Most find that friendships do one of two things: they phase out or they're genuinely long lasting. And, as I've come to notice the varying trends, I've also found my friendships closely resemble different types of food.
We do not become the people who this world needs simply by turning our backs on anyone we don't like, trust, or deem healthy enough to be in our presence. No, in fact, those are exactly the people we need to let into our lives. Not just for their sake, but for ours.
All friendships have limitations and boundaries, some more extreme than others. We can and do choose to happily reside within such limitations. When we are honest about what we need, the response forces us to look at the truth of the friendship, its limitlessness as well as its limits.
What is it we really need when we are in pain? I believe that it is much simpler than we imagine. We need to be heard, understood and cared about. We need a friend to hold our pain with us, for a moment, without judgment, to hear and care about how we are, in truth.
When we can be honest about a friendship, and about the season of life that the friendship belongs in, then, we can be truly grateful for the miracle that a friendship is. Trying to force a friendship to keep bearing fruit past its season is a disservice to its profound nature.
My client found it unbelievable. "Here I am 37 years old, a wife, a mom, a nurse valued by patients and staff, and I am hurt -- no, correct that, devastated -- by a supposed friend and her group of friends."
I gravitate toward certain people. I meet tons of people and usually end up loving most of them, but some pull me in deeper immediately. I get an instant connection that I can't deny or ignore; it doesn't make perfect sense but just happens.
No! It's a pretty scary word, right? It certainly is for me. It's like a well-placed "boo!" bursting through the darkness from an unseen corner. In fact, I find "no" so scary that that I often have difficulty saying it, and that's just where my problem begins.
Don't get me wrong, helping others can bring us great joy, but we have to watch that we don't overdo and risk being of no help to anyone. By scheduling time for ourselves, we are able to be both helpful and healthy.
Trying to solve your crappy self-worth through outside approval is a race you're always going to be running at half-speed. When the outside approval dies down, that's the discomfort you have to sit with. That's the "you" you have to learn to love.
At times, life catches up with us and it becomes easy to forget to find time for moments of self-reflection. But it is important to remember that no human is an island. We can learn a lot about ourselves from the people we surround ourselves with and the relationships we foster.
An old aphorism says that it takes money to make money. Perhaps the same could be said of energy. If we want energy -- the feeling of vitality -- then we might have to be willing to give more of it to get it.