“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” Leo Christopher
In the past, I chose friends using the strangest set of guidelines:
- I let the other person decide if we were going to be friends no matter the circumstances, even the woman who liked my husband more than she liked me, a friend who criticized my husband’s politics and my daughter’s parenting, and the couple who argued with each other and then blamed me.
- I said “yes” to friendships when I knew better because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
- I struck up friendships with people whom I felt uncomfortable around. It was my way of overcompensating for emotions I thought I shouldn’t feel toward them.
Stumbling onto the wisdom below helped enlighten every single relationship I had whether professional, family, or friend. I heard a fellow express it during his talk to a group of recovering alcoholics. My friend Betty passed along his tape to me. I fast-forwarded it a hundred times to the story he told about the father-daughter dance at his daughter’s wedding. Just like my daughter and her dad, they danced to “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
At the end of his message, he told his audience, “You are the wind beneath my wings. I love who I am when I’m with you.”
Every time I replayed that part, I cried. I wanted what he had, relationships in which I loved myself. I knew it’d mean setting boundaries, which I wasn’t good at. Twelve step programs called it “detachment with love.” I called it sanity because spending time with the wrong people drove me crazy.
I let go of two friendships that spanned more than two decades each. I detached from everyone I talked about at the beginning of this post. I stepped away from a few family members.
Letting go hurt, but holding on hurt more. The pain of not loving myself around family and friends kept healthy relationships at bay.
When a friend’s dad died in 2005, a group of us reunited who met in elementary school and stayed friends throughout college. We drifted apart because of grown-up responsibilities until we realized (at the funeral home) how much we loved who we were around each other. Out of our dozen friends, five or more of us have been getting together every month for 13 years. I love myself around them and around several other female friends who laugh, cry, and eat sugar together.
It’s transformative to find our people, to love them, and to love ourselves around them. Joel Osteen said, “Who you spend your time with will have a great impact on what kind of life you live. Spend time with the right people.”
Are you hanging out with people you love yourself around? I sure am when I’m with y’all, my readers.
In this together,