I have had the opportunity to meet many of the acquaintances I have made online. Very soon after meeting me you will know that I am a people person an love making friends. I honestly believe that everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to give, an experience to share. I find people fascinating and love to make those connections with them both lasting and true. However, the older that I get, the more I learn that some people just don’t appreciate those connections as much as I do.
I spend a lot of my time thinking. My work requires me to solve problems and find ways to present data in a meaningful way. I find self actualization vital to my well mental health. The moment I stop trying to become a better person I feel like a puddle of stagnant water. Last week I had come to the realization that there were several people that were affecting my self image that really should never have that much power. Some people’s perceptions really affected me more than I was ready to deal with.
In my need to make connections with others I became a laptop with no firewall, and in today’s world of viruses I cannot afford that kind of vulnerability. Some people might not even realize how infected they are by fear, intolerance, or just plain ignorance and before you know it they have full access to your hard drive.
Life is not defined by others, it is defined by our choices. Take some time to evaluate who is in your inner circle right now. I am talking about the ones that truly matter or and what they think or say really affects you. I bet you that before the end of the exercise your circle might get smaller and smaller.
There was a point in my life where I trusted a very limited number of people with my thoughts and feelings. During that time I considered just dissociating completely from everyone I knew and just starting all over somewhere else, the thought back then seemed like such a good idea.
I have come a long way from those dark days and have been lucky enough add a lot of people to the circle of people that actually help shape my self image. The most important addition is obviously my wife and without her I would probably be a hermit. I have also been blessed with some awesome friends that accept me for exactly who I am and are getting to know the real me, and not some caricature of what they think I should be.
True friends keep you honest and are always happy to tell you the truth but never try to change you. People who are not happy with their own life are never good judges of what your situation is. Just because a person is good at something, it does not make them a subject matter expert on everything in life. So be careful about what people in that situation say about not just you and your life, but just life in general.
The most surprising thing about my inner circle is how much bigger it keeps on getting. The closer people get to me, the more they shape my life, the happier as a person I become. That is not to say that some people have completely been removed, but overall I am way closer with a lot of those connections than I ever thought I would be. I used to think that losing a friend was a huge personal loss. The reality I have found is that you never lose a true friend, you only find out that someone was not your friend to begin with.