You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and sometimes that link isn’t a lack of motivation, stubborn belly fat that won’t go away, or a lagging muscle group that doesn’t easily respond to exercise – sometimes it’s the people you center yourself around. This includes the members of your family. We’re universally attracted and secured by those who show us love and support, but sometimes we find ourselves trapped in relationships where there’s no give and take, no show of support and acceptance- and it’s these very relationships that may be keeping you from reaching your fullest potential in life. 

A quote by one of my favorite authors sums it up well:

“No one can get far in life without allies. The trick, however, is to recognize the difference between false allies and real ones. A false alliance is created out of an immediate emotional need. It requires that you give up something essential about yourself and makes it impossible for you to make your own decisions. A true alliance is formed out of mutual self-interest, each side supplying what the other cannot get alone. It does not require you to fuse your own identity with that of a group or pay attention to everyone else’s emotional needs. It allows you autonomy.”  — Robert Greene

Family members, significant others, and even close friends can sometimes be the bane of your existence, providing obstacle after obstacle in your pursuit of success and happiness. Notice I said YOUR success and happiness, not theirs. It can be challenging for the people closest to you to separate their values and beliefs from yours. They may not realize how their selfish control, close-mindedness, insecurities and lack of support affect you and damage their relationship with you. Trust can be jeopardized when those who say, “I love you” the most, are in actuality showing it the least. 

When you experience nagging, unnecessary resistance from those closest to you, it can make you question yourself and ultimately dissuade you from the things in life that bring you individual growth, and happiness. You lose trust in yourself and your own ability to make decisions in YOUR life, unless you’re able to detach yourself from these negative types. I don’t believe in letting go of my own values and corrupting my personal happiness for the greater good of any group- again, family included. I know how to live my life and I don’t need instruction from others to make personal decisions, unless I ask for it. I seek relationships where I’m able to fill voids in others’ lives, and gain support and inspiration from them as well. In all of my important relationships there exists a mutual love, respect, and acceptance. 

If someone truly loves and cares about you, they will strive to understand and accept you as an individual no matter how unfamiliar your endeavor may be. I encourage everyone to assess and determine the true value of the current relationships they’re in. Do you have unwavering support, or are you surrounded by negative, jealous people who inflict their fears and insecurities on you? This type of relationship will never serve you no matter how close the person is to you. The dynamic of any relationship may fluctuate over time-  some will be tested and become stronger, and some will shatter and end. That’s life, and in life there’s no time for complacency and conformity if it means you’re not living for yourself.