Maybe Our Company Is Our Downfall
True story. I once met a stone-cold killer. No exaggeration; he was actually a murderer under the age of thirty, and somewhere along the line I was introduced to him. Don't judge me, for when I met killer-guy in my early twenties, I didn't know he was in fact an assassin. But through mutual acquaintances in central Trinidad, I found out that he was quite a dangerous young fellow. I am saddened to disclose however, that within about six months of meeting killer-guy, he was himself killed, his life suddenly ended just like how he treated the lives of his own victims. He was funny, intelligent, impeccably dressed, and given a different life path, he may have been an upstanding man today- but, unfortunately, his company was his downfall.
Before killer-guy died, he went into hiding for a while. During this time of solitude, depression set in and he contacted me to grieve (much to my surprise, as we were not close. I think it was because of my professed faith in Jesus that he felt he could be vulnerable with me). He told me that he was in hiding, how abandoned he felt, that his friends were avoiding him to secure their own safety and that he wanted to end his life. He allowed me to minister to him that day, and I told him how much God still loved him despite how tempting suicide might seem. During this conversation, killer-guy was openly crying and he soon explained to me why it was easy for him to live the way he lived. I will never ever forget his words- they were my reality check. He said "Mama, I was never shown love. I do not even know what love is. Those who were supposed to teach me about love growing up, did not. They taught me the opposite and I lived what I was taught". This moment was eye-opening and extremely painful; I listened as he sorrowfully poured out his childhood traumas, filled with endless emotional, mental and physical abuse at the hands of a relative and the family he lived with. The end result? Killer-guy found it was easy to kill because his caregivers thought he was not worthy of being loved and denied him the experience of community love. Unfortunately, he remained within the grips of that toxicity and rejection cycle until early teenage years, and by then it was too late. His young heart was stone-cold and his first kill was 'easy'. He was a broken person who functioned in a world where family did not value him, and bad company surrounded him. He may have been much like many of us, except WE may actually still be numb to the dangers of dysfunctional circles.
Ladies (and gents), the company that we associate with now- the friends and family who advise us, guide us, interact with us and socialise with us, can affect our outcomes in impactful ways. The people we keep around us play a major part in determining if we will succeed in life, or if we will fail; if we will flourish or if we will choke out. If we will progress or if we will stagnate. If we do not pay attention to who is pouring into our lives and what they are also extracting, our company can in fact be our downfall. As women operating in business, climbing the corporate ladder, looking for husbands, building families or experiencing emotional trials, this is a very serious area of life that we need to take note of. If we do not closely and carefully assess who we do life with, we place our mental health, personal growth and emotional future at serious risk.
In this blog, I am going to highlight a few important traits of friendships that I consider essential for us women. Do not gloss this over. Reading, commenting and sharing this post might be very much worth your while, and may help us as women to make better analyses of our company along the way.
1. Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals is a script worth knowing (1 Corinthians 15:33). If as women, our company indulges in laziness, lying, deception, violence, adultery etc, soon we may be very desensitised and find ourselves playing part thereof. Similarly, if our friends are proactive about health and wellness, virtuous living, kindness, compassion, peace and growth, reading, family, love, sacrifice etc, so too may be our focus. I have seen my life both deteriorate and flourish based on the company I kept, with the word 'company' referring to anyone I have allowed to be close to me and pour into me- that's family, romantic relationships, communities and friends.
2. True Friends Call Out Our Wrongs because they want to see us grow. If we have friends who do not dissuade us from corrupt plots, manipulative acts, loose conduct, prideful unawareness, destructive paths, petty goals and costly mistakes, we can become a society of women who do not elevate. And this means we risk not progressing emotionally, financially, spiritually and mentally. Do your friends call you out?
3. Company That Does MORE Than Just Listen should also be the goal. This is where it gets sensitive. Many of us may have friends who are good listeners, but it is good to have relationships with persons who do more than just listen. What is the point of saying to someone "Go, be blessed and fed" without actually feeding or clothing them (James 2:16)? Ladies it is better to be the friend who, in addition to listening, offers solutions, extends a helping hand, uses networks to improve the other person's situation etc. We should be that friend, and also have friends who do the same. Listening is great but help is also necessary.
Years ago I told a friend that I had to do a very important prognosis CT scan. He didn't just say "Ok, good luck", but decided to come with me for my 7am appointment. Soon after being seated in the waiting room he disappeared for a bit and reappeared with a cream soda in his hand. He then asked for a cup, and explained to me that soon the attendant will come out with a cup of clear liquid for me to drink (he had done his share of CT scans in the past). He told me that it was going to taste awful but that I had to drink all of it. To support me, he said he was going to fill his cup with the cream soda and that every time he sips, I would have to sip too, until we were done. Up to this moment I was scared out of my mind, but this friend managed to turn all my anxiety into tears of relief and a sense of being supported. I still cry when I remember that day, both of us with our cups taking silent cues from each other on when to take sips so that the experience was less stressful for me. Ladies, there will be times in our lives when we will need friends who offer more than just listening ears, and when we ourselves will also need to offer more than just listening.
4. Our Company Should Be Ambitious And Selfless, because ambitious people lead us to greatness. A goal-oriented friend can inspire us, broaden our outlook and selflessly show us the possibilities that our own talents could create. A narrow-minded, selfish friend can stagnate us and lead us down a life of limitation and regret. I once knew someone who told me "If I ever have a dream about doing anything and want it killed- all I have to do is tell my friends." I was just as shocked at this statement as you probably were when you read that, but having been around that person's circle, I knew deep down that it was a disappointing truth. His friends cried down every single goal he had that seemed to make him shine. They selfishly progressed, and he remained stagnated.
From experience, I prefer to have very ambitious female friends in my life, who have achieved far more than I have in my lifetime but still find it useful to pour encouragement and guidance into me and my career-girl lifestyle brand, Gale and Co Trinidad. I cherish these women, and they are a lively mix of family and friends who are both younger and older than me.
5. Friends Who Pray are worth more than society acknowledges. Imagine having a friend who can pray physical healing into your life because of her relationship with God? Or one who can discern the schemes of your enemies before they can get a chance to touch you because she dedicates time to pray for you? Or one who can take your broken pieces before God in times of deep anguish in your life and ask for mercy and strength on your behalf? Most women sadly cannot say that they have this in their inner circle, but those who do, can attest to the peace that comes when they have a friend who cares enough to pray.
This list can go on and on, but no one likes to read long blogs anymore (we have the instant gratification of social media to blame for that, lol). I have shared these five because they have proven most relevant to my immediate experiences in 2022. But what are the points that you want to share with other women about the company we keep? Let's share more in the comments, and create conversation about how who we choose to be around can either build, stagnate or destroy our futures. Our company can, but does not have to be our downfall.