“If you want to really know what a person truly is like then you need to take a look at their friends.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and this is my Sweat City retake: “If you want to know what YOU really think of YOURSELF, then take a look at your friends.”
Who we choose to spend time with, who we allow to share those precious moments of time that are ours to decide to spend however we wish; these people reveal more about what we unconsciously think we’re worth than almost anything else.
If we choose to be in an intimate relationship with a man or woman who cheats on us, then some part of us believes that we are not worthy of the effort that it takes to be truly faithful. If we are friends with somebody who is consistently, willfully late to every brunch, night out or movie then that says that we accept that their time and life is more important than our time and plans.
The ‘friend’ that consistently tries to sabotage our healthy eating commitments by ‘accidentally’ ordering pizza with extra cheese when the original plan had been a delicious Thai stir-fry is behaving in a passive aggressive way and placing their needs, wants or fears (you changing, you growing away from them) far above your own. A lover that sulks when you choose to go to the gym after work rather than rushing to the neighborhood bar to drink beer with them is NOT doing that because they love you so much they can’t bear to be without you for a second. They are doing it because THEY want to drink and they don’t want to have to question their stress management by having you show by example that there ARE other, very successful alternatives.
A true friend wants the very best for us and our happiness, and they get excited to share that with us. A girlfriend or boyfriend that is deeply in love with us is respectful of our efforts to become healthier, happier and more fulfilled. If they are smart they know that the better we feel about ourselves, the more we will BOTH be able to enjoy the couple time we spend together.
Backstabbing, bitchiness, passive aggressive behavior, sulkiness or outright disrespect on any kind of a consistent basis is NOT acceptable. We are all: each and every one of us, worth so much more than that! In all honesty if we really mean to accomplish our life, fitness and personal goals then this toxic behavior can’t be allowed to fester and derail all our hard work and results.
So is the relationship truly worth trying to salvage or has it gone so far past it’s sell-by date that the Health Inspector needs to shut it down?
By this I mean what’s the balance on the emotional scale? Overall do I leave an interaction with this person generally feeling uplifted, happy, stimulated, caring and cared for? Or am I frequently sad, feeling insecure, do I find myself questioning who I am and who I want to be, do I hear a voice in my head telling me that my dreams are dumb? Pointless? Unrealistic?
If overall the feelings are positive but perhaps my friend has a habit that I find hurtful then it is important for me to be an adult and to communicate that, in a kind and generous way. Often people have no idea that their behavior or off-hand comments affect us so deeply.
If when I think about the ‘emotional scale’ the feelings are predominantly negative then this is the time that I really take a look at MYSELF and figure out why I allow this relationship to continue. Is it just a habit? Am I scared that if I’m no longer close with this person then I’ll have no friends, or be “single forever”? Do I secretly agree with the mean things they say about me? Do I think that that’s all I deserve, all I’ll ever get?
We often know our friends for much longer than we are in an intimate relationship, yet for some reason people rarely think about whether they are still a good ‘fit’ with their friends. I think that it’s just as important to take inventory on our friends as our lovers. And if necessary it’s just as important to break up with them if the friendship makes us miserable and we dread picking up the phone when they call.
Yes, it’s nice to be a good person and perhaps they DO ‘need’ us. But honestly are we helping either them OR us by maintaining a friendship that is toxic and more enables negative behaviors on both sides than anything remotely positive?
I used to spend time with people that were very funny and entertaining and sexy. But they were also mean, exclusionary and treated themselves, their bodies and each other like dirt under their shoes. The Jessica that I used to be chose to spend time with these people. I was deeply unhappy, I had a lot of casual ‘encounters’ but was incapable of real intimacy, and I treated my body like I didn’t really care if I died or not. When I made the decision to actually GET A REAL LIFE those ‘friends’ had to go.
Was I lonely? Well yes, sometimes for a little while. But I took that time to actually think about who I was, who I wanted to be and what I actually ENJOYED DOING. It turned out it wasn’t getting wasted in nightclubs for another 5 years, having identical experiences time after time (because when you don’t actually DO anything, eventually no one you know has ANYTHING new and interesting to talk about)! :)
So I started trying out other, different things that I thought I might like. I took writing and art classes, joined some random clubs, tried different sports and yoga, went to quirky movies, the gym etc. Some were a good fit, some weren’t but they ALL showed me that there are literally thousands of different people out there to be friends with. It’s a gradual process but having the support and company of people who share similar goals and have aspirations beyond hooking up with the hottest girl out that night is an unbelievable experience.
I have people in my life now that am proud to have ‘represent’ me, because they’re smart, funny, ambitious, and healthy. So that must mean that I’m doing something right :)
To me it says all the hard work was and is worth it. I genuinely like who I am as a person. I’m frequently imperfect but I try hard every day to be the best I can be today. Just for today.