I stared at the package sitting up on my bench, "FRAGILE" was the wording of the tape wrapped around it. In its centre the precious cargo was bubble wrapped ready to ship. That's like my heart...I thought….does anyone else feel this way?....it hurts, surely I cant be alone.
Up until now the journey of the female friendship for me has been like I am a little dinghy out at sea, there with no real control or idea where I am headed, weathering storm after storm, just trying to do the best I can to survive the ride. Some friends who come along are another boat, they travel along beside you and you don’t feel so alone. Others are the storm. You can learn to predict when a storm is coming and prepare as best you can for it, but you can’t always escape it or sail to calmer waters.
Does anyone else find female friendships complicated? Surely I'm not the only one. Do you ever find yourself asking, why do I attract this type of friend? what do I seem to do differently to everyone else? what is my part in this friendship hiatus, breakup, dissolving, whatever you want to call it, it still just hurts.
Its not fun to sit in the ocean, bobbing along after a storm has passed nursing the hurt and damage done to you. Yet sometimes its inevitable, so it helps to get focused, rebuild and move forward. Hindsight is our friend, we may have to say no and end the cycle of friendship storms and sail away to calmer waters. There are others who have weathered storms also, and have survived.
Or maybe we aren’t the dinghy but in fact are the ocean beneath it, with depths unbounded. That storm that comes along may whip you up, add its downpour to your vast reserves and turn you dark and surging.....for a while. But, you can handle that storm as it sits just at your surface. In your depths is a strength and beauty that is greater than any storm will ever be. The stormy parts of life can give us the greatest lessons, if we are curious as to what they may be.
Through some friendships I now see I was placing my value in other people. If someone likes me and wants to be my friend, I must be likeable, right? No...that isn’t right. I need to value myself, to love myself. As I have discovered there are people that will call themselves friends and take advantage of you being nice and a people pleaser. Really, I know shocking right!....not everyone in this thing called friendship has your best interests at heart, so you have to. And while I have felt naive that I didn’t know this sooner, at least now I do.
Of course your heart is fragile but it is also brave, it makes you who you are, the beauty and vulnerability that makes you sensitive can also make you resolute. You have to get crystal clear on what you want, what you will and wont allow into your one precious life. Emotional manipulation, gossip and negativity are not okay. Living life as the victim and feeling sorry for yourself will only allow others to take advantage of you. It will happen over and over again and leave you a mess. The way out of this is simple, stand up for yourself.
It’s beneficial to take a look at the friends who you keep company with. Ask yourself, how do I feel after spending time with this person? Is this the kind of influence I want in my life on a regular basis? It’s your life and how you choose to live it will determine how it turns out.
In sharing my experiences and thoughts I hope to let others know they aren’t alone. Maybe it can help you discover the beauty in your depths.
The pictured artwork “Castaway” is available to purchase here