I read the Black Girl’s Run blog and today, one of their posts was on whether we should break up with the friends we have who don’t support our fitness goals, or the friends who deliberately tempt us into sabotaging our diets, etc. You can read their post here but this is what I thought about that whole situation.
If my friends and I are no longer interested in the same things, gradually, we will spend less time together. If my friends won’t run with me, and most of them won’t, eventually I will be spending more of my time doing activities that they are not interested in – running, perhaps with another group of friends, cruising athletic stores, researching and blogging about running stuff. But is that all there is to friendship?
People come into your life for a reason and if they are negatively impacting your goals and life plans, then you need to take steps to reduce the influence, and sometimes that is to spend some time apart. BUt you also don’t want to give away the opportunity to influence your friends with the positivity that is now radiating from you, with your bright and sparkly healthy-eating, weight-lifting, frequent-running self. Don’t be that girl!
I have an amazing opportunity to work with teenagers on the weekends. Quite often, I come to them with suggestions and what they probably think of as weird ideas. And if you know teenagers, sometimes, they act like they are so unfazed by anything new, because they are too cool to be impressed, but I don’t let that deter my spirit or my enthusiasm. And more often than I would normally expect, these kids receive the ideas I propose to them and are willing to work with me.
If I can get cooperation from teenagers, what then of my girls, my soul-sisters, the women who know me, even if they don’t understand me. I get that new ideas are often met with resistance, especially when those ideas involve strange diets or exercise regimens. Most of the inventions and ideas that we take for granted today were considered revolutionary at some point. They challenged the status quo. The people who came up with new ways of thinking about things were often unpopular. They didn’t have hundreds of people lining up to be their friends. But they were undeterred, firm in their resolve that this idea can work, will work, must work. That’s how we have to be with our own goals and dreams.
The first time I heard about extreme sports – freediving, Ironman Triathlons, Ultra-marathons, Cross Fit – I thought, here are people who don’t respect human limits. But i know now that my limits are not the same as other people’s limits and what’s right for me might not be right for them. So now that I have found my turning point, my nay plus ultra, I have to allow others the same opportunity to figure things out for themselves.
If you want to be something, you have to believe that you can do it and seek the wisdom and counsel of others who believe in you and will be honest with you and support you. I am not suggesting that you get a bunch of lackeys and yes-men who will make you feel good about doing the wrong thing; I am saying find some people who will believe in your abilities and are willing to stand with you to accomplish your goals.
And what if the people who are already with you don’t believe in your goals?
There is a story I like to tell about The Law of Displacement. Imagine there is a bucket of dirty water. Now imagine clean water running from a faucet into that bucket. If you leave the bucket there long enough, eventually, the dirty water will disappear and you will end up with a bucket of clean water.
We can’t ever give up on our friends – everyone won’t be converted at the same time.
I’ve been hearing the message to Eat Right and Exercise Regularly my whole life and I’m still not doing everything I should. So why should I be be impatient when those around me have similar struggles? I don’t want to allow myself to lose my motivation and sink back into the pit before I have cleaned myself off, but at the same time, I have to do what I can to help others, influence them by the positive things that are happening in my life, rather than abandoning them.
If it’s truly a toxic situation and you can’t trust yourself not to fall, step away so you can retain your sparkle but don’t step so far that your friends can’t see your light. Because, eventually they might want to follow the light too.
Now that you’re all health conscious and happy, don’t leave your friends behind. Wake them up and shake them up but Don’t break up!