One of the biggest challenges you’ll face in trying to strive for self-betterment and becoming a stronger individual is having to let go of people whose influence makes you weak.
When we’re young is the hardest time to do this because our social group has such a strong influence and impact on our lives. Teenagers and young adults travel in packs. They live as herd animals at this phase of their emotional and social development.
It’s perfectly natural that a young person would belong to a group and to follow the rules of that group– whether those are ways of speaking and conducting oneself, values and beliefs that one holds, habits and attitudes of the day, looking and dressing a certain way, and even things like personal preference for what’s humorous or in fashion.
But as we grow in Independence and find our own way through life, there comes a turning point around middle age when you realize that in order to continue growing you’re going to have to shed that which does not serve you.
This is the point of your life where you can choose to either stay weak and follow along with a group that does not support who you are on the inside, or decide to let go of people who hold you back from your full potential.
We cannot give our energy to every any and every person, mission and cause that presents itself to us. Something’s got to give, and middle age is a time of great responsibility. We may be doing things like juggling mortgage payments while putting our kids through college. We may be dealing with the deterioration of our aging parents’ health.
Middle age does not leave much time to spare for things that don’t serve us… and it also becomes a pivotal point in one’s career when you may want to assess if you’re going in the right direction and if there’s room for change.
At this point in our lives, we might want to shake loose any person or people who hold us back from doing and being all we want to be. Ideally, we might like to say that we hung on to every friendship and that every person values us. But the fact is not everyone is in alignment of who we want to be and that’s okay.
Look around at your social groups. Anything from choosing the kind of lifestyle you want to lead, to decisions on how you spend your money and time, to weekend activities and choices in how you raise your kids, is influenced by your social group.
Even the level of pettiness that you choose to engage in and otherwise conduct yourself are often dictated by the people you surround yourself with. Maybe by the time you reach middle age you’re no longer content to argue about politics and feel drained by conversations that polarize and send people in frustrating circles.
If you’d like to eliminate this and other toxic ways of being from your life, the midpoint of your existence is the perfect time to do so. Trimming away that which doesn’t serve you is a great way to increase your potency as a human being. So decide.
In the name of becoming stronger, do the work of deciding the following:
Are the activities and involvements that you’ve committed yourself to supporting who you are on the inside? Or do you have to let some of those things go?
Do the people that you spend your time with on the weekend leave you with a smile on your face and a light feeling in your heart? Or are they leaving you in a wake of bad feelings, replaying yucky conversations in your head? Minimize or eliminate all which does not serve you.
What about surrounding yourself with people who can lift you to a higher purpose? In middle age, some people stay stuck in the same old traps. But other people have learned to embrace a joyful forward striving.
If you found a group of people like this who aspire to more, who want to cultivate healthy interests, who delight in learning about new people, experiences and cultures then by all means make room for them in your life if it helps you become stronger and live more richly.