Believe it or not….. I am a relatively private person. I know – SHOCKER! The reality is that most of the people that I call friends would tell you that I don’t really talk about the deep, private stuff. I will totally be there for you in that regard but I don’t really share that side of myself with people. There are very few – less than 5 who I have let into the inner circle.
The thing is, I was never that way before. I think the change happened in me when a very dear friend, a best friend….. you know, the one that is THE friend. The one who knows your deepest, darkest secrets. Knows you better then you even know yourself sometimes. Well this friend, believed that I said something to someone in their life causing a very hurtful and devastating emotional situation in their life to erupt. I don’t want to go into the whole story but the truth is – I would NEVER do what I was being accused of to anyone let alone someone I had loved so deeply.
I was devastated and it felt for years like I was emotionally destroyed. I couldn’t understand how someone who supposedly “knew me better than anyone else” was so totally blind to my character, integrity and honesty. I literally drowned in pain realizing I had shared my most intimate emotional self with someone and they never really saw me. I lived with heartbreak for years and when new relationships were presented to me I became leery and reserved.
Its been sixteen years and I still have a hard time crossing the boundary of friends to inner circle friends. Thus the reason there are so few who really know anything deep about me. So today I was thinking about what makes a friend and this is what I have come up with…. mind you it is totally my perspective. You can do with it what you will:
- Honesty – I need to know that the person I am dealing with is an honest person and that I can be honest with them without fear of fallout.
- Integrity – As unfair as it may seem they have to prove their have integrity to me before I can even think about opening myself up to them. I don’t actually test them but I am observing and I pay attention to how they handle their own life situations.
- Laughter – I can take things pretty serious, especially about myself, so I need someone who can make me laugh. If you can make me laugh about myself – all the better.
- Dependable – I need someone who I can count on. Really. I need them to show up when they say they will, call when they say the will, do something when they say they will. I need to know I can depend on them – bottom line!
- Adventurous – I tend to be a stay in the comfort of my home and become a hermit type of person. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love a good adventure. Actually I crave them which is why I need someone to encourage me to be more adventurous.
- Level-headed – I am not one of those people that can deal with eternal drama. I need the people closest to me to be level headed and even keeled. Keep the drama away. I can deal with drama when I need to but it isn’t what I want in my closest relationships.
These are the things I look for in a friend and before you ask, yes, I expect to give all these things in return. Friendship is a two way street after all. I have found over the years that friendships are what has kept me sane in event he most stressful situations. I value them. Take care of your friends, honor them and protect them and let the friends that appear to bfriends but aren’t really go. You will thank yourself later.
Sometimes it takes longer to learn lessons so the universe just keeps bringing the opportunities around for you to learn until you actually do. How often do you say, “not this again” or “why does this always happen to me?” If you say things like that it is often a sign that there is some kind of lesson that you need to learn that you just aren’t getting because you keep repeating the opportunities to learn.
I have a few of those lessons myself but other’s I have “for the most part” conquered and come out the better for having finally learned what I needed to know. So here are a couple lessons that really changed my life.
- The faster you own up to your part in everything that happens to you the faster you can heal, grow and move on. We have a tendency to want to blame everyone and everything around us instead of just accepting that we are co-creators of our experiences. When you can accept that and take responsibility for creating the situations you find yourself in, the easier it is to get through them. (and yes, there is always some way, some thing that you did, thought or said that helped create every situation.)
- Pride is not more important than people. This doesn’t mean be a doormat. This means that you shouldn’t let your own pride keep you from accepting that we are all fallible. We all make mistakes, act out, say harsh things etcetera. Place your value on the relationship and not on being right.
- Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean you are really sorry if you repeat the behavior. It means you were sorry you got caught in the moment but not enough to stop the behavior. Really being sorry means you want to stop the behavior that caused the problem and you will do everything in your power to not do it again. In my opinion, don’t say the words if you can’t back it up with the actions.
