“Birds of a feather flock together.”

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard that saying as a child. It always made me cringe because I felt like it was a parent’s way of shading you and your friends. In my case, if they didn’t come from the same “stock” as I did, they were trouble. And the more time I spent with this group of people, I would find just that – trouble.

However, I was a pretty sharp young lady, even as a teenager and found myself surrounded by a pretty cool circle of friends. There was only two to be exact – church friends and school friends. And yes, the group count was just as small. I’d always look longingly at the people with tons of friends. They were popular and typically were invited to a lot of the parties. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one that was invited, and even if I was, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go.

I can hear my dad now. “We don’t know their folks! What church do they go to?”

** laughs. That’s another story in itself.

My first year of college I decided that I was going to be popular. It sounds quite shallow acknowledging it now, but it’s the truth. I wanted people to know my name and SEE me. I wanted to be desired by the guys and be able to do all the things that I wanted to do because I was “GROWN grown.”

It was college that introduced me to the ugly side of popularity. I went in thinking popularity meant that everyone liked me, but that wasn’t the case. Lol

I went in thinking that everyone that showed love to me, actually wanted to see me thrive. That  also wasn’t the case.

I went in thinking that an open invitation always had good intentions behind it. That MOST DEFINITELY wasn’t the case either. lol

I learned a lot of valuable lessons. Some at the expense of my health, opportunities, and even my reputation.

My perception that more meant BETTER quickly humbled me into realizing that MORE, simply meant that. MORE. It didn’t speak to quality whatsoever, and at times felt very overwhelming, causing me to be formally introduced to anxiety.

I’ll never forget those years. They were the best and the worst years of my life. I can vividly think of moments where I felt as though I was on top of the world, and others where I wanted to crawl under my bed from shame and embarrassment.

But it was needful for me to experience those things, as all test and trials are.

And because of it, I stand as a 30-year old woman that is confident in who she is, discerning of who she surrounds herself with, and understands what friendship truly looks like.

In fact, contrary to my desires as a kid, I find contentment in having a small circle of close friends. Don’t get me wrong, I know A LOT of folks, but leverage different classifications within my relationships. I have associates, colleagues, team mates, friends, besties, sisters, and the lists go on. Each relationship looks different and has clearly defined expectations.

I cherish them all, and hold them each accountable for their roles in my life. Are they healthy? Do I find them becoming a bit toxic? Are they genuine? Do they bring positive energy?

All of these questions are worth considering as we look at surrounding ourselves (even as adults) with people and things that bring good to our lives. But first, before doing that, we must look within ourselves. It is very hard attracting good energy, if the energy that we give off is the complete opposite.

I laugh now at the infamous “birds of a feather” quote. My parents were right, as they always are.

In order to attract and maintain a HEALTHY circle, you must first look within yourself (what vibes  am I giving off to others?), and periodically take an assessment of those around you, making sure that the dynamics of your relationship is one that is flourishing and sustaining.

Are your circles looking a tad sickly these days? If so, you may need to check on that, Sis.