Friendship is Key
Hi, there! I'm going to jump right into this week's Care because it's such an important part of living a great life!
Ever since my car broke down and my cross-country trip was derailed and my plans for the family get-together changed and I found myself without a place to hang my hat and I suddenly had no means of transportation in a very rural part of the country ... Ever since then, I've avoided feeling like my life turned into a giant catastrophe with the help of something important ... friendships! I love the quote:
"You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool
of yourself, he/she doesn't feel you've done a permanent job."
- Laurence J Peter
Anything I've either celebrated or condemned or been sad or happy about has always been richer or immeasurably more tolerable when friends have been around. In fact, I'm pretty sure some things might have felt impossible without my "buds". For this reason, in the spirit of self-care and wellness, let me list some of the ways camaraderie supports and sustains us.
"Friendship is born at that moment when one person
says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was
the only one'."
- C S Lewis
Help prevent isolation and loneliness. Even if you refuse a few invitations from friends, at some point they will show up on your doorstep and either drag you out or make a party in your living room.
Reduce our stress levels. It's been shown that spending time with your pals lowers your cortisol (the hormone triggered by tension and anxiety).
Increase our self-confidence and self-worth. They can upgrade our social skills and make us brave by helping us step out of our comfort zones.
Are there for us with mental and emotional support through trauma, loss, and tough times.
Are like having our own cheerleading squad with encouragement to be our best.
Improve the quality of our health. They usually keep us on track and active and motivate and inspire us to be healthy. (Of course, sometimes we can "use" friends to accompany us on a downward spiral. Usually, though, one or the other or you will come to a point where you get back on track together.)
Allow us to live longer, more vibrant lives. It was recently reported that Queen Elizabeth's closest friend, Angela Kelly, moved into Windsor Castle not long after the queen's COVID diagnosis and after Prince Philip died. It's also been noted that the queen has been in exceptionally good spirits recently.
Help us find the laughter in things. While it might be true that misery loves company, happiness and joy love it even more!
Remember that friendship goes both ways. It's about both giving and getting. If you're feeling like you don't have many friends, there are a few things you can do. If you've lost touch with old chums, look them up! If you have a phone number for them, give them a ring. As much as I have mixed feelings about social media, I will admit that Facebook has put me in touch with acquaintances from the past. If you're in the market for new friends, try any or all of the following:
Accept all invitations, even or especially if you don't "know" anyone there
Attend local events
Take some classes
Join a community of like-minded people. That could include a church or meditation group or whatever is in your comfort zone.
Connect or re-connect with neighbors
Finally, remember to be friendly, vulnerable, trustworthy, available, kind and to listen. Above all, as always, be care-full.
Here are a couple more quotes that really tap into friendship: "Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."
- Oprah "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- Marcel Proust "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
- Dale Carnegie
If you need a friend with benefits -- no, not that kind! -- someone who will really listen and who's also qualified to help you through your overwhelm, low energy, or feelings of disconnection, send me an email and we can have a chat.
Happy Healthy Hump Day,