.
But one of the biggest sure signs you’re a net plus in the lives of others is that you help them use failure as fuel.
You show them how they can channel that pain and heartbreak into something new.
You show them how failure isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.
Opening folks up to this radical new mindset can make all the difference!
7) You don’t judge people for their mistakes
Next up in the signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that you don’t judge people for their mistakes.
Do you notice what they did wrong?
Of course. Nobody wants someone in their lives who’s fake nice or pretends they didn’t screw up.
But you tend to judge people by their best rather than their worst.
You see their mistakes and recognize them, but you focus on solutions and the next step, not a pity party or a blame fest.
8) You have friends from all walks of life
Want to know if you’re a positive influence or not?
Look at the diversity of your friends.
I don’t mean skin tone or outer appearance, I mean the deeper diversity: what they’re interested in, what they believe, what they spend their time on.
If you find that you have friends from all walks of life, and even spheres of interest and work that are totally unconnected, there’s no doubt you’re a positive influence on others.
The fact is that there are a rare few who bring people together from all walks of life and transcend label or category.
Such folks don’t fit under any sociopolitical slot, because they’re human first and foremost.
9) Your life philosophy inspires others
Next up in the compelling signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that your life philosophy inspires others.
Whether you’re religious or spiritual or not, what you believe inspires those around you.
They find your life philosophy convincing, compelling and empowering.
They want to find out more about what makes you tick and what led you to developing your core credo.
What you believe and why you believe it lifts other people up. That’s a huge plus in a world that so often leans towards nihilism.
10) You demonstrate another way to do things
The next of the signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that you show other ways to do things.
This includes using critical thinking and self-awareness to be more conscious about what you decide.
It includes knowing your purpose and having a specific mission in life.
This inspires others and gives them something they can follow.
When they see you making conscious decisions and even not being afraid to go against the grain, it empowers them to do the same and also make different, stronger choices when the time comes.
11) You lead the way on difficult moral issues
When life hits us with morally difficult situations, most of us do one thing:
We look for the safest way to avoid making a decision.
This can take various forms:
Outsourcing the decision to someone else, blaming other people for putting us in the situation or society, or God, or simply shutting down and avoiding deciding anything whatsoever.
But one of the top signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that you lead the way on difficult moral issues.
You’re not afraid to oppose a war no matter how unpopular.
You’re willing to break up a relationship that’s no longer meaningful even if it would be easier to just stay together.
You’re willing to join a spiritual path or religion others mock because it’s proven true to you.
This inspires and uplifts others who live in a society that so often prizes conformity and popularity over following one’s heart and what one truly believes.
12) You have folks thank you for being you
Not to be overly maudlin here, but the last of the signs you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you is that people thank you just for being you.
This can seem like excessive flattery, but think about the people who are most special to you in your life:
It’s not just their outer qualities, talents or abilities that make them special or memorable to you.
And that’s the crux of the matter right there:
At the end of the day, you’re a positive influence on those who appreciate and want you in their lives.
People who care about you and value you see your potential and also seek to be a positive influence in your life.
This is the reciprocal nature of mutual empowerment.
The more others serve as a positive force in your life, the more you are likely to respond in kind to them.
And vice versa.
It’s a beautiful cycle!
Taking an honest look
After reading this article you should have a better idea about whether you’re a positive influence in the lives of those around you.
None of us are perfect, and we all fall short of what we could be for others.
It’s important to have self-respect and self-awareness first and foremost and go from there.
Once you are secure and fulfilled in yourself, you can begin reaching out more, and often you will find that playing a valuable role in the lives of others can lead to feeling more fulfilled and secure in yourself as well.