We are healers, whether one on one or in a circle of trust - soothing each other's broken hearts, providing a listening ear, as we walk this sacred journey of life. In my life, women have allowed me to become who I am.
I can; however, own that at times I have not always been a good friend. Overall though, I'm a very good friend. I show up, I listen. I'm a postive and enthusiastic person, and I don't shy away from people when they are going through hard times. I am very fortunate to have close connections, and I feel blessed with a wide circle due to my many interests. And for most of my life, friendships came easy.
But there is that underlying thing that women so rarely talk about, unless it an all out fued. The quiet hurts, the unmet needs, and even the deep wounds, we have all felt at one time or another.
"Men kick friendship around like a football and it doesn't seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it falls to pieces"
To me, real friendship is something I desperately desire, but at the same time I am very much afraid of it. I've had to learn to trust my gut. I was discussing the complicated nature of female friendships with a friend, when I blurted out, "More women have broken my heart than men." She just nodded her head and agreed. We both know it's not the big heartbreaks like that committed romantic relationship, but all the subtle hurts can add up.
I don't think we always want to admit that we can hurt each other deeply.
Because I never had a sister, I may hunger for devoted relationships even more. I never had that initial training ground to develop that part of myself. Brothers are a different kind of alliance, although some can be as close as sisters. But there is something about having a sister that is a feeling I have never had. It is my belief of why I was blessed with two girls to see this bond unfold. I know full well that many sisters do not have that close connected relationship. Yet I still romanticize it in my head.
I grew up across the street from two sisters, one a year older and the other a year younger than me until I was about 12-13 years old. These two were my first best friends, and I am not sure they know how much they saved me. They were my escape when my parents or brothers were fighting. I started here believing that friends were always a safe place. Until I realized, this is not always the case. Strangely enough, my close circle of friends in high school and college all came from households of all girls. They would fight like crazy, steal each other's clothes, and not talk for days---but still they had each other. I felt, at times, like I had no one.
It was in these lonely spaces that I learned to become stronger on my own, but to compensate I have always surrounded myself with many, many friends. I know now there are certain degrees of friendship. We can only share true vulnerabilty with a very select few, and others get small pieces of us.
"A friend who understands your tears is much more valuable than a lot of friends who know only your smile." Sushan Sharma
I don't want to write about the negative parts of female friends, but over the years, some friendships have been complicated. Possibly because we can only be as good of a friend as we are a friend to ourselves. I am learning to be a good friend to myself, and this has shifted some of the people in my life. And, thus made it easier to let some people go.
There have been many times that I could have closed my heart to frienships. I didn't. Nor did I want to. The wanting of deep connection trumps any distrust and hurts that I have felt.
Friendships are also perfect training grounds for us to practice compassion toward ourselves and each other. It can teach us to trust our gut, use our voice, and compromise. Our interactions, and maybe even more so our misunderstandings, are the mirrors for us to see ourselves more clearly.
I finally realized how I more fully enjoy the company of 3 to 4 friends over large crowds. I prefer small soul to soul talks. And I hate cliques, always have. Although occasionally getting a drink with a group of friends is lovely, I would much rather meet for tea or lunch, a walk/run, or a yoga class.
Some things I have learned in the past few years about friendship.
2. Make Time. Quality Time | One thing I know for sure, if time is not made for the friendship, it will die. And sometimes that is okay. The relationship met it's need and now it's time to move on. Texts are not the same thing, people. We must spend time face to face.
3 .Communicate | Communication is the key to keeping a relationship healthy. Sweeping issues and hurts under the rug only builds resentment. If you can't address something or don't want to, it may be time to reevaluate the friendship. Or it may not be the right time to address, timing is very important.
4. Give and Receive | We, women, are notorious givers. Receiving is not always our strong suit. There are times that we need to the support of our friends that may not even be the big ones….divorce, death, or a health crisis. As much as I can ask for help, I have also been known to close down too. That's okay, as long as once we return, we communicate this.
5. Honor each Other | We all our on our own journey, and some of jouneys lead us on path that we may not understand. It is not our job to understand their journey, as much it is our mission to understand our own. Supporting, cherishing, and loving each other is the only way to true friendship.
6. Competition | We have all been there, and if you don't admit it, you are either lying or don't know yourself very well. As much as we know the grass isn't always greener and we may not even want that grass, we are human. On the flip side, we may had times of dulling our shine, playing beige, or downplaying accomplishments just so won't be the target of unnecessary bitterness. True friends cherish each other (and maybe even admit to being jealous). Also, thanks to the help of social media, the comparion devil may creep in. People post what they want you to know, not what they actually may be battling.
7. Surrender and Trust | I have had some sadness for some relationships that ended, but I know now that I was being protected. It is true that everything happens FOR us, not to us (ala Bryon Katie).
8. Forgiveness | Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, not necessarily the other person or situation. A world full of people who can practice forgiveness; however, does alter the vibration of the whole world.
Friendship is one the best parts of life. It helps us grow, become more fully ourselves, and it's just plain FUN. As we get older and our lives get more complicated, we must release some people. And make space for new ones to arrive. It is not always easy. But honor that they will always be a part in the person you have become.
From my heart
****I wrote this post a few days before my mom passed away from a long battle with cancer. She was and always will be one of my best friends. She taught me so much about friendship, being true to myself, and being a woman. We sometimes disagreed, because we both spoke our truths with each other. I always felt safe with her. I am going to miss her like crazy. And I am SO truly, thankful for the friends who have shown up for me during this difficult time. I love you. XOXO