Guest Post – Grow Through What You Go Through

Friendships grow where you water them. Well, not always, but that’s okay.

I could have sworn all the guest posts were from last year, only to find out they were a lot earlier than that. 2015 to 2016 was when six amazing women authored guest blog posts for me. I thought it was time to ask another friend to give it a go! As I’ve continued my journey to heal my broken heart, I’ve watered a friendship that has been a seedling for a handful of years. It wasn’t until more recently with very different, but very large things happening in our lives respectively, we found that watering our friendship has encouraged it to blossom. I’ve said this before, but I’ll reiterate it again — fostering friendships later in life is a magical thing. My adoration for a friend passionately writing about any topic has not changed. I am so excited to share a new post today, albeit a two years gap. If you’d like to take a peek at the old guest posts, here you go:

Guest Post – Thanks for More Than Just A Week
Guest Post – Friending In Your Own Way
Guest Post – A Decision that Changed My Life
Guest Post – Motherhood
Guest Post – Dying, Death, Deceased
Guest Post – An Unplugged Blessing

To be completely honest, I’m not sure how Tara and I’s friendship actually started. But I do know it revolves around running! I think it was when I was part of the crew who started November Project – Sacramento. That group has morphed into 9run6, but they still offer the same free workouts to local runners and anyone looking to fitness! Tara and her husband are transplants to the area, but you’d never know that. They embrace our community and love on it as much as I do. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to watch her become faster and a Mother to the most handsome little dude, Jacob! She’s a beer-lovin’, fast runnin’, fierce friend of mine and I’m happy to share her post with you, because it resonates so deeply.
I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends

Tara Lindahl, PsyD

Friendships are like rose bushes; from the outside, they are all beautiful. Closer up there are thorns.  They need pruning to stay healthy.  With proper care, new buds will bloom each year. This is especially true for friendships among women.  It’s a common belief that men are more competitive than women, but research suggests that the reality is less clear-cut. Women are simply competitive in a more covert way. Instead of making bets or having races, they’re competitive about connection. For women, the trophy goes to the friend that is most privy into the details of her friends’ lives.

This creates a double-edged sword; it makes women more prone to “backstabbing”, but it also means they can serve as a wealth of support for someone who is going through something difficult and needs to vent or seek help.  In my personal experience, I have found that I have had to “prune” certain friends that have decided to take the “gossip” route instead of directly addressing concerns or insecurities.  The same people pulled back from my life when they saw me getting closer to other women or having successes. Why does it have to be like that?  Is there a limit to the number of people one can be close with? Does my supporting a friend in need mean that I am therefore unable to be a good friend to anyone else? Does my achievement lessen anyone else’s? I don’t believe so! I am an adult!  I can multitask.  I can be a friend to several people at once.  The catch is, the people in my life need to treat me as a friend as well.

Sometimes as women, we end up creating false beliefs about others based on our own insecurities. This is where that competition thing comes in again. If a friend loses weight while we are struggling with our own weight, it’s not a personal slight.  Their weight loss has nothing to do with ours!  We should celebrate that they are happy with their body and have it serve as motivation to reach our own goals.  Similarly, any success our friends have should be cause for celebration on our part, not a reason to compare or become envious.  Envy leads to more false beliefs.  It creates a harboring of negative feelings toward a friend who did absolutely nothing to deserve these feelings! Not going to lie, I have had to check myself once or twice when feeling this way. It takes self-reflection and examination of why I am feeling negative. Usually, it’s based on my own self-esteem, and I am able to separate these feelings from my friendship.

If as a woman, you are noticing this in a friend, address it head-on  If the behavior doesn’t change, it’s probably best that that friendship is pruned. This may come with some guilt or a feeling of loss, and that is perfectly normal!  Heck, it means that you are human!  But in the end, it is the healthiest thing to do for your own wellbeing.  I have found that selectively pruning toxic friendships have always opened doors to new, supportive and reciprocal ones.

My female friendships have changed over time.  As an adult, I value quality over quantity.   I only want those that accept me for all of me, not just when I am fun to be around.  My girls have gotten me through sickness, family crap, childbirth, and tough races. They have celebrated by academic, athletic and altruistic achievements. Bottom line, they are there and I am there for them.   They enrich my life in ways no one else can and truly make me better able to be my best me!

It’s a hard realization when a friendship might need to be severed. I’ve learned this the hard way. Although I have an amazing tribe, I’ve had to remove certain friendships in my life. It’s not always because they are harmful to my well-being, it’s just that they need to grow away from me. The latter is probably the hardest to accept because growing apart leaves no real reason why something needs to happen/end. But again, this plays into my habit of absolute thinking about life. But it never gets easier and there is always a time of mourning. Knowing that person won’t be there for all the good, future moments and for support during the sadder moments is a big idea to swallow. But like Tara says, we are human and need to do the healthiest thing for our own wellbeing. And sadly, at times that means pruning the friendships that no longer serve us. Just like with any relationship, I’m learning that those who are no longer destined to be a part of our lives are making room for those who are. Tara is an amazing soul, who by trade is a Psychologist, but in regular life a friend, wife, mother, and daughter. I’m sure she’s more too. But I am beyond thankful for the role she’s played in my life lately. She is an amazing sounding board and reminds me that I am healing, no matter what I’m feeling or experiencing. She makes the feeling of loss feel less scary. For that, I’m truly indebted to her. I’m also inspired by her commitment to fitness, being a Mom, and an overall kind human! If you see her running in a race, say hi, you won’t regret it — I promise!
Thanks for reviving my love for guests posts!

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