Recently, I had a friend suggest that I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to previous friendships. And that statement hit me like a ton of bricks, but only because it evoked deep thoughts as I realized this was certainly a possibility.
This conversation was on the table as she offered to pay for the trademark on a brand I had only just begun to envision and, to be quite honest, it's not the first brand I had in mind, so she had zero reason to believe I'd follow through this time around.
No less, I've always had friends affirm how amazing each of my business ideas have been and it's flattering, validating, and most of all, it's all talk. People will verbally validate your vision but it's rare that they actively show up. In this case, not only did she believe in my dream and my potential, but she believed in it enough to put her money where her mouth was.
It's been said for decades that friends and money don't mix, and in the past, I have known this to be true. It wasn't too long ago that I experienced friends who scolded me about all that they had done for me financially the minute we broke up. This friendship ran on an "I got you, get me next time" type of mentality, and in the end that just didn't fly. To date, I don't feel comfortable with friends who "got you" in hard times because I've seen just how many strings those words come attached with.
This view didn't coincide with the entrepreneur in me who wanted my friends to support my business endeavors. My ego had been wounded from all the times friends built me up to step out on faith and bring my passion to life, but once it was time for them to show up they weren't there.
It felt even worse when I considered how much energy I spent supporting the business ventures of others. It was like an "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" thing but with entrepreneurship.
If you've ventured out on your own, you know one of the biggest complaints for budding entrepreneurs is that their friends and family feel like the most unsupportive people, and you're often told not to worry about it as they will be your last supporters. Wise people will preface all of this by telling you although it feels like shit, don't take it personally.
I've seen it said that family and friends know you, so imagining you as "go-getter" you're trying to be is sometimes worrisome or difficult. Despite the perpetual eyeroll I have towards this mentality, I've tried to be understanding and stop seeking out the validation of friends and family.
Knowing this. Seeing this advice in so many of my Facebook support groups for entrepreneurs, I've worked so hard to stop internalizing the lagging support. I've come to learn that not everyone is in a place to support and believe in you, and furthermore, my perceived view of support and their own are two different things.
I realize that no one is obligated to believe in me -- friend, family or whatever.
I have to have enough passion, validation, and faith for myself. Still, when you get a friend who's willing to go the distance just to show you how much they believe in your future, that means the f*cking world. It feels damn good to have even one person like that in your corner, but it's even more sentimental coming from a friend who has no blood ties and nothing to gain from your success.
As good as it felt, I almost blocked my blessings by bringing my past baggage into the present. I recall someone saying to me that doing things the hard way when someone is offering to help was making my life unnecessarily difficult. I was unconsciously making my dreams unnecessarily unattainable when someone was here and willing to hoist me up onto their shoulders for my dreams to be just within my reach.
The jaded, bitter me wants to tell you that expectations lead to disappointment. But I can't possibly say that and mean it in good faith. Once you get a thorough, true friend who is everything you've been looking for when it comes to supporting your hopes and dreams, you come to realize that expectations (in people and things alike) can also come to fruition … if you allow them to.
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