What I've learned about friendship this year

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

What I've learned about friendship this year

Friendships have emerged on my agenda in a big way this year. I've made the third move away from my home city in 7 years. I’ve travelled then come back, relocated overseas then come back, and now I've bought a house away from the city. So this time there has been no "going back". It's dawned on me that for the last 7 years I have made a big move roughly every 18 months. And guess how long I've been in my house? Yep, 18 months. Right on time for another play, yet this time I'm not making one. I've felt unsettled and lonely in the biggest way this year, and maybe that’s because I haven’t fully embraced this circumstance as “home”, and expected friends to do it for me. 

I’ve not put in the effort with friends this year that I'd have liked to. To be frank, nor have some friends put in the effort for me. I’ve resisted some friendships, and I've tried to force others. I've had friendships fall away that I've tried to cling to. To fill the gap of being unsettled. The trouble is that when you approach friendships to fill a gap, you’re loading them with expectations that they can’t be asked to meet. Another person can’t fill your gap. It’s YOUR gap. I chose the wonderful experiences I’ve had to go abroad and wouldn’t change them, so it's part of my experience too that I navigate this process of settling. My friends and family are also adjusting to a change in the story they’ve known for the past 7 years that I am transient. It’s an adjustment for all of us. It takes two to tango as they say. And I’ve been a bit of a wallflower lately.

My discomfort and desire to belong has translated into:

  • Seeking approval
  • Over complicating relationships
  • Pushing friendships that others didn't want (and it's OK that they don't!) 
  • Leaning too heavily on others
  • Emotional texting (like drunk-texting but without the hangover!)
  • Taking things personally

These are all symptoms of an instability in your own foundation, a clouding of your solar plexus, a call for more friendship with yourself.

  • If you believe others aren’t supporting you enough, ask "Am I supporting myself?"
  • If you feel misunderstood, ask "Am I understanding and expressing myself fully?"
  • If you are seeking approval, ask "Are there parts of myself I am judging and disapproving?"

I acknowledge all this with kindness and compassion. Not with shame, regret, humiliation, or beating myself up. In the turbulence of this year I “over self-developed” with the expectation to be so “woke” and grounded that I'd just flourish through the upheaval. But I never gave myself the moment to forgive myself for feeling lonely in the first place. I just wanted to “fix it”. All well intentioned, but a disservice to my beautiful friends both old and new. You are not a cure to fix me. You are a salve to support me, a spritz to enhance me, and the most playful dance partners to share this tune called Life. To my friends, thank you, I love you. 

So as we draw to the end of 2018 and enter the holiday season of family gatherings, social events, and time with friends, remember your steps in the tango.

Desire a friendship with yourself as much as you do the one with your friends. And don't just wait for them to arrive with what you want, meet them in the middle with what you need. 

If you’re keen to strengthen your foundation, charge up your solar plexus, regain a friendship with yourself - whatever you want to call it - then come to my Soul Setting Sessions in January.

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