When I was a child, I thought being grown meant you could make your own decisions, eat as much ice cream as you wanted, go where you wanted, and stay up as late as you wanted.
When I turned 18, I thought I was grown, because I could do all of that, and then some. I made choices I thought were best for me, without seeking counsel, or listening to understand the council, from the women, and men who had been down “the road” before me. So, I made choices based on my feelings, instead of facts and truth. I made choices of who to spend my time with or give my time to. Regardless of the fact, my “companions” did not value my time, or me, I gave them place in my life to use up resources, e.g. social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, financial, given me to steward. Not thinking from a place of spiritual values and self-worth, I subconsciously began to lower myself, by lowering my standards. This was a slow, subtle flow of compromises, I began to make with myself. I didn’t even recognize, until it was too late. Subtle changes in my vocabulary was the beginning. I dumbed down my intelligence, both natural, and spiritual to accommodate those who felt threatened; but I didn’t think of it that way at the time. It was my hope that the people I associated with, would eventually change, or I would be better, or get myself in a better position to help. I think the latter was really why I stayed in some relationships I shouldn’t have.
I began to let go of myself piece, by incrimental piece.
Decisions From Frame of Reference
My decision making process from 18–21 years old, had its roots in a 7 year-old frame of reference, and an 18 year-old perspective. For some reason in the back of my mind, or subconscious mind, I thought I had all the time in the world. ( my 18 year-old perspective) The seven year-old in me was still looking for validation, and had not been healed yet. As a result, I stayed too long in situations. I gave too much of my spiritual, and emotional resources to the wrong people, and I devalued the light, and the gift God gave me, for far too long. My thinking was, that if I dimmed, just a little bit longer, maybe “they would change” I gave my friendship to people, who only wanted use of me, the gift inside me, not the truth of me.
Often times it’s hard to come to the truth. But I just want to offer those who will listen, some things to look for, when building a relationship of any kind.
What do they come to the table with?
Is what they have to offer real or imagined?
Unfortunately people do not practice keeping their word, so as a friend recently reminded me, “you have to do fruit inspection.” Is what they say, lining up with what you see? My grandmother put it this way,”actions speak louder than words.” Questions to ask yourself are: Are they truly adding to you, making deposits into what’s important to you on a consistent basis, or are they constantly depleting your resources e.g. emotional, mental, spiritual, financial? Is that team member willing to let you do all the work while taking the credit? You may want to limit your interaction with these types of people.
Are They Truly Friends?
Friends will challenge you to do better than mediocrity, not live with it.
If your friends are saying, they love you, but you are constantly receiving negative feedback, about you e.g. your hair, your thoughts, your values, your friends, then there may be a chance the individual, is not there for your best interest, but for their own. Using words that will give him or her, what he or she wants from you, instead of what they can give to you; are tendencies of selfish, manipulative people.
If you have friends that consistently pull you away from what you know is good for you, they don’t support your efforts, constantly take from you without return, and look for ways to bring you to a lower level of thinking or being, these are not your friends.
The people in Proverbs 2:13–19 delight in doing perverse things. Are the people you give your time to, influencing you to be your best self, or are they celebrating your worst self? Do you feel like you have to do what they want, for them to like you? They may not be your friend. If you feel drained, when you spend your time with them, then as Jenny said to Forrest Gump, “Run Forrest run!”
The Action Of Friendship
Words of affirmation, and actions affirming love/friendship put your needs first. Offering to help you reach your goals, and taking up tasks that help you reach those goals, limiting, or eliminating behaviors which sabotage your success, are all character traits to look for when establishing relationships. On a workplace, or business level these dynamics are slightly different, but still carry the same principle.
Example: I’m working for a company, researching, compiling information, and preparing a presentation of the requested information/research. My team members were given the task of chronicling the evidence within the report for the presentation, but they failed to do so, affecting our company’s oportunity to gain accounts.
Another simple example would be, if I were hired by a company to complete a task, and after completing the task I wasn’t paid. I would then re-evaluate the relationships, as to whether to do business with them again.
We all realize there are variables that factor into our differing situations, but paying attention to “the fruit” on both sides, ours and theirs, will help us determine how to engage, or if we should engage at all, valuing what we have been given to steward “piece by incremental piece.