Relationships. They’re one of the greatest gifts we have. They are the basis of our communication, the backbone of our fondest memories, and the fuel of life itself.
When they feed us in positive ways, it’s a worthwhile experience.
When they drain us, they can cost you time, energy, and, yes, money.
Unhealthy friendships and romantic relationships can cost you thousands of dollars and multiple opportunities for advancement. To some of us, that sounds impossible, but it happens on a regular basis. Let’s break down three of the reasons why.
- They allow you to stay focused on the wrong things.
Are you familiar with the quote “winter is coming” in relation to HBO’s show “Game of Thrones?” Well, for us modern-day folks, summer is our time to beware – at least when it comes to your focus and your finances. This is the time of music festivals, road trips, concerts, sporting events, you name it! But, if you have certain financial goals that demand you to be disciplined, all of these events cannot be on your calendar. All of it is NOT permissible for you when you’re trying to level up.
Keep in mind this won’t apply for those who have solid relationships with people whom you can trust and vice versa. If you want to understand the quality of the friendships you have around you, decide on 3 things and don’t waver on them:
- the work that needs to be done – this is where the rubber meets the road. You find out who’s willing to let you do the work necessary to achieve your fitness, financial, family, professional goals.
- the fun you can afford to have – everything can’t be all about accomplishment. There needs to be room for release and enjoyment, too. You just have to know ahead of time what you can afford financially and time-wise.
- the people you’re willing to do it with – who can rise with you? Who can fall with you? Everyone’s willing to celebrate, but few are willing to help you stand up again.
If you stay distracted long enough from meeting particular goals, you won’t complete them. Losing thousands or missing out on enriching experiences can come into play when you decide to not pursue things like the following:
- Get a G.E.D., bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree because people tell you you’re too old, you don’t need it, or you won’t put it to use.
- Open a business or start a side business venture because you’re told your idea won’t be successful, that particular business has been done before, or you don’t know enough to make it work.
- *Get married if you’re divorced or never been married because of past failed relationships, divorce statistics, etc.
- Traveling abroad because your spouse, significant other or friends don’t believe in/like international travel and see it as unnecessary or too expensive
2. They want the “old you” to return when the “new you” doesn’t suit them.
It can be challenging to watch someone you love or even like climb ladders in life if you’re not going with them. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with hating someone else’s success – it’s the separation that bothers us. Remember the quote, though: elevation requires separation.
Now, you’re truly blessed when you have a circle of friends enjoying life as it is but still aspiring and working to be better. However, there’s a side to elevation that can be hard for some people around you to take: influence. So, why would you having more influence be problematic for someone else, especially someone whom you love and have trusted on numerous occasions?
Influence either affirms or assigns your identity. Influence is defined as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” When influence enters your life, it either affirms who you are – meaning it declares it, it states who you are clearly to those paying attention to you – or it assigns who you are. The assignment comes when your identity isn’t quite clear. If you don’t know what’s within you, the attention that influence brings to you will show your contents to the world – good or bad – and it sears that example onto people’s minds.
Everyone can’t handle your influence! Some people will support your development to no end because they are doing the same or they simply love to see you reach your God-given potential. Others will fight you tooth and nail because your rising brings out their insecurities or they just don’t want you to leave them. Beware of those who can only love you as you were. Consciously decide who should be allowed intimate access to your life. People give up on dreams for all kinds of reasons, but the saddest ones are when friends or loved ones advised them to do it.
- You want the friends or lovers more than you want the future.
– This doesn’t require much explanation. Loving and being loved are two of the greatest needs in the human experience. However, growth is another one of those needs, and with growth comes improvement. When you decide you want to improve yourself, that means intensifying your routine and inspecting your relationships. Are you really doing enough to get to who and where you want to be? Do you allow every phone call and text message to distract you, or do you have set times to return non-emergency calls? Having those set times can be even harder when you allow other people to determine how frequently you contact them. Stepping away from certain individuals can come with a backlash of “you think you’re too good for us now” and “you weren’t like this before,” and that’s where we can slow down the progression towards our goals.
If you want the future you’ve envisioned, your present has to change. How you invest your time, who you spend it with – it all matters when you say “I want more and I want to be better than I currently am.” Pretending you want less or talking yourself out of your goals to appease those who don’t understand or support you will only leave you disappointed.
In our adult experiences, emotional highs and lows come with the territory. Part of the lows include separating from people you never intended to lose. Every friend or romantic partner isn’t going to be here for a lifetime. There are situations where all you both need – you and the other person – is to discuss what you both want out of the relationship and how you can support one another. At other times, the only option is to agree to part ways and hopefully do so with class, not bitterness.
Relationships are indeed the lifeblood behind many of our greatest experiences.
Unfortunately, they can also be the catalyst for some of the worst moments as well. Don’t allow your connections to be the reason you stop pursuing what’s important to you. It may cost you more than you could’ve ever imagined, financially and otherwise.
To The Journey,