Monday, February 29, 2016

The Power of a Friend

At times it can be difficult to understand what a friend needs when they’re in a situation we don’t understand, and there are times in life we ourselves may not know we're in need of a friend! How can we help? Today I would love to share some personal stories and ideas with you that I experienced while pregnant and in need of love, support, and some damn good friends.

During this time of my life, I had completely fallen off of the radar due to an emotionally draining relationship, was incredibly bed-ridden sick (morning sickness? Pshh how about 24/7 sickness, good luck keeping anything down sucker!), and well… felt some embarrassment due to being pregnant. My closest friend at the time began to slip away after I moved back to CA, I heard from her less and less, and her calls became about her and her life. She didn’t know or understand that following those calls I felt so upset, craving feeling good and normal again. Talking with her became superficial and I no longer had a best friend anymore. Her compassion was gone and she didn’t care to hear about my struggles...

What I was experiencing was way too real for her.

Of course I had family who were wonderful, but I felt lonely on the friend front for a period of time. That was until an acquaintance of mine contacted me after hearing the news of my pregnancy and that wonderful woman WOULD NOT stop contacting me. Messaging, texting, then the calls came weekly. She lived in a completely different state than I did, was a very busy single mother, but she was not letting me give up. She let me talk and vent with real feelings, never judging and simply tried to relate and understand. Words of encouragement, struggles, happy and sad tears were shed. Even if I didn’t answer my phone because I was being reclusive, she would always send me a text telling me she loved me, missed me, and hoped my week was going alright. Needless to say she became one of my life-lines and her friendship carried me through my hard times. Less than a week after I had birthed Dayton, she joined my family and I on a much needed vacation to our favorite spot, Lake Chellan. Her friendship still means so much to me today.

Once I opened up to a couple good girlfriends who I grew up with in CA about my pregnancy, they latched and wouldn’t let me go a week without grabbing lunch or dinner with them. They would meet me at the mall, we went to a country concert, and they spent time with me doing whatever our hearts desired under that hot, California summer sun. Simply being with them lifted my spirits and for them I am incredibly grateful. When I began working at a salon, the woman I worked with were all so strong, smart, and busy. But they made time to talk to me, understand my situation, and they were always so concerned with my well-being. Their sweet gifts and smiles made me feel welcomed and supported on a daily basis.

Sometimes in hard moments of life, we drift away from our friends because what we’re experiencing feels so much bigger than ourselves. Friends are there to stand firm on the ground when we aren’t able to. Be the friend that is consistent, encouraging, a good listener, and loving. Something to remember is that a friend going through deep emotional struggles will not respond well to advice that is too harsh or one sided – it will simply push them further from you. It is impossible to fully understand what a friend may be going through, but to offer just a warm presence brings such happiness. Step up to the task when a friend needs you, even if they can’t return the favor at the time. In the long run they’ll thank you. 

Remember what power we all have to influence those around us - we can make a world of difference in someone’s life. 

The power of a friend is life-changing, let your friends be there. Let them lift you.

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