You told me that I changed; that you could no longer recognize who I am. You said that with disappointment traced in your voice. I, on the other hand, took it as a compliment.
Looking back at who I was just months ago, I can see how far I have come. We often look at how we change over the years but seem to forgot that we are constantly changing. Each and every day we experience new things, encounter new obstacles, and grow, even if we do not see these small changes at first. And as you grow and change for the better, you may begin to outgrow old habits and old people. Eventually, we reach a point where old relationships and friendships are tested.
I realized that this is the main reason why I am no longer in touch with some people. When I look at my past, I know that I am not nearly as confident or independent as I am now. Although there are still times where I am unsure of myself, I have grown enough to know my own worth and that it is not determined by others. I used to thrive off of approval and recognition, and in this stage of my life was where I met some of my closest friends.
These friends seemed to know that, and took advantage. I was blinded by my love for these friends, so much that I could not see the effect they had on me. I changed because of them- for the worse- and lost touch with what was important to me. Although as time passed while I surrounded myself with toxic people, I had to learn where to draw the line. For a long time, I chose to be around people who were simply not interested in bettering themselves or the world around them. As I grew out of old habits, they were not pleased with me. They did not like who I was becoming, mainly because it did not fit their ‘criteria’. I began to wonder, why did they not support me? Why did I need their approval? They did not like to see that I was changing.
I grew out of that mentality as I began to focus on myself and my goals, which included being independent. I knew that I could never do so and from then on I could see the negative impact that those friendships had on me. I can not blame them, but I had to accept that we just did not share the same values. In some ways I grew to be more mature than these old friends and slowly we grew apart. In my time away from toxic relationships, I built better ones where we support each other. These relationships have promoted me to grow and have taught my that the only approval I need is from myself.
Don’t fear change; embrace it. Take each and every experience, every person, and each obstacle as a lesson. You will find yourself flourishing once you finally give yourself the chance to grow.