Happy late New Year! January was a productive month for me and I completely forgot to post for the month. This year I told myself that I will pick up more physical books and get the brain exercise I've been missing out on since college. I start reading I Am That Girl by Sophia Bush and it immediately gave me an outline of multiple topics I wanted to touch on this year. Our first stop is a sensitive one, but it's time to squad up and start surrounding ourself with people that are actually good for us. It's so easy to let weak, unmotivated and negative people linger in our circle due to circumstance and convenience. Being intentional with who we allow to influence our actions and mindset can make a difference on reaching a goal and staying stagnate.
When I was in college, I had a pretty amazing group of friends. The kind of friends that always had my back through thick or thin. I was a hot-head and having friends that would ride for me, even when I may have been wrong was essential. We partied, we laughed and we became consumed in each others’ lives. We were the life of the party, but with the fun came trouble and a heap of bad decision. I found myself sleeping in to avoid classes, getting drunk every weekend, worrying about dating way too much and struggling to keep a good GPA. At the time these were the girls I could see myself going on family vacations with in 10 years. These were the times I knew we would laugh about when we were sitting at our office’s desk, living the life we worked for. It wasn’t until my Junior year when it hit me that I was doing opposite of what I moved away to do in college. I wanted to find myself and make my family proud. I wanted to figure out my passion and keep my morals at the same time. I was one of the few people in my group of friends who worked while in college. I had a part time job that I worked every weekend, on top of sitting on the Homecoming Planning Committee and my internship with the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. I started seeing my friends less, we started having less in common. I had to trade in my nights for weekly meetings with the committee and every free time I had between homework and projects was spent learning from my supervisor at VisArts.
By the end of Junior year I had lost a handful of my closest friends. Without speaking negatively on them, I just saw that our lives were moving in two different direction. You know how they say ‘you start to become the people you surround yourself with’, well I didn’t want the reputation they had. I’m not the one to think I’m better than anyone, I just know I wanted more for myself. Being a girl from the wicked streets of Norfolk, VA, I just had more to prove to myself when it came to my education and social life. So slowly, I started to distance myself. I became closer with people who were either where I wanted to be or going in the same direction of me. As hard as it was to start ignoring my old friends’ text messages, skipping out on birthday dinners and such, I knew it was a lifestyle change I needed to be a better me.
Your circle of supporters/friends are vital to your success! It’s probably is as important as what you’re doing and how you hold yourself accountable for doing it. I’m happy that I learned that lesson at just 22, because now I’m able to filter out friends that aren’t benefiting or impacting me in a positive way. Learning what friends you can involve deeply in your life and those who you should let be loved from a distance can be tricky. I guess the biggest part is identifying what you need in a supporter. I challenge you to create of list of what you need in a friend/supporter, kinda like a job description. Do you need a circle of friends who have the same passion as you? Does integrity and honesty matter to you? Do you need a friend who cheers on every decision you make or do you just need a friend who will be keep it real with you? Remember you this circle of support will directly influence your life. You will pick up habits from them, they opinions will affect you and your reputation will be based off of them.
Since it’s the beginning of the year, it’s a perfect time to reevaluate some influential people in your life. Are they holding you back from your goal or pushing you towards it? Are they bringing you joy and peace or unnecessary stress or drama? This is something we have to think about every so often. Who you are surrounding yourself with should be as a fastidious process as choosing what skin care products you use, what you consume or the things you put your energy into. I’ll admit that I’ve let relationships and friendships take up too much time and energy than they should’ve when they weren’t the most positive things. Sometimes it’s because of the history of the relationship or not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, but this is when we should be selfish and selective. There are some things in life we can’t control, but who we allow in our life is one of those things we have full control over. So let’s start taking back that control.