So much of who we are and who we become is determined by those around us.

As kids, we're taught to form friendships with people similar to us. In elementary school, if you showed up on the first day wearing the same shirt as another kid in your class, you'd leave school that day with a new best friend.

Many of us continue this pattern as we grow older because it's the easiest way to make friends and keep them. Unfortunately, this involves remaining exactly the same as those around you.

The problem with living our lives surrounded by people just like us is that it allows us very little room to grow as individuals. Even worse is when we do start to grow we end up growing apart from those we love because we've never known how to be in each other's lives without being carbon copies.

At first growing apart from a friend seems like the worst case scenario, but take time to realize that growth is a great thing.

You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep weighing you down.

Just because they don't have a place in your life anymore doesn't mean they're toxic people. It could simply mean your paths have diverged and you could lose your way if you keep looking back for where they are.

The people you have in your life can and should be different from you, as long as your differences bring out the best in each other.

Our friends have so much influence over us and we hardly even notice it.

If you want those influences to be positive ones surround yourself with people who inspire you to be a better version of yourself every day, and say goodbye to the ones who don't.