Who You Surround Yourself With Determines Who You Are

 
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Too many times I’m in a circle of people talking negative about people or heavy stuff – and soon I realise I’m talking similarly to them and I catch myself talking and think, ‘That’s not cool, that’s ugly’.
— Elle Limebear

Elle Limebear, a 21-year-old rising star from Brighton, isn’t used to being known for her music. Even after two years travelling globally and leading worship with her father, and releasing her own new music across 2019, she laughs off the idea of being an established musician. “I’m not a super muso. I went on the road for years with dad and I was surrounded by muso lads, who would have synth parties and talk about XLRs, and get really serious about stuff. I am a musician, I love music, I love singing, I’m claiming that – but that’s like a different level!”

Her drive in life comes from who she surrounds herself with – not global music stars, but local friends who she knows are good for her. She runs the Instagram account @Brighton, forms part of her city’s music collective Bright City, and has a huge family – but part of her journey has been figuring out how to surround herself with the right people.

“Too many times I’m in a circle of people talking negative about people or heavy stuff – and soon I realise I’m talking similarly to them and I catch myself talking and think, ‘That’s not cool, that’s ugly’. Who you surround yourself with really determines who you are, and how you come across. It’s really important to gather people who’ve got vision. People who are going after things. Who are excited about things. Who are wanting to help people, wanting to see good come out of things. I’m inspired by people who are doing good things, who are Spirit-filled as well.

“Doing stuff on your own, you can just get in a hole. You do things and think, like, ‘That’s a great song,’ but if you have team around you, they say, ‘No… keep working.’ Team is so important. People are going to speak truth, and bring you up on things and say, ‘That wasn’t cool.’ I have great, fun friends who I love to be with and I can hang out with, but who I know are actually quite negative. I could come away talking negative too. But it’s fun to be with them. That’s sometimes tricky. Those fun friends can sometimes be not the best influence.”

As a young person, those who influence you aren’t only those who are literally around you, they’re also on your screen. Elle is a musician and a youth pastor, so with young people in her care to think about – and her own mental health, as a creative with thousands of followers – she can’t afford to be off-hand about social media. “I love Instagram, sharing photos and knowing what my friends are doing. But it can be so cruel too, make you feel so tiny, in a bad way, like you’re so left out: ‘So… I didn’t get invited to that.’ I’ve been learning about myself recently. I thought I was quite secure person, I know who I am, ‘Ells, she’s all good,’ but more and more I see, oh gosh, those things get to me. I didn’t think they did. But I’m learning! I’m giving it to God.

“One thing I do practically with Instagram is I quite often unfollow people. If I see something like – I don’t follow the Kardashians and people shoving things in my eyes. Nothing against the Kardashians, but celebrities, selling stuff, have this mascara, have this fitness stuff – even fitness stuff can kind of get to you. Unfollow! It’s good to be healthy, but it breeds comparison. It sows something in you that is not good. I have a routine of going through who I follow and I unfollow because I know what they post can make me insecure, and not pretty enough or whatever. That’s what I do practically.”

Listen to the full interview in the latest Height of Heart podcast: