I’ve seen a lot of Instagram memes that say:

“Surround yourself with only people who will lift you higher.”

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I genuinely think that this quote is right on the money. I believe the people you choose to have in your life should add to your life. On the flip side, you also have a responsibility to add to someone else’s life. Relationships should not be one-sided. When these amazing people come into your life, what will you be doing? Are you an asset or a liability? Are you a giver or a taker? Are you a breath of fresh air or a ball and chain? I believe in divine connections. I also believe that God will place people into your life to help you become a better person. However, we can not solely latch on to someone else to take us higher.  It’s about God, you and others. Who are you going to lift higher? The beauty of “Iron sharpens Iron” is this… both parties actively sharpening each other.

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Sharpen Yourself

You have to first get sharp! If you try to cut something with a dull knife. Listen, it is the worst. It will not be as effective. If anything you would have to put more effort into cutting the object. A blade that is sharpened is more effective. In the same light we must be “sharp” to be effective. There are different areas in our lives that must be assessed in order for change and growth to take place. What I have learned about God is this, the closer you get to building your relationship with Him through prayer and reading your word, you will begin to look at your reflection. God will reveal to you areas of your heart that you need to work on. Brace yourself, it may not be pretty. Take heed and ask God to help you work on those areas. Don’t beat yourself up about it because in your weakness He is strong. Building your character is so important to God.  In becoming more like Christ it is a life long process. Sorry no drive-thru breakthroughs over here.

Get Help

If you ever played the arcade game “Whack-a-Mole,”  the object of the game is to hit each mole that pops up out of it’s hole and you get points. Here’s the kicker, when you hit one mole 2 other moles pop up at the same time. You have to hit as many as you can until time runs out. Sometimes that’s how self-improvement may feel like. Just when you thought you had things on lock. BAM here comes something else that needs to be dealt with. Whoosa… Breathe…  and Get help… Could you image 3 or more people helping you hit those moles… You can’t do that with the actual game though, I would call that cheating lol but in real life, it’s okay to get help. Invest in a life coach, consultant, or a mentor in areas of your life that you believe that you need to be sharpened in. If you think you’re all good and that you don’t have anything that you could improve in your life. Houston we have a problem. There is always room for improvement. Just so you know, your life coach is not your crutch or someone who will enable you or carry you. They are meant to be your accountability partner on this journey. They may be with you for a season but while they’re on this journey with you they will see your blind spots and point you in the right direction.  You have to actually go out and execute the steps that you need to take in order to fix your life. Every area in your life is important. Do an assessment, take responsibility and actively work on areas that need improvement. Not all at once… baby steps. Take it easy, but get Excited 🙂 because the best project that you will ever work on is you!

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Sharpen Others

Once you have a mentor in your life then what? Okay, you watched Oprah walk on fire and Iyanla fix my life … now what? Now you have to take what you have learned and impart it into others. Each one teach one. I am a teacher by nature. I’m teaching when I ‘m not even trying to. At the same time, I will forever be a student. I was always taught that I can learn for anyone or any situation. I may not agree with everything that is said, but I can still look at the world through another person’s eyes. Once I get it, I share it with someone else. Those who are around you have a huge influence on who you are today and who you will become. It makes me think about how Jesus walked on water and He called Peter to come to Him and Peter also walked on water… (Matthew 14:29) (I don’t care how many steps he took… give that man some credit lol) After Jesus left the disciples and  completed His mission on Earth through His death and resurrection. Peter and the crew could have said forget it… Oh No they kept fighting the good fight of faith. Peter and the other apostles, later on, with the help of the Holy Spirit were healing people like Jesus did when He was with them (Acts 5:15-16). Jesus was around the disciples for a short time and had a HUGE impact on their lives. We are ALL called to make disciples and change this world! I say We have some HUGE shoes to fill, but God sent His Helper. The Holy Spirit to Help us. When you’re in someone’s presence spread some sunshine… let your light shine, leave them with something special!

