Do my friends really know me? Or do they know who I used to be?
This article comes at a really interesting time in my life, as I am about to leave on vacation, where I will spend some time with an old college buddy, who I would ‘technically’ consider to be my best friend. But why would I say technically? We spent four years in college together, lived in the same house, bonded over beers, parties, girls and tough college classes. But where are we today? Do we actually still know each other?
Let me share a story about myself. A few years ago, I had an awakening experience, when my life hit rock bottom and I needed to re-evaluate my entire life. It was during this re-evaluation period that I realized, I was the creator of my reality and I actually had total control of rebuilding my life. I rebuilt my relationships, health and my career. I began creating my own destiny. I was finally taking charge of my life.
One of the biggest decisions I made during the restructuring of my life, was deciding to leave my ordinary career as a Property Manager in the Federal Government to start doing what I was passionate about and become a Life Coach. It was then that I started the wheels in motion to launch my own company Coaching Deconstructed Inc.
But when my friends caught wind that I had resigned from my post, instead of being happy and supportive for me and encouraging me to follow my dreams. I got a very different reaction. They told me I was crazy to leave 14 years into my career. They thought, I should stay and suck-it-up and that maybe I could do this ‘coaching thing’ when I retired (16 years from now).They asked me questions like can you really make a career out of coaching people? And the one comment I remember that stuck the most was, “I could never do what you are doing.”
That’s it! They could never do it.
You see my friends were raised by a generation that craved security so much so, they have been conditioned to follow that logical path based on their own fears and assumptions. So when you sit down with an old friend who has never been taught how to follow their intuition, gut or heart, they can’t relate. All they want to do is to keep you safe and protected. They will likely give you their advice based on what they would do in your situation, which isn’t necessarily what’s best for you. These are their limiting beliefs being projected on to you. Remember they even said it, “I could never do what you are doing.”
My advice…., you have enough limiting beliefs of your own, you don’t need to adopt any of theirs.
So why is this important to know?
When we begin to awaken to what we truly desire in our lives (connection and purpose), it can be a tricky place to navigate. You may no longer relate to your old friends in the same way as you did before? I can’t tell you the number of friendly gatherings that I have been to, where I wondered, if I was the only one there who felt completely alone in a crowd of people. Where I am present only in form, but not in spirit. This is because we haven’t cultivated these friendships to include our new experiences, our new views and what is truly important to us.
On the contrary over the past few years, I have attend a number of personal growth conferences, where I have felt totally comfortable in a crowd of strangers, sharing the most intimate of details, where I came out with amazing friendships that have been built on, openness, intimacy and connection. Where we share honestly where we are, what we are experiencing and what we need as support. It seems backwards, that we can feel so connected to relative strangers, but so disconnected from those we say are our friends. But the key to feeling truly connected, is to be vulnerable and remain open. And if you haven’t been doing that with your old friends…., are you really still friends? Do they really know who you are? And do you really know who they are?
So I challenge you to take notice of what happens to you when you are around your ‘best’ friends. Are you present and in the moment? Are talking about what is important to you? or are you talking about the superficial, or rehashing the past? Or are you totally in your head wondering if you fit-in anymore?
And if you aren’t fitting-in, or if you feel totally disconnected to your old friends, maybe it’s time to start sharing who you truly are. This is the only way you will truly know if this person is a friend you want to remain connected to or not. And maybe, just maybe your best friends can truly become your best friends again. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to be vulnerable and open with them, so that it gives them the opportunity to open up to you. Maybe this is what they are secretly craving themselves. They just need the permission from you, to know that it’s ok.
Here’s to you, sharing your true self, to your old friends, to your new friends, and to those who matter most to you. So that they can finally all really know who you are.