Surround Yourself With Good Friends
This was a piece of advice that struck me when I first heard it. I was just entering high school and the little world I new was thrown into the deep end in a wider student body. The friend I grew up with were separated into different classes. To be frank, I was pretty lost in those years. I did not really know who I was or where I belonged. I felt that the more new people I met, I instinctively knew that I did not belong there. So I was lost at sea - a sea of people.
My childhood friends were making new friends and I suddenly felt left out. I was so comfortable with myself before, but at that time, I wanted to tear off my skin. I floated from clique to clique, never really finding my place. I met some nice people, but no one I really felt comfortable talking to or just being with.
I was insecure with myself and how people thought of me. My outlets were sports and dance. It was my chance not only to work on my body, which I was very self-conscious about, but also socializing. I put a face of the nice girl the hard-working one, but inside I was very scared. Was I good enough? Was this really me?
The relationships I made in volleyball only really lasted on court while my friends in dance classes, went on to perform on different stages. I became more comfortable in my skin, but it was just the surface.
I latched on relationships with my family and siblings. They were my friends. I knew through thick and thin they would always be there. Yet, there was always this desire to belong somewhere, in a group, a home away from home. I looked at other people’s and friendships and thought, how do they make it so easy? I learned that with the right people it is easy, because you simple understand each other. But it can become very difficult when you do not. The test of any relationships in time. Can it last through the seasons?
I learned that in life, some relationships are only for a season - a season of growth, of learning, of happiness, of comfort, of refuge and so on. Have you ever met someone at a time that you were not expecting? Did this relationship change the course of your life or bring it closer to what you imagined?
Relationships are hard. My track record did not always prepare me, especially when life would throw me in a loop. I had relationships that for a time were really intense. We spent a lot of time together, got to know each other and became very intimate of our thoughts and being. To know someone so deeply mentally and emotionally is extraordinary. People can become intimate outside of the physical. And those relationships are special.
So it can be very hard, when the good times pass away. Simply, it is because people change. A person we know now can become very different in a year, a month, weeks or days. Feelings, ideas, intentions, dreams, choices and commitments change. That is life. And sometimes, they can change in a way that we least expect or disappoint us.
Those relationships were at a critical time in anyone’s life - the time when people are discovering who they are and what their purpose is. You can be learning in school, taking on a job, travelling or creating something new. People change, and at this time, we have to change to.
The people I was once very close to were moving on to different directions. I felt left out, left behind or abandoned. I came to realize that those relationships were leaving me stagnant and dependent. Some friendships or partnerships outgrow their relationships. We may have different opinions if this is good or bad or if in every situation it is justified. But in my experience, it happened, I could not understand, and it took time to deal with that fact. Growing pains are painful. As we may feel comfortable with some people, they may be out-growing us. It can be hard, but it is a decision we must respect.
The feelings, emotions, energy and time we invest in others only to be washed away can be confusing even heartbreaking. It can be viewed as love when we choose to stay, but it can also mean love by walking away - from false pretenses, mediocrity, dishonesty or toxicity. In terms of certain relationships, I have made the decision to detach. Not out of spite or bitterness, but realizing that some relationships have their seasons in our lives - a high school romance, a summer job, a European tour or a gym pal. It can hurt for some people like me. Letting go of people I once knew and were close to. But dwelling on the past or relying on memories is not always enough to sustain relationships. We live in the here and now, and just as quickly as relationships can be lost, so can they be made.
The time of fast speed communication can have us swiping through potential friends, lovers or business collaborators. You can find almost anyone online today. We filter our preferences, we are found matches and methodically potential long-lasting commitments can be made.
To my surprise, life places us at the right time and place. I made some great friends at the end of 2017. It started with an invitation to Iceland in the new year. I suddenly gained a couple of gal pals that were interested in travel, hard-working, motivating, inspiring and grounded. We have not even gone on our trip yet, and we have had meetups and hangouts, planning and workout sessions, makeup hauls, shopping sprees and sassy conversations. I never imagined we would ever meet in this way. And so I am left by being grateful.
People come and go. It may be early to say that we will be friends for a long time. A new relationship means a new opportunity to learn more about yourself and others. Just because someone from your past was not able to continue growing with you now, does not mean you should not open yourself up to grow with others. People affect me. In the past, it left me broken, unwanted and misunderstood. Some relationships can be rekindled after some time or revived at another time. And then there are some, that life gives when you are ready. Relationships that give life, that journey through the seasons and bring happiness that everyone can discover. So keep aware of the people you surround yourself with.
Be the person you always want to be. Be you. You will attract the right people. The best people who will grow through the journey of life, comforting you in your losses, celebrating in your victories and everything in between. Some friends are your family, people you knew for years or in a season. But invest your time and energy in the ones that last. A true friend is greater than a thousand acquaintances. ■