Watch The Company You Keep!
In these modern times, people use the word friend very loosely. They identify their friends as those who like them on social media, those they hang around with, or individuals who have connections, people who can get them to where they want to go.
There are many levels of friendships, but when I examined the definitions of genuine or true friendships, three characteristics emerged. First, a friend is someone you know well. By this, I mean knowing that person’s good and bad qualities, knowing his or her likes and dislikes, knowing his or her ways, values and beliefs. With this type friend, you surpass the superficial, and you get to know the real person, not what the individual portrays to those on the outside of his or her inner circle.
Secondly, a friend is someone you feel affection for. By being with this person, you have formed some type of attachment towards him or her. Not only do you spend time with this individual, but you are emotionally involved with this person on some level.
Lastly, it is noted that a friend is someone you trust. It means that you can rely on this person. You may share things with this person that you would not share with everyone. In some way, you may depend on this person not to violate the relationship. You have a certain level of confidence in this person, and you are willing to let your guard down around him or her.
As you examine your friendships, can you truly say you have genuine friends? Can you be yourself and know that this person will still be around? Can that person tell you the truth without you getting offended? Does this person add value to your life in any way? Do you trust the person you call friend?
If you have one true friend, you are truly blessed. If you have two true friends, you are more than blessed, if you have three or more, count yourself as exceptional. Remember, it’s great having true friends, but it’s even greater to be one.
It is easy for a person to take those he says he loves for granted. Most of the time, he spends a lot of time with his loved ones, and they are familiar to him. He expects them to be available to him, and he expects them to fulfill their roles. Instead of being appreciative of what they do, in his mind, he assumes things will get done, and if they aren’t, he is quick to complain. He may feel that they know how he likes things and because a pattern has been established, he wants things completed just as they always have been.
If a person is living with this mentality, he is living on a slippery slope. It is never wise to take loved ones for granted. Yes, they may have various roles that they fulfill, but it is always good to stop and acknowledge what they do. Just because someone is a loved one, that doesn’t give a person a right to disrespect him or her. In fact, that person should be honored or esteemed.
In many instances, this is not the case. A person may honor and esteem those they want to impress, but fail to honor those who are with him day in and day out. He may go out of his way to do for others but neglect his loved ones who are with him on a regular basis. He may go the extra mile for acquaintances or strangers, but he fails to recognize and appreciate those in his household.
If you find yourself guilty of this infraction, change it today. Honor those who you say you love. Show them appreciation and respect. Give them words of encouragement. Do your best to impress them as much as you attempt to impress others. Just remember, a little respect goes a long way.
I love a good book, and to me, there’s nothing like cuddling up with one that captures my attention. I must admit, I enjoy different types of books. Sometimes I have a taste for a book that’s warm and fuzzy, one that draws out my sentimental side. At other times, I want a book to excite me, one that makes my adrenaline flow, a page-turner that keeps me up until the wee hours of the morning. I’m excited by mysteries, especially those with unexpected twists. I also love self-help books, those that motivate and challenge me to make changes in my life. Then again, I seek out spiritual books; they inspire me and keep me grounded. And don’t forget educational books, there’s always something new to learn, so I seek those out as well.
However, it’s very disappointing when I get a book, and the cover and description portray one thing, but the contents display something different. When this happens, I feel betrayed, being told one thing but sold another.
The same is true with people. Sometimes the covers look exquisite, and the short descriptions look enticing, so you decide to invite them into your life. However, when you spend time with them and read the contents, they are not what they initially portrayed. The cover may read “trustworthy,” but the contents reveal otherwise. Words such as “goal-oriented” and “motivated” are given in the description, but when you delve into the subject matter, it exposes something entirely different.
I know we may judge a person on his initial appearance, but at times, a person’s initial appearance can be deceiving. Anyone can paint a beautiful picture in the beginning, but if that picture is not who that person really is, the truth will eventually surface. A man is what is stored in his heart. And as it is with any hidden treasure, it’s not at the surface; it’s buried, waiting for the wise to find it.
So take it slow when inviting others into the inner courts of your life. Don’t invite them in based on the covers and brief descriptions. Delve into the subject matter first and make sure what’s being advertised is exactly what you’re getting.
Your choice of friends says a lot about you, but who you allow in your inner circle says even more. If wisdom were to advise you regarding your inner circle, it would tell you to guard your heart (mind) with all diligence. Why? Because what enters your heart has a way of directing your life. One of the most influential factors in your life is your inner circle. They are the people you listen to, confide in and trust. They are the ones with whom you let your mental, emotional and spiritual guards down. They are the ones whose thoughts and words hold a great weight in your life.
But have you evaluated the people in your inner circle lately? Are they worthy to remain there? Some have failed to evaluate the members of their inner circles and as a result have been disappointed or severely wounded. Instead of guarding their hearts, they’ve allowed acquaintances (those with whom they have casual contact) to slip into their inner circles. Instead of guarding their hearts, they’ve allow those who don’t have their best interests at heart to counsel them. Instead of guarding their hearts, they are influenced by those who are lost and clueless.
In your evaluation, remember right people energize you in positive ways (even when they correct or confront you), and wrong people drain you. Right people have your best interests at heart while wrong people are your friends when you experience pain but can’t tolerate your successes. Right people tell you the truth (in love) while wrong people find every opportunity to point out your flaws.
Treat your inner circle as the exclusive club it is. And if someone’s membership no longer meets the standards to remain in your inner circle, do yourself a favor and terminate his privileges.