Some of you may be thinking that you don’t know enough yet… Yes you do. You are an expert! You always have something to share based on your life experiences, testimony, perspectives and ideologies you become an expert in your own right. Be careful not to become a crutch for someone or enable them to continue a behavior that is inappropriate. The whole point of mentorship is to help them to help themselves. There are parts of someone’s life that only God can fix. Give what you can, pray for them and allow God to do the rest. If you are feeling like you don’t have anything to share or your “blade” is becoming dull … go sharpen yourself, learn something new, read a book, pick up your bible, join a group, go to an event, or get a new hobby!

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Hurt people Hurt people…

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The gift and the curse of someone entering your life is this. They can make deposits or they can make withdrawals. Ask yourself is this person a friend or a foe? Everyone who comes into your life comes for a reason. I am someone who tends to see the best in people and I can be an optimist. Through that, I have also learned that there are people who may not have my best interest at heart. I never understood why someone would intentionally cause another person harm for no apparent reason. I’ve learned that the saying is true that “hurt people hurt people” and that you must guard your heart. What is more difficult is that you can hurt someone you love and not even be aware of it. That’s why self-awareness is so important. We must OWN our stuff! Our insecurities, baggage, disappointments, and struggles. What you don’t know can hurt you and someone else. Pain can cause you to push people away who genuinely care for you.

Healed People, Heal people…

I believe that healed people, heal people. One of my mentors told me this, she said “We build walls to protect ourselves from getting hurt but those same walls can hinder love from coming in.” Sigh..  that’s a catch 22 isn’t it? Everyone doesn’t have an ulterior motive.  We can say “no new friends” and push people away but Guess what? What if that person had an antidote to heal a certain area of your heart that you didn’t know needed to be healed?  God is the ultimate healer and He truly knows the depth of our heart, only He can truly help us to repair what is broken. The unconditional love of God is a beautiful thing. We have to learn to give that love to people and receive that same love from others. The people in our lives that He places in our circle are strategically there to support us and walk with us on this journey.

Be What You Want  

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Soo… ummm… where are these iron sharpen iron, shine bright like a diamond, giving, supportive, encouraging people, who love with everything they have? Don’t look at me, I don’t know lol no, seriously, when you’re ready they will come! You first have to BE sharp! Shine your light, sharpen others, love yourself so you can love others properly. Then, you have to be open to having great people in your life. Trust me it’s a process. I love the people I have in my life! I am truly blessed. I am also a blessing to those in my life as well! To be quite honest you may need to make room for the people you want in your life. Push the blood sucking parasites out of your inner circle. Pray for divine connections and Godly friendships/relationships. You will reap what you sow. If you sow love to people… it will come back!

Check Motives

How do you check the motives and the intentions of people… discernment! Listen, I can spot a Taker easy (<–click the link to my blog about “Takers”). You know the ones. Take, Take, Take and they never pour into your life because they don’t have the capacity. They only call you when they need something. They really don’t even know you, but they know what you can do for them. STOP THE MADNESS. Own your power! Givers, you have to set boundaries. Even if you love them, if they do not care about your well-being, you will find yourself depleted, running on E, trying to please someone who doesn’t even truly care about you.  When you allow someone into your space, you give them access to hurt you or heal you… keep that in mind. You don’t have to put up with anything you don’t want to.  Ask yourself… When you’re in this person’s presence does this person make you feel drained or uplifted? Are you adding to the people in your life? Are you in a one-sided friendship/relationship? You can have a Taker in your life or be a self-centered Taker and not even know it. Evaluate your friendships and relationships. Remember, Iron Sharpens Iron, while others are lifting you up be sure to lift them up to. <3

Vicky S. Joseph

Vicky is a Public Speaker, Spoken-Word Artist, Actress and Writer. With Her sparkling personality she wants to ignite moral change in individuals! <3