2020’s personal development on friendships lost and the discovery of self.
It’s a sad truth that those we start a race with don’t always finish the race with us. As individuals, we seek companionship, we want to share in our experiences and have someone we can depend on. Real friends aren’t easy to come by, so when we find those exceptional individuals that match us, we tend to hold on to them for dear life.
I’m fortunate to have two great friends that support me and also ground me when needed. As an extrovert, I typically make friends quickly, but this isn’t always a great attribute to have. As I grow in my career, education, and personal development, I’m learning one unfortunate truth, you can’t take everybody, everywhere. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying you can’t take your northerner friend to a southern pig-picklin’. My meaning is simple: everybody isn’t meant to be in your life forever.
As the new year rolled in, I reflected on 2019’s wins and losses. In my reflection, I realized I had given friends more power than needed. I allowed bad advice to cloud my judgment and nearly missed a great opportunity. I also recognized when a friend belittled me in the guise of additional guidance. These two incidents left me watchful of my interactions and questioning my friend’s authenticity. Afterward, I began assessing all of my associations by asking more in-depth questions about those I surrounded myself with.
Questions I asked myself about my associations:
- Does this person uplift or cast other people down?
- Do they gossip and talk about others?
- Are they bettering themself or just content to barely make ends meet?
- Are they in the same place this year as they were last year?
- Do they try or repeat the same process over and over?
- Do they believe in anything or worship the self?
- When I’m with them, do I feel drained or encouraged?
These questions allowed me to honestly evaluate my friendships and the people I surrounded myself with. The questions weren’t intended as a way to judge them but as a way to see if we helped one another or if we’re just hindrances along for the ride. Coincidentally, two Sundays later, my Pastor preached on being mindful of our associations, and that struck a chord.
It’s hard leaving some friendships behind, but I believe to really fly, you have to leave the nest.
I’m learning that sometimes you have to push through the pain to achieve something more significant. A part of my growth comes with the realization that not everyone can be a part of my journey. My path isn’t meant to be traveled in pairs or in a large group. My growth goes with isolation from the crowds. In isolation, I’m learning to see and hear for myself and not rely on other opinions to validate my choices. I’m learning that if I’m a part of the mix, then I get swept into the mixture. I can’t be something different if I’m choosing to be with all of the same.