- Living your life with Integrity isn’t easy but you have way less problems in the long run. If you are authentic and real and have strong moral principles people will know what to expect from you and as the saying goes, “you teach people how to treat you” and I have found that if I am authentic and walk through life with integrity I naturally pull people toward me that are the same and believe me, that is worth it.
The thing is, life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. You have to decide for yourself what works and what doesn’t. You have to be true to yourself but in that, pay attention when the universe is sending you opportunities to learn and grow. If you pay attention and take time to learn from your experiences your life will change and you will grow.
Do you like yourself? I mean really? Do you say you like yourself but then have a minefield of negative self talk going on in your head? Do you say you love (fill in the blank) about yourself but behind your smile is a mind screaming liar? Are you full of self-recriminations and self-doubts that you hide from the world? Do you avoid mirrors because you don’t like what you see when you look in them?
Today, I hope you can take a few minutes and come up with 5 things that you really, truly like about yourself. Things that you are proud of. Things that make you feel good about yourself. When I took a few minutes to name my 5 things I realized that it was going to take a bit more thought than I first expected it would. Every time I came up with something I would ask myself the following questions:
- Do I really believe I like (fill in the blank) about myself?
- Do I talk negatively about (fill in the blank) to others or in my self-talk?
- Do I like this (fill in the blank) no matter what my mood is?
- Am I proud that I have (fill in the blank)?
It was a simple little test for me to gage whether or not I really liked this thing about me and some things I thought of didn’t make the cut because of one reason or another, which of course got me thinking about my self talk but that is a topic for another day. So here they are, my 5 things I like about myself:
- My eyes. When I look in the mirror I see wisdom and mystery in my eyes. I also know it isn’t just something I see because other people comment of my eyes all the time.
- Presence. Okay, so maybe you are asking me about this one but I have presence and people feel it and notice it. They feel me whether I want them to or not. I’m not the center of attention but I also am not the wall flower blending in and getting lost. People notice my energy for lack of a better way of stating it and I like that people associate that presence with a woman who knows her own power.
- Integrity. I think integrity is my own personal law. I always act with integrity and I expect other people to do the same. I actually have a problem with people who are out of integrity.
- Loyalty. I am a pretty loyal person to the point that it can be a detriment if I don’t hold my boundaries. I will stand by my loyalties even when other people would walk away. This has brought me down some bumpy roads but it has also opened up so much opportunities for growth and I love that I am a loyal person and that other people know that about me.
- Wisdom. I am by no means a super smart person but I have this innate wisdom that just is. I get people. I understand them, I empathize with them and I have an ability to bypass the bullshit and see things for what it really is. To get to the heart of the matter and once I do, I have some pretty insightful observations to share. My friends call it wisdom. I call it intuition but whatever it is….it works and I am glad that I have it.
So….now I have told you about me. Tell me about you. What are your five things? What things do you really like about yourself and are you willing to share them with the world?
Do your actions match your words? Such a simple little question but it has so much behind it. For those who know me well, they can attest to the fact that I am a big fan of “saying what you mean and meaning what you say” but I think one of the things I’ve discovered about myself is that I am always looking to see if people’s actions match their words.
I can’t tell you how many times as a mother and a spouse I’ve said, “it’s not about the words you say….show me the actions.” I really do wait to see if people’s actions match their words. For me it’s a matter of integrity. I’m not one to just spout of some words because I think they are appropriate. If I say it, you better believe I will do it.
I have no problem holding myself to this level of accountability in most things but there are a couple issues in my life where I just can’t quite make my actions match my words and that is something I’m working on because I really want change in those areas of my life.
However, when it comes to others I find I have very little tolerance for people who aren’t in alignment (intention, feeling, words and action all coming together). It makes me feel like they don’t respect me enough to be real with me.
I guess it could be considered a way I judge people’s authenticity. So tell me…..do your words match your actions?