As we get older, not only do we have a harder time making new friends, but we lose a lot of our nearest and dearest along the way. We tend to grow a bit more suspicious and become disappointed easily. In short, we expect more from our long time friends. And since they know us better than anyone why shouldn’t we? Except that we might also consider that our friends:
- Are not our clones.
- Are not mind readers. We need to ask for what we need as well as not second- guess what our friend is thinking.
- Need reciprocity and balance in the relationship. One side can’t always be giving and the other always receiving.
- Might be experiencing their own quiet lives of desperation and not emotionally receptive to our personal issues.
- Are simply being human when they are jealous of us
Many times we are harshly judgmental of our friends because we need them to validate us. It’s as though we ask them to do something for us to test the relationship. “How much do you love me?” When they can’t do what we ask, because they have their own personal stressors and emotional needs, we are ready to pounce, “Aha!” We condemn their right to exercise the word, no, and cast them into exile.
Prompting this need for proof is our need to feel mothered. No matter how old we are, when we are lacking in nurturing, we lack self-validation and self-actualization. We feel disconnected and alone, so we seek our friends to make us feel empowered. Perhaps, we expect too much from them.
Because friends are necessary to our health and happiness, they are our therapists, nurses, bankers, designers, chauffeurs, delivery men, messengers and cooks; we need to find ways to keep them predominantly in the credit column and not the debit side. Here are some tips:
Worthy to note:
- Set new boundaries; it’s never too late to redefine old ones to give yourself and your friends room to breathe.
- Locate your center. Know who you are and be aware of why you are reacting this way. Specifically, name your feelings toward your friend and go inside yourself to figure out what is really going on in your own heart.
- Set your specific intention for your friendship. Develop and direct your power to promote it.
A wonderful physical and emotional exercise to help us feel nurtured and empowered is belly dancing. The belly is where our true creative center, where our energy source, resides. Belly dancing will release the full range of our emotions while we shake down our inhibitions. Belly dancing with other women creates a bond of celebration. After all, belly dancing has been around for over 5000 years and was not created as a dance to seduce men, but rather as a dance for women to connect with and teach other women about life, love, birth and death.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com