This kind of growth happens in all forms; spiritually, emotionally, physically, and in different relationships, including family, business, and friendships, just to name a few. But, no matter how much you grow, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be those who don’t want you to grow, who want you to stay the same, who don’t want you to move into that new house or change your eating habits to be healthier. There will be those that will be toxic to your development and growth, and no matter how much it makes sense in your head that what you are doing is right for YOUR growth, some of your closest friends and family will try to stuff a rock in your muffler just to keep you from going too far. We’ve vicariously experienced breakups in business and friendship like Hov and Dame, although the circumstances may have been different, the end result was the end of a friendship/partnership. But we each have personal experiences as well. Is this necessarily hate, jealousy or envy? Well, let’s look at it from another angle, shall we?
I’m not talking about the people’s “imaginary” haters, or genuinely envious, disturbed, fake friends. I’m talking about people who are scared, scared to see you succeed not because they are jealous, but they are afraid of being left behind. There has been an on-going dilemma in the black community about why we don’t support each other. Dr. Joy Degruy, a world-renowned researcher, author, and educator on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, explains that we as people of color in America have gone for so long without treatment for some of the abuses passed down through slavery, that it still affects our lives today. She states that during slavery, most slaves didn’t have their blood family close to them, and with the constant trading of slaves, it was difficult for anyone to become close. So when someone got sold or escaped, it was a tremendous burden to let that person go knowing they would most likely never see them again. “We never unlearned that,” she exclaims. Like so many of the other habits she gets into in her lectures, this issue resonates with a lot of people, not just blacks, but for anyone who sees a bigger picture and wants better but is deemed a “sell-out” because they are trying to obtain success in positive ways. It easy to dismiss a hater but a genuine friend who may be afraid to get left behind, eh, not so much.
So, how do you let go of friends who are holding you back? Do you just tell them you can’t be friends anymore? How do you detach yourself from people who are unintentionally stunting your growth? For some people, this is a struggle. You are noticing little things like trying to have conversations with old friends that don’t challenge you. Or, realizing that you are like the five most people you hang around and getting scared when you realize those five people are nowhere near what you’re reaching for in life. For other people, the solution is simple. Drop them, friends come and go, and if they can’t understand, they aren’t on your level or at least be willing to help get you there so you can help elevate them later, then you don’t need them anyway. You should always be poised in the way you handle situations, but you should never lower your greatness to mediocrity or allow mediocre people to bring you down to their level. Besides, have you ever heard anyone say, “you’re too positive for me?” No. And if you are the scared friend, it’s ok, just know that it’s time for your friend to grow, be happy for them, nothing bad can come from positive vibes!