“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”
Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr.
Sometimes life pummels you with some curve balls and, if you’re anything like me, you get a little light headed and starting spinning. I find myself doing this time again when I get smacked with a stressful situation; to mix metaphors, I totally start spinning my wheels. I’ve been struggling lately with some personal hurdles while trying to keep focused on my path to my dreams.
I can see a million possibilities and it’s hard for me to pick the right one and sometimes reaching out for help is hard. Studies show that friendship is one of the major contributors to happiness and yet so many of us hermit-ify ourselves when we’re trying to make a decision or cope with a problem. “But I don’t want to burden them,” or “They are probably busy” or “I’m sure they are sick of me by now,” are a few of my choice excuses for not calling a friend when I need help.
A few years ago I was really going through it, my business was failing, I had no love life and I was facing the harrowing reality of having to move back in with my mom. (love you mom) I just shutdown emotionally. I withdrew from many of my friends and it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt extremely alone. I was upset that more of my friends weren’t reaching out to me to help me through this hard time. I was blaming them for my feeling lonely. One day I realized that “you’re only alone if you let yourself be.’ Believe it or not your friends still care about you, but they have their own lives too and won’t always remember to call. Sometimes you have to be the one to reach out and pipe up, “Hey, I really need you right now, I’m struggling and I need to talk (& a hug).”
If you’re on your path to living your dream, or you just want to be more positive, it’s time to start getting back in touch with your friends. They help you sort through your thoughts and give you fresh perspective. Plus they give you a hug when you need it! [Bonus!] Sometimes it just gives you a boost to know that someone cares and gives you the strength to hold on to the end of your rope. When I go home after having spent time with friends I am energized and have that youthful zeal back in my life. I feel more prepared to tackle the challenges ahead. The funny thing is, this phenomena goes both ways, as you both share your struggles and joys, you BOTH come away feeling better.
A word of caution: avoid Toxic-Negativity-Mongers and Stuff-Their-Feelings-So-They-Look-Righteous-Peddlers. You’ve heard it before, but its good to have a reminder that it’s important to pay attention to which friends you are reaching out to when you are going through a hard time. A lot of us, (I’m totally raising my hand here), have the tendency to call up our B*tching Buddy when something goes awry and just let loose a deluge of garbage back & forth. Or how about your Negative Nelly friend? Need someone to agree with how horrible your situation is, there he/she is to comply. These “friends,” although well meaning and offering toxic condolences that will only weigh you down and you should stay away. Now I’m not saying just go to someone who is ONLY positive either, because that kind of saccharin sweet is just bull pucky, in my opinion. Their glossed-over perspective will only leave you feeling needy and invalidated. You know the kinds – Toxic-Negativity-Mongers and Stuff-Their-Feelings-So-They-Look-Righteous-Peddlers. Find your true friends, the ones that know the real you and can empathize with your pain or fear, but also have a positive perspective on life. If your selection of those kinds of friends is slim…perhaps its time to start reaching out to make some new friends.
Side Note: I am currently reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.
Lots of good info on the circumstances and practices that lead to happiness. Hint, hint – friendship is a big one. Check out Gretchen’s blog (I’ve linked directly to her category on “Friends”)