There is a phrase referring to beards called the terminal beard length. It is the maximum length a man can grow his beard. This is the longest a given man can grow his beard.
It is not limited by the man’s ability to curate and encourage his beard to grow, but instead it is limited by his genetics. He can’t grow a longer beard because he just does not have the capacity to grow a longer beard.
There is no cream, oil, or balm that he needs. There are no supplements to make it grow longer. There are only genetics, a healthy grooming regimen, and the beard. Most other factors do not matter. Therefore, he is limited to his given terminal beard length.
Similarly, we are limited in our given capacity for friendships and relationships. There are many different hairs of relationships. Short and long, the random gray hair. The hairs that end up knotted even though we just combed them last night. Or even the hair that feels like an iron spike despite the fact that we condition every morning.
There are many hairs and lengths of hairs. But we are still limited by the terminal beard length in the deepest relationships we have. The relationships that stretch all the way out to the very longest points in our beards. We are careful to condition and oil these hairs to keep them from falling out.
Our relational capacity is then limited to our ability to be there for the relationships that matter most to us. We might care about all the hairs in our beard, but we have to stop and invest in the ones longest and strongest.
Who are your friends who mean the most to you? Do they know they are so important to you? What are you doing to curate those relationships so they continue to be your longest strongest hairs?