I’ve made it a point to detox-the people in my life: to rid the people that weigh me down and concentrate on the people that lift me up. Because here’s the thing: The people you surround yourself with in this world will define you-Period Point Blank. This process, though gradual, will occur despite your best efforts to prevent it. Many of us tend to define our popularity or even self-worth based on the number of Facebook friends we have or the size of our contact list. Sometimes we get so caught up in the process of watching the numbers add up that we tend to forget how many of those people are actually crucial in our lives. This is made increasingly difficult considering we aren’t certain who we are even looking for anymore. As opposed to just meeting people and hoping they will fit like a puzzle into your life, find people who are better than you in whatever aspect so you have someone to admire and something to aspire to. Basically know who you are looking for. Without further ado and in no particular order: the ten people you need in life.
These are the people that are the do-gooders, the activists, the non-profit leaders, the charity holders, the ones in charge of all the raise-awareness campaigns. Simply put, these people might as well be the reincarnation of Mother Teresa. It’s not unlikely to find them playing chess with the elderly in the nursing homes or serving in the soup kitchen even when it’s not a holiday. They get genuine joy from serving others, even in the most minor ways.
Befriend these people, for they will teach you the compassion, gratefulness and selflessness. Perhaps most important, these are the friends that will teach you humility, something that in today’s individualistic culture, everyone could use a dose of. They will teach you that giving really is better than receiving. Make it a point to find or spend more time with the friends that believes in giving their time, because trust me when I say this, our problems will always pale in comparison when we are exposed to the bigger picture. These are the friends that will show you that in the grand scheme of things, you have every reason to feel blessed.
These are the people that when you fall, will tell you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. They are your support system. For every time you fail, they will have an A for effort ready, and for every heartbreak, they will have Ben n’ Jerry’s by the gallon. When you think that one bad decision will follow you for the rest of your life, these are the people that remind you that you have the rest of your life to change that reputation. They will cheer you on to succeed and even when you fall short of the goal, they will remind you it’s a bump in the road and nothing more. They never doubt your abilities and encourage you to pursue whatever it is that you have your heart set on despite the disapproval you may get elsewhere. These are the people that will not laugh at you when you say you want to try out for American Idol. Consider them your personal energizer bunny when you’ve hit the exhaust.
Befriend these people, for they will teach you to believe in yourself, to reach for your full potential, and that even when you are completely drained, there is still just a tad bit more in you that will push you over the top. They will teach you to maximize your capacity. They will teach you to never settle. Be it a box of crayons for your inner Picasso or note books for the Shakespeare in you, they will always find a way to encourage you, be it via words or kind gestures. They will teach you that your voice matters. They believe in you even when you don’t.
These are not just the people that see the cup half full, but the people who rejoice over the fact that an empty cup has the potential to fill to the brim. Much of the time you will realize that these are the people that have gone through more than anyone should in life. Yet they go on, they still function, and they make it through each day with a smile. That’s what makes them an optimist-because they chose to survive. You will find that these are the people that will shut you up when you complain about your miserable life without saying a word, but just by how they go on about their day.
Befriend these people, for they will teach you the power of choice. They will teach you that you can chose to perceive the world in a positive light. That regardless of all the suffering and darkness in this world, that you can still chose how you feel, and how to see that life-although not perfect, has room for improvement. They will teach you to rejoice and give more importance to the small things in life. They will teach you optimism and endurance.
These are the people that you have no problem pouring your heart out to because you know that no one else will ever know. Much of the time talking to them feels like a confession and also your go-to when you need advice. These are the people that will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. They will bring you back to reality when you try to rationalize the stupid decision you are about to make and can take credit for preventing you from much of the unnecessary chaos you could have potentially caused yourself. But even when you screw up, there is no judgment, and if they are kind enough, they may even control their need to say I told you so. They are a constant reminder that you are a better person than in whatever activity that you about to partake in that you will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, regret.
Befriend these people, for they will teach you virtue, character, self-control, and the strength to resist temptation. They will teach you to let morality empower your decisions in a world that is seemingly anything but moral. They will teach you to think before you make that choice. These wise folks will teach you discernment. They will drill accountability into your head and that that one moment of fun isn’t worth the weeks of guilt. Consider these people the angel on your right hand shoulder, the Jiminy Cricket that may not always be the most fun but definitely crucial.
These are the people that were always on the honor roll, the AP kid through high school, the one that worked two jobs and still found time to tutor, oh and always looked flawless without seeming to ever break a sweat. We all know them, we all mildly envy them, and chances are these are the kids your parents compared you while you were growing up. They are incredibly goal oriented, and even more determined to get there.
Befriend these people, for they will teach you passion, commitment and dedication. They will teach you that hard work pays off in the end and all the parties you missed to stay home and study for your board exam will be worth it. It’s true what they say, the people you hang out with will rub off on you, so make it a point to befriend people who will make you set goals for yourself and strive to reach them.
These are the people that live in the moment without regard for others opinions. These carpe diem’ers (dare I say YOLOers?) appreciate every moment of life. It isn’t unusual to find them in a different country every time you talk to them, or for them to hang up on you because it’s their turn to jump off a bridge and will wait until the last possible second to pull the cord. These are the travelers, the ones with never ending bucket list ideas that never even crossed your mind, and the ones that prefer a bike over cars. These adrenaline junkies were the first ones on roller coasters and water slides as kids and simply refuse to be bored with life. These are the people that can truly attest to the lyrics of One Republic: “Ev-ery-thing-that-kills-me…makes me feel alive!”
