I planned on doing something else for this week, but a recent hang-out with a good friend inspired this one.
My previous post “What makes you happy?”, is all about doing the things that bring joy into your life. But, that is only one part of happiness. Who you hang out and interact with is just as important. Friends can help/let you grow, or keep you down. A thing I’ve encountered with a lot of people is that they feel like their current friends are permanent, regardless of if their friend(s) say or do things that don’t sit well with them. Then, there are also the people who only focus on your struggle and not your progress. It doesn’t have to be that way!
Your social circle is within your control. I repeat, your social circle is WITHIN YOUR CONTROL. You absolutely DO NOT need to be friends with people who make you feel bad about yourself, who ridicule you, or who have bad habits that they make you partake in or enable you. It does take a lot of courage to end some relationships, but your wellbeing is at stake and, you need to take care of you! It’s okay if people no longer fit into your life- it’s meant to happen that way. Friends will come and go (think of the old children’s song, but everyone is gold), and also some will stay constant. You can grow together, or grow apart, and all of it is by design.
According to the New York Times, Oxford’s number one word of last year was “toxic”. It pertained to the uprising of naming people and things as being toxic to your wellbeing. It does, however, go the other way. You can be toxic to other people’s wellbeing. I’ll share an example of this. I had a best friend I met in high school and our friendship lasted a good portion through college. We hung out so much that I thought I couldn’t live without her. This was tested, however, when she suddenly stopped talking to me. It seemed like it was out of the blue. I was completely blindsided and hurt. But then, as I started replaying our years of friendship over in my mind to get some sort of answer to how things went awry, I realized I was telling the story all wrong.
We always had to go out and spend money. We could never just sit at home like I did with my other friends. There was a competitive element to us, and I am NOT a competitive person. Also, I was selfish. I remember getting mad when she couldn’t give me a ride somewhere or if she canceled plans, because, now I was inconvenienced. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I was the toxic one. This moment was integral to my self-growth. My whole life shifted. It was a beginning- a rebirth.
This is when I became aware of my actions. If this friend never stopped talking to me, I would have never seen how I took her for granted (probably others, too) and saw how egocentric I was. From then on, I made sure I show the people I care about in my life just how important they are to me. I tell them “I love you” often, and share what I admire about them because I don’t want to make the same mistake again. The ending of this friendship was absolutely necessary for the both of us.
As we advance in our personal growth, we outgrow old habits, and sometimes, that means outgrowing relationships. Nothing in this life is stagnant. Even if it’s at a snail’s pace, things are evolving, changing, -including you if you let yourself.
If you would like to read the whole article about 2018’s word of the year, click here
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