Birds of a feather flock together.
Have you ever heard that adage? I am sure that your parents, teachers or elders said that phrase to you tons of times. Am I right?
I know that when I was growing up I heard that saying almost every week. My parents always cautioned me about spending time with the “right” people. And, my father’s congregation always scared me to death with all types of horror stories about the potential for doom and gloom if I spent time with people who were from “around the way”, which was a code phrase for people who had bad attitudes and low altitudes. I was even promised hell and damnation if I spoke with people from the “bottom”, another code word for people to avoid. I heard it all. (I talk more about this in my book, I Have Learned A Few Things)
But as a know-it-all kid, I did not always heed their advice. But the older I get, the more I understand that who we spend time with directly shapes our lives. I learned that those closest to us have the greatest impact on our development, success, happiness and the fulfillment of our divine assignments. Even if we don’t acknowledge it, our inner circle influences us….for better or worse.
FACT: We are the SEEDS and our friends are our SOIL!
Why does our inner circle matter so much? Because being around people who challenge us brings OUT the best in us. Let’s face it. Something magical happens when we spend time with people who stimulate us, strengthen us and support us. Being stretched, mentored and equipped to do more, say more and to be more positions us to SOAR!!!
Oh…but this year I have witnessed and personally experienced the detrimental effects of being in the wrong circles. I have been in and seen circles that have choked creativity, crippled initiative and chipped away at the self-esteem of very confident people. I have witnessed circles that castigated dissenters, criticized innovation, and censured messages. I have seen “friends” reveal each other’s secrets, plagiarize each other’s work and gossip about each other’s flaws. Boundaries were crossed, assumptions were made and connections were fractured. This year I have seen more than I wanted to see, and I have experienced more than I wanted to experience. Yikes!
But as summer comes to a close, it is important that we ALL evaluate who is in our circle because, for some of us, changes need to be made if we expect to SOAR. We can NOT give false friends and true enemies access to our hearts, minds, and souls. We can NOT thrive amid drama, sabotage, and toxicity.
If we want to have different experiences, we MUST face some truths and make some hard decisions. And even though it may not be easy, we have to marginalize relationships that only offer drama, disrespect, and depletion so that we can maximize relationships that offer the “soil” we need to bloom.
Here are some questions to help you evaluate your relationships:
Does this relationship align with my purpose?
Does this relationship offer me help, hope or healing?
Does this relationship allow me to bring all of me to the relationship experience?
Does this relationship consume too much of my attention and distract me from my goals?
Does this relationship provide a safe place where I can share, grow and experience different parts of my humanity?
Does this relationship require me to downsize my gifts and downplay my successes?
Does this relationship provide flexibility and freedom?
Does the relationship create angst because the person is not spiritually mature or emotionally equipped to deal with life in a way that edifies us both?
Does the relationship provide an opportunity to enhance my communication skills and my conflict management skills?
Does the relationship provide peace, loyalty, and loving admonishment?
Does the relationship “feel” good and “feel” right based on where I am heading and who I am becoming?
To prepare for a more productive fall, evaluate your current relationships. Answer some questions. Then, determine if the relationship needs to end, be renegotiated, be marginalized or be enhanced.
Remember, you are the SEED and your circle is the SOIL. You can not bloom in barren, dry places devoid of nutrients. You need rich soil that’s cultivated and cared for.
You have the power and the responsibility to choose your circle. So, choose wisely!
Let’s Dare to Soar Higher as we choose friends that are fruitful, and not fatal.
If you want to learn more about identifying people who can enrich your life, sign up here for my newsletter.