Befriend these people, for they will teach you how to be your own person, self-confidence and spontaneity. They will teach you that “just because” or “I felt like it” is indeed, a valid reason. They will teach you that all the money you rack up in this world mean nothing unless you make every single day count. They will teach you appreciation of time, of experiences rather than material things, and how amazing it feels to make your blood boil.
These are the people that can make a profession out of turning trash to treasure. These are the ones who first picked up broken glass and invented Mosaics. They cut up old jeans to make shorts and find candid shots to be the most beautiful. These people are huge contributors to the DIY network and spent a good amount of their time on HGTV and magazine cutouts. Old newspapers to them are elaborate structures, vintage art, and houses for their hamsters. In fact, chances are, they made the vast majority of the things they own. It doesn’t really matter what their knack is, be it cooking, drawing, painting, stitching, knitting, photography, sculpture or writing, these are the people that can make magic with their hands. They are the innovators that can take raw materials and produce both function and beauty.
Befriend these people, for they will show you how much more there is in this world. Above all, they will teach you that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and just by changing the way you view things, they have the potential to actually become more. In essence, they will inspire you. In psychology there is a term called “functional fixedness” which means we are limited to seeing an object only as they are traditionally used. For example, a towel to most will be nothing more than something to dry off with. But to those that broke the barriers or functional fixedness or have yet to be limited by this concept (such as kids), a towel is a cape, a picnic blanket and wall décor. Basically these people will teach you to appreciate things you normally wouldn’t, not for what they are but for what they could be.
These are the people who love to live in their own world. Most of their sentences start with “what if” or “In x number of years” and have a mind unlike most. They are imaginative and they love to argue. Even when they agree with you, they will still play devil’s advocate, just as food for thought, just to make you think in a non-traditional way. These people think in ways most don’t and they embrace it. They can’t stand surface level conversations about how someone’s day was, but are more concerned about what someone’s day would be like generations from now.
Befriend these people, for they will teach you to stretch your mind to the seam, they will make you wonder how you never thought of it yourself, and how to grow and learn by questioning everything. They will challenge everything you know. They will teach you nothing is etched in stone and everything can go in more than one direction. These Aristotles will teach you not to be bound by today but to be more concerned about what tomorrow could hold. They will force you to analyze every possible choice and the resulting consequences before you make your move. These are the people that will make you either reevaluate or make you reaffirm yourself and sometimes even both.
Take one or take both: The Elder sibling and the younger sibling. The elder one for the teens: will be the reason that you got to hang out with the cool, older kids in high school, the one whose clothes you gladly take before it hits the donation been, the one who teaches you how to shave without cutting yourself and how to wear make-up without making yourself looking like a clown. They will have your back and have authority as the “older mature” child that can sometimes convince your parents to go out past curfew because they promise to take care of you. These are the friends that will yell at you for doing poorly in school, try to make you do your 5 page essay due at midnight yourself, and then will do it for you when you get desperate. Of course they will promise this was a one-time thing, and regardless you will still go to them sheepishly for your English final. These people will teach you the tricks of the trade because they have been in this world longer than you. They know your thought before you ever get the chance to execute them, and will with some sort of psychic ability tell you, “Don’t even think about it” Befriend these people, simply because they’ve been in your shoes-because they were there-because they know better.
The younger sibling: Although they may not teach you much in life of particular value, they will teach you that you are always being watched. Like children, they absorb everything they see and everything you do. You learn that you are forced to be a role model, so inevitably you will chose to lead a life that you want them to follow. You learn to keep yourself accountable, not for your sake but for theirs. Additionally every now and then, they will say something remarkable, that make you question the things you knew the back of your hand. They will teach you to never underestimate anyone because they are young. And above all they will teach you the virtue of patience, and gratitude to your own older siblings for having put up with you through your worst.
These are the people… nope. This is just one person. Even if you have none of the people aforementioned, you have this one person. This is you. Despite how many friends you may or may not have, the one enemy many of us tend to have is ourselves. This is not for those with confidence in yourself to succeed regardless of the curve balls life may throw your way. No. You my friend are one massive step ahead of the game. This is for those who criticize themselves to the point where you want nothing more than to rock back and forth in fetal position under your covers:
You are your own destroyer, looking at yourself in every which angle just to focus on the negative and rip yourself to shreds. You are not chiseled to perfection and you are not the happy go lucky person that always has a smile on their face. You are hurt and broken. You are not perfect. You are not okay. You are your own obstacle to being healed. I have a secret for you: It really is okay to not be okay. Learn to love yourself. I know- easier said than done. But none of these people will matter until you learn to do that. Anyone you can ever surround yourself with are but crutches until you can learn to stand on your own two feet. So hold your head up high, because you should never find yourself in a position that if the people you hold close to your heart cease to exist in your life, you won’t be able to go on. Love yourself. It’s something that takes time and the process is gradual and frustrating. But it is possible. But mainly its priority and it’s essential.
Get rid of the excess. Make room for the needed. Make it a point to find these people in your life and to learn from them-everything you can possibly absorb. And if you are lucky to have a person in your life to have multiple of these characteristics, never let them go. Above all else, never for a moment, take a single one of them for granted.
Basically surround yourself with people that will make you grow as opposed to clipping your wings. With people who will lift you up. And if doing that means cutting the Quantity of the people in your life for quality it’s worth it. Everyone else is just passing by and not worth holding onto.