Breaking up with your friends

“Friendships are supposed to support your growth, not hold you back. End the ones that hold you back, and be curious about what kind of people you’re drawn to next.” ~ Kristen Ulmer, former professional extreme skier 

The 19th Century philosopher John Stuart Mill was the first person to create a philosophy around human nature. He correctly believed that any act that pushes us toward our higher nature is intrinsically better than an act that pushes us toward our lower nature. Some examples:

Lower nature: spending all day Sunday watching football, binge-watching Netflix, getting drunk, overeating, unnecessary violence, reading cheap romance novels, generally doing as little as possible.

Downtown Fredonia on a Thursday night is filled with lower nature.

Higher nature: any form of education, a diet or fitness regimen, starting a business, an act of moral or political courage, Alcoholics Anonymous, the decision to get married or have children, finishing your thesis, helping others, the pursuit of an artistic calling.

Mason Hall is filled with higher nature.

Once you make the choice to pursue higher nature (which is required for a life worth living) your friends might not like it. They don’t like it because they now need to pursue higher nature to keep up with you.

Higher nature is hard, scary work. It’s possible that once you pursue it your friends will be too afraid to go with you. It’s easier for them to find a new group of friends to do lower nature things with.

Don’t take it personally. You do you, and see which people you’re attracted to next.

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