I don't remember where I first read this, but I stumbled upon an article by someone I admire asking readers to think about the 5 people they spend the most time with on a day-to-day basis. The idea behind this has really stayed with me over the past few years and I urge you to think through this too. What I've found since taking this to heart has been kind of amazing . . .
The idea is that by looking at the 5 people you spend the most time with, you're better able to dive deeper into how they are benefiting or hindering your growth in many ways (and I think it's okay to be a little selfish here).
Initially, I found this concept to be tricky to put into action. I felt as though I had to judge those around me, or categorize others onto some weird naughty or nice list, which is very much NOT me ... but of course it doesn't have to be like that.
When I very honestly took a step back and thought about my top 5, it wasn't that I felt superior to anyone. Looking at my relationships with these people, it wasn't that I had outgrown anyone either - it was actually that we had just outgrown each other.
Maybe we once held the same values and interests, but now we were moving in different directions, and this is okay! This happens! We go through so many changes in our lives - whether it's going to university, moving to a new city, having kids, going through a breakup - so it only makes sense that our inner circles shift too. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to cut anyone out of your life. Maybe it means you take a step back, give yourself some space, and become more selective with how you spend your time, who you spend it with, and base this on what YOU need in the present moment.
If you find yourself becoming someone you dislike when you're with a certain crowd or individual, it's okay to let those situations go, and it's okay to spend less time with them. Maybe every interaction with a certain person or group leaves you feeling exhausted as you try to work through another superficial problem they're dealing with. Maybe you find yourself refraining from sharing your ideas with them in fear of being laughed at, held back or ridiculed. Maybe you feel as though you give them your whole self and receive little credit or appreciation in return. Once you think about it, these patterns become easier to see.
So what happened when I looked inward at where I wanted to grow?
I started to feel less guilty about saying no to hangouts or saying no to doing things that I was no longer interested in. I started focusing more on aspects of my own life that I loved and doing more of those things. What I also found was that I was very organically drawn to certain people. I was more open to new friendships, new relationships and I became so. much. happier. It became increasingly important to me to carve out time to nurture the relationships that felt right, and through that I was able to find the support and love that I needed at that time to move forward.
By being 'selfish' in this, I was also able to be more present and to bring more value into the relationships that deserved my attention. This was important. My life became more authentic, more purposeful, and it made me into a better version of myself. This was evident in both my own life and the lives of others.
This shift took a long time to take effect. Looking back, I found it became easier as I cared less (and I'm trying to continue to care less and less still) about what others thought, released what didn't thrill me, and opened myself up to what did. This is where the growth happens! The magic! The change! The good stuff!
Think about what motivates you, what excites you, what THRILLS you. Let yourself be open to making new connections and forming a community of support around yourself that is authentic to you, and is what you need right here, right now. Need inspiration? Find someone in your community that inspires you and reach out to them! Buy them a coffee, pick their brain and see what you can learn. This has become a really valuable tool for me. Don't be shy - if they say no to sharing their wisdom they're probably not the kind of person you want to learn from anyways.
But if you find someone who challenges your opinions, makes you think more introspectively and pushes you while giving you the support you need in the process; grab hold of them so freaking tightly! And even more so; give it right back to them. Be that person of support for them. Love up on them so intensely that it helps them flourish in the same way you do when you're with them.
We're all better humans when we're honest, and we all grow when we support each other. These are my Friday musings.