About two months ago, I felt myself breaking open. As painful as it felt, I knew good things would follow. Stagnant parts of me were ready to be challenged and crumble away.
Since then, I’ve felt myself opening up more and more to greater and better, particularly regarding my career and friendships. It’s been a pretty exciting time in this young adult’s life.
About a month ago, I started to feel on the verge of great things. All kinds of wonderful and enticing images flooded my mind – living happily in New York, traveling around the world, surrounded by strong and loving partnerships, inspired by my soul-fulfilling career. I didn’t force the images to appear, they just popped into my head as I walked around Portland, where I was visiting one of my soul-sisters. I knew it was a good sign.
It has felt like a 2-month long “spirit walk,” and I can feel and see my world changing because of it.
One of the very important ways that I can see the change is in friendship. My breaking-open two months ago was triggered by a jarring realization that I had been pushing friends and any sense of community away because of a strong fear that people would turn on me and suddenly decide to dislike or hate me.
I’ve had a few experiences over the last 7-odd years to help create this fear, including the dissolution of a few friendships, but I know the roots go back much farther. It becomes a complicated, beautiful picture when I look at all the details. The young girls in elementary school who would switch effortlessly from bullying me to being friendly with me, and back again. The messages I received about the fickleness of friendship. The years of feeling too different to fit in.
I remember spending countless hours fantasizing about being alone, not needing anyone (apart from a handsome, daring companion who would zig and zag out of my life).
At some point, I realized I was living out those themes, but I didn’t have sufficient desire to change it… until I broke open. Then I craved community and friendship, and opening up to all the love that those entail. I didn’t want to be afraid of friendship, anymore.
So I opened up to close friends, firstly about this journey that I was taking. Then I started opening up more to them, in general. I contacted them more, just because. It’s been really nice. I’m genuinely proud of myself.
That opening up then extended to friends I haven’t spoken to in 6-10 years. Amazing that it’s been that long. I saw someone different nearly every day over the past 2 weeks, reveling in the conversations and adventures that took place. It’s been an incredible fun, eye-opening, loving experience.
At one point, I thought, “maybe people don’t dislike me as much as I think they do” and was followed about a week later by “but, even if they do dislike me, it’s OK. They don’t have to like me. I don’t have to match up with everyone I know.” What a relieving pair of thoughts.
So, now, I’m freer to explore friendship and community, and what both can be. I love exploring what can be. Let’s take what we have and make it better.
Meditative Reflection on Friendship
If you’re going through a similar journey, or if you also wish for more friendship/community love, take some time to meditate on how your relationship with friendship evolved over the course of your life. Feel free to use the box below:
|Age||Main Events re: Friendship||Messages you Internalized about Friendship|
Now take a look at how friendship shows up in your life, currently. If you were to describe your core friendships using 5 words, what would they be? Would you like those 5 words to be different than what they are? What would they be?
Most importantly: what within you would need to change to have that be your reality? This could include challenging the messages you internalized (per the box above) or refining how you are a friend to yourself (what you use the five words from above to describe how you treat yourself?). How can you start redirecting your life to have this great kind of friendship in your life?
Cheers to opening up to soul-fulfilling friendships, Peaceful Dumplings!
Related: On Making Adult Friendships Work
Also by Amparo: On Learning from a Challenging Relationship with a Parent
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Photo: Lionel Fernandez Roca via Flickr