We are in charge of our lives and in control – to a certain degree – of how people perceive us. From makeup to body language, we can choose how we come across. There are also moments when we don’t feel what we display and that’s when what we hear from the people we trust makes a great difference. Do they remind us of what we strive to be, or do they belittle us and make us feel like screw-ups? It’s as simple as that when choosing our circle of friends.
If you’re passed that stage in your life when grownups look at you with empathy and tell you You can do whatever you set your mind to, you might feel like you need reassurance for every idea, big or small. But as we grow up and the reality of social norms and the expectations of fitting into the 9-5 pattern kick in, people who are emotionally invested might not be best fit to run by ideas.
You might be thinking – hang on a second, my mom, grandpa or loyal puppy have my best interest at heart. And although that might be the case, new avenues are always scary. Not just for ourselves, but for the people we care about (you can read more about limiting mindsets in the piece on How Much Can You Handle?). Being supportive of new ideas takes an openness that someone else’s judgement might also work. It also takes accepting that even if no one in the family or in the whole world dared to aim so high, that doesn’t mean that it cannot be done.
In the idea phase of a project, when our self-confidence is so fragile, why give an opportunity to nay sayers to deray us? What do we have to lose, ultimately? If it is time you are worried about, it will be time invested in learning. Money? Don’t invest what you can’t afford losing. Failure? You fail if you don’t learn anything from the experience and as a wise mind once said, if you don’t try, you fail by default.
Both online and in the real life we expose ourselves to different influences. It can impact the way we feel and think about ourselves and about others. Good friends are capable of teaching and living up to principle that are uplifting, that make you want to live to a higher standard.
Some things to bare in mind when you choose who gets your time are:
- Growth. Can I progress and have this person in my life? Do they reveal beliefs that I’ve moved on from or are they supportive and interested in self-growth?
- Self-talk. Do you only discuss personal things in a worthless updates format or do you get to share broader ideas with the person?
- Equal forces. Sometimes people dominate relationships to make themselves feel more intelligent. If you feel bad after meeting a friend because of how they express themselves or how they are treating you, it’s time to let go.
People can try to influence us for their own benefit, but it’s often the case that our close ones fail us in their attempt to help. That’s a good place to start a conversation and set boundaries.
We are all connected to each other at a higher level, but influencing people in a mindless way, without setting an intention, fails and breaks relationships. Don’t just accept and reject influence, model it to meet your needs.
‘Friends for life’ is a concept that doesn’t account for how time and experience might impact a person. There is consideration to be given to selecting the people in our lives on a regular basis. Do they bring the best in you? Do they share ideas and views you otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to? Are they respectful and supportive of you?
Friendship means less boundaries, which in a time of growth and trying to understand yourself can be detrimental. With people being busy projecting their first impressions or an idea of you, they fail. They don’t observe, understand and appreciate how you have changed, how far you have come.
The expectation of friends for life without putting in the effort to understand people and revive relationships is flawed. Anything that lasts a lifetime is happening in the present moment and will happen every single day to come, until you can sit on the edge of a beautifully lived existence, look back and appreciate people. Friends for life are people who’ve left their mark on you, friends you’ll carry within with gratitude. Friends that were friends enough to know when they’ve met their purpose.