How do you know when you have grown or are becoming more aligned with your true, authentic self; your soul purpose?
It’s when situations and people you used to be okay with and used to even LOVE, devolve into people and situations you possibly can’t stand to be around. You may even be wondering how could you even be okay with them previously?
That’s par for the course when you are undergoing a spiritual or life transformation. Things that were okay no longer are. They no longer work. This is because you have outgrown them. The situation, the place, the person – you were all put together to serve a specific purpose, because they aligned with your frequency at that time.
When you experience a bout of growth, you will find this level of evolvment will bring you new situations and people, and some of the old ones will fall away. That is all normal and part of the cycle of metamorphosing into the amazing individual that you were put on earth to be.
I’ve seen many people grow out of friendships and relationships and with that comes a bucketload of guilty and shame. We aren’t supposed to not want anything else to do with them, we were supposed to be friends forever.
Said no one ever.
Friendships in particular seem to suffer from this “I will be loyal to my friend I met 20 years ago although we have nothing in common anymore” syndrome.
This year, I had to let go of several friendships that I felt were no longer serving me. Or rather, had not served me for a LONG time, I just didn’t want to admit it back then.
But because I’m moving into a space where I no longer want to keep living small, but I want to rise up to meet my , I want to move courageously towards the life I envision, I realise that not letting go of some people was just holding me back.
The following are 3 questions I always ask myself when I’m evaluating any friendship or relationship in my life. My hope is that it will also be useful to you if you are currently going through some stuff in your friendships.
#1 What is the glue that is holding this friendship together?
Dig deep and really consider – what are the themes this friendship is built on? I’m not talking about what you bond over, because some people will say they bond over good food or shopping. You can bond with people over these things and they aren’t necessarily friends.
What is the deeper glue that holds the both of you together?
When I think about my deeper relationships, we are always bound by our similar values. I have a close friend whom I bond over vegan food with, but what lies beneath that is the value of eating healthy and affordable food in places that aren’t crowded. We also share the same ambitious approach to our goals and have the same sentiments about relationships.
Another close friend whom I’ve known for over a decade and met very randomly – we share the same minimalistic and practical outlook towards life and day to day living. We also have the same sense of humour.
Another thing that holds all our friendships together? We all listen to one another equally in the friendship, accept the other person for who they are, have the same expectations towards the friendship and give the other space. I value honesty, empathy, care, humour, generosity and ambition/responsibility. My close friends also value the same.
The ones that I’m not close to? We are bound by superficial things like which pricey cafes to eat at, complaining (usually centred around one person/place or event) and gossiping. These things can be easily replicated with anybody.
Two friends that I’ve started to distance myself from – we only hang out because someone wants to eat somewhere. Friend A never bothers to listen whenever I need to talk about my issues and Friend B is one of the most self-absorbed, materialistic and judgmental people I’ve ever met. At every meeting, she was judging someone (usually a friend or a date on how badly they dressed, or someone’s “filthy” house or other). It was draining keeping up with the friendship and I was starting to grow resentful, so perhaps time to say adios.
What are your friendships bound by?
#2 Are our values aligned?
All of us have values. But our values are sometimes not the same. For instance, I value authenticity and open-mindedness. Friend B values image and status and isn’t very open-minded or inquisitive about others in general. Over time, I find that our values completely conflict and it informs the things we both want to do.
For instance, her idea of enjoying a day out: cab to expensive café for lunch -> cab to theatre for weekend movie -> head to another café for pricey dessert/coffee -> cab to another bar for drinks -> cab home.
Me? I rarely see the point of cabbing when I’m not in a rush and there’s public transport. I seldom dine at the pricey cafes in my city as I’m (i) never satiated (ii) the price and food quality don’t match half the time. I also like to dress comfortably in my downtime and not dress up to the nines just to have a latte.
It’s clear we don’t value money or image the same way and over time, I’ve gotten tired with compromising.
Are your values the same? If they are not and worse, if you are constantly stepping on your own needs and values to help him/her fulfil theirs, you are going to end up one very resentful, unhappy friend. This will slowly eat into your friendship and you will start to feel irritated and drained just being around them.
Lesson? Just be yourself. Speak up about what you want and don’t want to do. Compromise but not constantly at your expanse. Ask yourself is your friend doing the same or are you the one always bending over backwards to accommodate them?
If you put your foot down and the friendship doesn’t last, it wasn’t meant to be. Let it go.
#3 How do I feel when I think about this friend?
In a lot of my work, I talk about the energy we bring to a situation. This is usually a combination of emotions and intention. When your friend asks you out or when you think of your interactions, does it bring you joy or dread? This is usually your subconscious telling you how you really feel about the friendship.
When I was already over a friendship – but my conscious wasn’t aware yet – I’d always experience feelings of irritation, dread, resentment, anger and like I just want to “get away” each time they initiated contact or when we were about to meet. It was fascinating to observe the myriad of emotions that would come up, usually a sign of something that our subconscious is picking up.
I always felt excited and happy whenever I was about to meet a friend I liked. My energy was usually more upbeat. If a friendship tends to be characterized by low energy and low emotions, it could be a sign of the friendship not quite working out.
Some friendships aren’t meant to be close though
Yes not all your friends will be your BFFs. There are people who you’d just have dinner with once every 6 months but never text or see each other otherwise and that’s fine! Just as long as the both of you have the same expectations towards the friendship and you don’t feel like you are shortchanging yourself.
I don’t think you would have the same amount of closeness with all your friends. There will be some that you only bond over a certain activity but don’t share much similarities otherwise.
Friendships take time to grow
Friendships are like planting a tree and constantly nurturing it. It takes time to grow and it requires an almost equal amount of effort from the both of you for it to work well. The both of you have to want to put in the effort though, else it would also fizzle out.