“You aren’t judged by the company you keep, but how well you keep it.” Anonymous.
Let’s rewind to a few years ago when I spent my time with a fun group of (cue quotation mark fingers) friends. You know, the let’s-go-out-together-because-it’s-convenient crew that you know, deep in your heart, are not the forever friendships that they make great films about. They were what I would refer to as my “filler friends,” and, as luck would have it, my assessment became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Over time, I started to notice that my life was becoming filled with other people’s drama and the toxicity was finding its way into my once very peaceful life. After way too much stress, I realized that it was time to start thinking about the people I let into my world and shared so much of my time with. That’s when the real questions began: was I truly happy? Did I need or even want these people in my life?
Everywhere I looked, there was always some sort of sticky confusion or tangled misunderstanding. From the friends that would get angry if I missed a text (hello, we all get busy), to those who would consistently take advantage of my generosity–yet still always find a way to get mad at me, when I was the charitable one–I would run around in circles with my stomach in knots until one day the gig was up.
I was done.
Now, let me be clear: I didn’t just start cutting people out of my life, but I did start rearranging them. There were some sitting on the top shelf of my life who were quietly moved to the bottom–no need to burn any bridges–and others I made a commitment to get to know more. Almost instantly, a weight was lifted. It was a profound moment in my life as I realized that I was fully in control and could make any move I wanted to, extreme or gentle, to take care of me.
A couple of years later, when I moved to a new city with a new job, I embraced the opportunity to meet all types of new people while also connecting with old friends. Because of my lesson a few years earlier I was able to enter this phase of my life with a fresh outlook. I moved to New York City with the mindset that I only needed friends with benefits, that is: we both bring something to the table which is our real friendship. We need to be cognizant of who we are surrounding ourselves with, especially in a world where it can be easy to get wrapped up in other people’s narcissistic energy. My father always told me, “misery loves company,” and he was right! Stay away from those who wallow and complain and cannot find the beauty in a new day. Keep in mind the importance of having a strong and positive sense of self. Do everything you can to build your confidence and understand who you truly are. Like truly does attract like, so the more positive, loving and self aware you are, the more you will attract those with whom you share those qualities. I now surround myself with people who show me that our relationship is meaningful to them and those I aspire to be like rather than letting anyone drag me down. As a result, I have met some amazing new friends along the way.
By staying mindful of these simple mantras and techniques, my happiness has increased tenfold. I am now living my best life and I have been given some amazing opportunities that the old me would never have imagined possible. It’s also an incredible feeling to be completely vulnerable yet honest with yourself in a way you have never experienced before; to be able to open your arms to the universe and feel it hug you back in return. You start to realize how small (and close-knit) a city like New York can feel and how all of the dots eventually do connect.
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