It’s Friday folks, get ready because I might ruffle a few feathers! This week I want to talk about the popularized term “ride or die.” To be a ride or die means that you are loyal to your spouse or friend at all costs. Through thick and thin you are standing by their side regardless of the consequence. It is no secret that being a ride or die is often glorified throughout hip hop culture. Many people, including myself, have used the term to establish a standard for what their expectations of others are in all forms of relationships. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how toxic this thinking can be. While we all want a spouse or friend that will stick through the tough times with us, we must ask ourselves – is it healthy to measure my relationships based on how much pain I have and/or can endure for the other person? The basis of all relationships is mutual trust and support, both of which do not necessarily require you to sacrifice your happiness or peace for the sake of your relationships. Many of us are using the concept of being a ride or die as an excuse to hold onto toxic relationships.
Speaking very candidly, beginning in my teen years, I saw being a ride or die as the standard for “strong relationships.” Based on what I saw on tv, music videos, heard on the radio, and even in my personal experiences, I figured that people would always consider me to be a good friend or girlfriend based on what I was willing to do, give, sacrifice, and withstand for them. I have grown into a woman that thinks of others before myself, never realizing that some of that is fueled by my desire to be seen as a ride or die. This week, I had to step back and reevaluate my relationships to determine if I was guilty of holding on to toxicity for others not to feel like I ever gave up on them or that I was not a true friend. The truth is, I am guilty – many of us are. But the question is, what do we do about it? How do we find that balance?
I believe that love and true friendships should come easy and that they are based on organic connections in which neither person should never intentionally put the connection in danger. However, I also believe that we are all human and struggle/disagreement is inevitable in any relationship. Furthermore, we must spend time assessing what our expectations of others are and what their expectations of us are. I am here to tell you that loyalty should not come at all costs, I don’t care what anyone has told you – you NEVER sacrifice your health, freedom, life, happiness, or heart for another just for the sake of being seen as a friend who will be there regardless. You must always consider the affect that your relationships have on you and whether the relationships benefit and further your personal growth. Going forward, I’d like to focus more on how much a person loves, supports, and pushes me rather than how much pain they are willing to endure for me.