The people you surround yourself with and the environments in which you frequently spend time both have a big influence upon your mood, your view of the world, your thoughts and the aspirations you have for yourself. By osmosis, your life is shaped by those closest to you, whether that be family, friends or co-workers. Without realising, we begin to mirror the attitudes, behaviours, beliefs and standards of those who are consistently around us. So it is important that we really understand the impact of these relationships, since they can exert either a positive or negative influence in our lives.
When we form friendships, how much attention is paid to the purpose they serve in our life? There is a tendency to stay comfortable in who and what we know, to overlook negativity or laziness in friends, and to feel daunted by stepping away from what no longer nourishes and grows us for fear of offending people and stepping into the unknown. But think about what is possible if you consciously choose to surround yourself with the right people, those who inspire you, challenge you and keep you accountable. This is what motivational speaker Les Brown describes as practicing “OQP – only quality people”.
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes your network of connections and friendships. There is more to gain from forging deeper, authentic relationships with a smaller inner circle of people who accept and love you for who you are, and who are truly important to you. Curating an inner circle that comprises of people who ask nothing of you, who do not demand you to flex and bend in order to ‘belong’, who make you feel completely at ease, yet at the same time encourage and challenge you to grow and become the greatest version of yourself, will ultimately bring you fulfilment, love and peace.
With age, I have gotten more comfortable with who I am and learned who I am not. As a result, I have come to place greater value in having a small inner circle of only quality people. I count six friends as my inner circle. These are the people who know me inside out, whom I trust without question, who I can count on know matter what, who give good advice, never judge and together we have the best of times. Yes, I have other people in my life who I spend time with and whose company I enjoy, but the depth of the connection is not quite the same.
As I have learned self-acceptance and love so I have become better at identifying and letting go of friendships that in truth were one-sided, in which loyalty was not present and our values were not truly aligned. At first, this can feel uncomfortable but its important to recognise that your energy and time is precious so why not make a healthy life choice and prioritise spending time with the right people. You’ll be amazed how much more you can get out of life when you set the bar higher and focus on quality connections with true friends who love you dearly and have your best interests at heart. It’s okay to have less but real friends – you are worth it!