What about your friends?
Two years ago I stretched across my hotel bed and journaled some of my feelings, and the words are still resonating with me today. After a long day of presenting, I came back to my room and began reflecting on the past month. This month I had many things going on, and it turned out to be very successful regarding my career, but I noticed that my friend list was on a decline. Blogging has become a stress relief for me in the midst of my crazy life. So when I initially started journaling about two weeks ago, I was very frustrated and aggravated about a few things. Two weeks ago I presented two days in Baton Rouge, and I received a text message asking me did I see someone at the conference. I replied back I wasn’t aware that they were even in town. I admit that I was a little-taken aback. Personally, if I decide not to attend my “friends” presentation, I will make sure I speak and hopefully to catch up with you afterwards if our schedule permits. Then I started to think about a few things that transpired over the past two weeks.
Before we go any further, let’s talk about friends. Last week I was told, “I do not think you have been a good friend.” Then I was told by another person “you are amazing. You’re a go-getter, but you intimidate people and view you as a threat because you’re the life of the show.” What is friendship? A friend is a word we use every day but most of the time we use it in the wrong way. For many, the definition of “friend” may be utilized a lot, yet friendship comes in various types of friends. Some are always on your side, and others just want to take you for a ride. And this list goes on again and again, but these are the people that we call friends. I started thinking about TLC lyrics “What about your friends; Will they stand their ground; Will they let you down again; Will they ever be around or will they turn their backs on you.” A real friend not only matches your spirit in excitement but also uplifts your spirits during the good and the bad times. True friends have the ability to show you more than you can see.
Today how many of us have shoulders to lean on outside our immediate family?
I have some friends I talk with on a regular basis and have some we may not talk every day, but when we catch up, we do not miss a beat. Recently I was asked why I have stopped talking to certain people over the years. I explained that friendships are another form of a relationship, and it takes two people. One person cannot carry the weight of the relationship. Sometimes the relationship diminishes in closeness or end for a variety of reason, outgrowing people based on our values — goals, changing interest, and relocation without sufficient effort to keep in touch — or unresolved conflicts and betrayal. I noticed once I stopped sending out daily motivations and created my blog that I lost contact with many people.
I found myself confused because things are going well in my career and personal life. I reached out to my support system seeking some guidance and wisdom. My grandmother reminded me of a time when I was growing up. She said, “Do you remember when we would be in church, and I would put my last in the collection plate, and you would ask me granny why are you giving away all of your money, and you are broke? Or when we would go out for lunch, and she would leave a tip, and I was confused about her tipping all the money she had. She reminded me of what she told me “DeAngelo because I am paying it forward for you, my children, and my great-grandchildren. Granny explained to me that the blessings I am receiving were gifts that were paid for a long time ago by so many people who loved and cared for me. She explained that, in this life, it is about planting seeds for your successors. Granny said “Deangelo people will be intimidated because they do not have a support system or nobody planted seeds for them. God has blessed you with wisdom and understanding. Never forget him or the people who planted seeds for you.”
I understand that I am flawed and far from perfect, but my heart is pure and genuine. Yes, I can be stubborn and rigid when it comes to ideas that I strongly believe in. I am very loyal, supportive, and devoted friend. My days are over breaking my neck for family and friends who do not support me. I’ve been burned too many times, and that ship has sailed from the port of no return. I’ve had to understand that some people will not show support until you have made it. When you learn your worth is when you stop giving people discounts. As I welcome spring, I am also starting my spring cleaning and close a few chapters and realizing everyone is not meant to make it to the end.
Therapist Corner: Spring Cleaning
It is officially spring, and it’s time for some spring cleaning of the clutter in our relationships. The clutter is the relationships that are messing up your focus and life. This relationship can be with friends, family, co-workers, lover or an ex-lover. The first loves that you broke up with, the one you set your goals and lowered for are not your priority. You are neglecting yourself while trying to force yourself into a nightmare. Live stress-free and enjoy what you have.
Set your boundaries. Walk away from the negative people you encounter. End your toxic relationships (including with family). It begins with a vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over and let it go. It may be difficult at first, but as you move away from negative people, you’ll become more confident and will attract positive people into your life. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives. It’s a sign that you’re no longer that person you were, it’s time to change into who you are. You want to find individuals who accept you for who you are, but are willing to challenge you, in a positive and constructive manner.