Your parameters were defined at a very young age. Before you could even pronounce your name, you were already tucked in a family unit. This became your little spot in the world. It was the first time you truly belonged somewhere.
This sense of belonging would ultimately form the basis of the many friendships you would end up forging over the course of your life. And because it felt good to belong somewhere, you amassed even more friends.
The more you accumulated, the better it made you feel. And rightfully so, because in so many ways, they colored your life and added a certain zing to it. You liked that. It was almost as if you couldn’t live without them. Actually, you couldn’t live without them. They became an essential part of your life.
Little did you know that those friendships would eventually place a stamp on your potential based on their perception of you. Perhaps it was because they knew who you were. The real you. They saw past the mask that you wore to the rest of the world and didn’t judge you.
The best part of all?
They accepted you just as you were. In exchange, you gave them your loyalty. Because let’s face it, everything in life has a price. A trade-off. This was yours.
And while you didn’t know it at the time, by extending loyalty, you allowed them to define you and the extent to which you could stretch your abilities and aspirations. Basically, you gave them the power to define your potential and hence, your destiny.
Don’t get me wrong.
Friendships are wonderful. But in the same breath, they can also be your greatest hindrance to greatness. Though on the surface, it rarely appears that way. The reality is, when it comes to friendships, nothing is as blinding as loyalty.
And in a sense, this probably explains why it becomes very difficult to spot the thin line that defines which friends are worth holding onto and which aren’t. This very thin line is often blurry, but if you could harness the ability to see it, it would bring a huge change in your life. It really can alter the trajectory of your life.
Allow me to explain.
You see, most friendships clip your wings by validating your own self-defeating narrative. And no one does this better than those who know the real you. It’s often those who saw you long before you showed yourself to the rest of the world.
The living witnesses to your early years. Those who can trace the steps back to your humble origins in a heartbeat. Those who knew you when you were nothing but a moth, way back when you didn’t look like you could amount to anything, let alone much. I hate to burst your bubble, but these right here are the worst kind.
Because as they massage your insecurities, they remind you of where you come from. They look at you through the lens of your past. You see, your loyalty to them gives them so much power that all it takes to decimate your dreams is a single statement.
And just like that, they crumble to dust.
If you can learn how to spot these sorts of friendships and extract them from your life, you’d be setting yourself free. This is the way you break free from the hold that limits your potential.
Because as long as your dreams remain within the boundaries of what your friends have established for you, your happiness will never come. It’ll always be a far-fetched dream.
Forever peeking through the curtains but never close enough for you to be able to live it. Now that you know this, how do you kickstart the process of severing your friendships with people whose purpose in your life no longer serves you? With those who put a cap on what’s possible for you?
You do so by reminding yourself of these two basic truths:
1. Everything has an expiry date.
There is a season for everything. At some point, everything comes to an end. Guess what? Friendships are no exception. Perhaps if you learned to accept and embrace this truth, it would make it that much easier for you to walk away from people.
And no. This doesn’t make you egocentric, it just makes you pragmatic. People change. Things die. Emotions wither. It’s a cycle of life. The sooner you can accept that, the more freedom you’ll get.
2. Less is more.
It really is. When you eliminate people who block your light, you create space for your light to magnify. That’s how you turn from a moth to a butterfly. Friendships are great. You can’t argue with that. They fill an innate need for acceptance. Because humans need that. But only if they don’t put a lid on who we can become. That’s the litmus test of a worthy friendship.
So yes, when you spot that thin line, it’s perfectly okay to cancel your subscription to such friendships. Because let’s face it, they were never real friendships in the first place.