Friendships are essential in life. They’re a part of what makes life worth living. They add richness and purpose to our inner world. Our friends are the ones that lift us up when we’re down, share in our laughter and joys when we’re up and invoke a sense of camaraderie and togetherness through the many adventures life takes us through.
Yet there comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to take a long hard look at their friendships. Are they really friendships that help elevate you and your life to higher levels of happiness, success, freedom and ultimately inner peace and light?
Or are they leading you elsewhere?
It’s a very uncomfortable thing to evaluate your friends. After all, isn’t that the opposite of what friendship is all about? “I’ve got your back no matter what.”
It can seem like the opposite of unconditional love and loyalty to evaluate those kindred souls that have ridden the highs and lows of life with you since you were a Shadow of your current self.
And yet therein lies the answer. It’s not uncommon for us to hold onto friends that we made when we were much younger, much more naive about life and what we wanted from it. From a time when we didn’t really know our purpose or what we valued most highly in life. The pertinent question then becomes, are we still really kindred souls?
As we personally become clearer on where we’re going in life, on what we cherish most deeply and the direction we want to move, as we move closer to the Light, it becomes essential to review everything that will influence our level of success, our level of freedom and our ability to align ourselves with true inner love, with peace and light.
You see, one of the most influential factors on whether we achieve success in life at any chosen discipline, is our environment.
Environment is HUGE. It affects everything in your life without you even realising it. And it’s exceptionally hard to buffer against when your environment is not conducive to you reaching your goals.
Your friends, the peers that you choose for yourself form a key essential part of that Environment, and the best part is that this is one aspect that you do have significant control over. – BUT only if you actively choose and check for alignment as your journey back to the Light continues.
A simple example, imagine this, you decide you want to be healthy and fit and toned. No more eating out all the time, splurging on junk food without check, no more missing workouts or training. You’ve found yourself suddenly serious about your body and your health. It means so much to you to feel good inside yourself and have high levels of energy and clarity of thinking, and you know that caring about what you put into your body and giving it the exercise it needs is the only sustainable way to achieve this.
You start to eat with a new level of awareness, consciously choosing healthier more nutritious options rather than the sugar or salt laden treats and unhealthy meals of old. And you commit to a new exercise schedule, one that feels good and right for you, and one that seems to be making a difference.
It’s not that easy to make the changes, but you’re committed and you put in the effort to live your new healthier lifestyle. The benefits become noticeable and grow cumulatively and this only reaffirms to you that you’ve made the right lifestyle decision. After all, who doesn’t love more energy, more joy, more capacity to make life happen and just a general level of wellness and clarity of thinking and ease in life?
But, here’s the problem: If most of your friends love unhealthy treats and junk food and have motivational issues with exercise, guess what’s going to happen when you decide to hang out together… you’ll be subtly but gradually increasingly encouraged to miss the gym or yoga session. It won’t be obvious maybe, but it won’t be a priority for them, and they won’t understand your newfound commitment or “obsession” with it. Worse, when it comes to sharing a meal or grabbing a quick snack… are you going to be able to continually resist the temptations of your favourite tortilla chips or chocolate cheesecake desert???… The slide may be gradual, but it will happen eventually without any of you even realising that your goals are being sabotaged. After all, your coordinates are keyed in for different destinations. How can you possibly fly together unless one of you changes course…
Don’t believe you can beat peer pressure without it taking it’s toll. A rising tide floats all boats – and the opposite is true too.
Your friends will naturally gravitate towards their life purpose (which may just be material pleasures without any acknowledgement for the higher joys in life) and unless you outnumber them significantly, you will find yourself gradually, maybe not immediately perceptibly, but most definitely eventually and increasingly, swept along with the tide.
In contrast, associating with people who by virtue of their own aspirations and achievements, inspire you to be your best, to live up to your highest values and to achieve your true goals in life, will fulfil you like no other friend of days gone by could. Being part of a group of such like-minded people is like taking the fast-track to success, peace, joy and freedom. Free from the chains of expectations of people who you no longer share a common destination with. Free to absorb good habits and ideas and compassion and commitment for the higher ideals in life – simply by osmosis.
This is not about ditching your old friends. It’s about loving them and yourself enough to know when your journeys are diverging. It’s about caring enough about both of you to accept that only friction lays ahead if try to hold onto old ways that are neither serving you or the friendship. It’s about honouring your love for your friends and yourself, by taking a gentle step back and seeing that the friendship must evolve to something new so you can both be free and true to who you have now become.
Ultimately, it’s simply about monitoring the amount of time you spend in the company of people who don’t share your aspirations or outlook and direction in life. It’s about choosing to run in the right direction to take you where you need to go…
I don’t say this is easy. Change is never easy. Friends are about comfort and coming home after all. But there comes a time when we must all fly the nest to fulfil our life’s purpose.
And what happens if you can’t find the courage within yourself to do this?
The price of not evaluating your friendships and checking for alignment with your own life’s purpose will be high. It will ultimately cost you personally in a very deep and profound place where no external friendship can reach or compensate for.
So be your own friend. Ask yourself now, what is it that’s most important to me in life? What is my life’s purpose? What is that I want to do, to have and most importantly and ultimately, who is it that I want to be?
When I look back on my life in my last moments when death comes to release me, what do I want to see? Did I live up to my dreams, to my goals? Did I live my life fully and joyfully in alignment with my deepest values? Did I live up to who I always wanted to be?
Thinking seriously about your last moments in life and imagining these questions can be a sobering and enlightening exercise. They say, you should start with the destination in mind after all.
There’s also a saying: “your friends are you”. If this is true on any level, then we owe it to ourselves to be brave and make the evaluation. There is more good in this for the whole of mankind, than there is in blindly following your associations without awareness or insight.
So ask yourself now, do my friends embody and reflect my aspirations? Are they on the same path? Do they share my highest inner values?
If they don’t, then know now, that you’ve already compromised reaching your goals, and being everything that you’re capable of being.