Happy Monday! It’s mid-August and rumors of pumpkin-flavored coffee and candles hitting the shelves are scuttling about – this girl isn’t complaining one bit. With fall soon around the corner, the changing of the seasons had me thinking of the changes occurring in my life – particularly in my friendships.
This past week marked my half birthday – yes I count them – which means I’m fully into my thirties now, there’s no denying it and no turning back. So what does that mean really? Although I don’t think I’ll ever have my act completely together, because what fun is that (?!), I think my 30’s are about putting into action all the questions of my twenties, and truly embracing me. So again you’re asking – okay Tara – what does that mean? It means some serious clean up: eliminating the nonsense and negativity… even in the friend department.
Friendships come in all shapes and sizes: some we’ve known since childhood, some we’ve known for a just a blink. Sometimes they’re friends of friends, sometimes you just bumped into them and found out you’re two peas in a pod. Sometimes you’re related and you can’t change that – fortunately or unfortunately. I’ve gone through a LOT of life changes over the past year and a half, some good – some bad – all of which have taught me invaluable lessons. These changes and road bumps pushed me to seek out a therapist – mostly for clarity – and she’s the best choice I could have made. Having a non-biased party just to listen is often all we need and on occasion offer advice or practices to bring down the stress levels … I’m telling you it has done wonders.
One of the most important lessons she has taught me is to not feel guilty for creating barriers and saying no, one thing I’ve always had an incredibly hard time with. When you struggle with barriers, people see you as a source to turn to but can easily abuse that privilege and soon swarm you with ALL of their problems – which leads me into the first friend to nix.
The Negative Nancy
I happen to be one of those individuals who is super susceptible to the energies around me – meaning if someone is really negative and grumpy, it quickly ruins my mood and makes me irritated and grumpy. Hence the negative friend who does nothing but complain about everything in their lives – enough! You give them advice over and over gain – trying to offer them greatness surrounding them, but no – nag nag nag. Negativity loves a partner – and that doesn’t need to be you.
Anything you can do I can do Better!
Fortunately I don’t have any one-upper’s in my immediate circle, but we all know the type. I think this also involves those who make you feel uncomfortable in any capacity – no matter the extravagance. We are friends for our love of one another, which does not include flaunting money or skill or climbing over another to better oneself or one’s sense of oneself. If you find yourself constantly feeling less in the presence of a friend, they likely aren’t a real friend to you at all.
If you take one lesson from this post, take note of this. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. One of my biggest pet peeves in life are judgmental, small-minded people. I have zero room for them. No one, and I repeat, no one is without flaw in this life. It is those flaws that make us the uniquely beautiful creatures we are – human in every aspect. The most important thing is that we learn from our mistakes and surround ourselves with those who will help us do so, maybe with tough love at times but no judgement. I have deleted the people out of my life who have judged me for being human, for making mistakes – when they can’t look in the mirror and see their own flaws. When you seek out advice from others, you are doing so because you value them as a person, their opinion and their friendship. It is up to you, as an adult, to incorporate that advice as you see fit. Just don’t make the mistake of asking the same advice over and over again.
I’ve applied these principles with friendships from childhood and in my professional arena. I felt obligated to hold onto certain friendships from my youth only because they were so – people I’ve known forever. I discovered however, I was left out from almost everything and I really didn’t know them anymore – nor did they know me. I had moved on with life – packed up from the comforts of Texas and started life anew with Charlie in Utah to chase my career in healthcare while he protected the nation flying across the world. Even after I moved back to Dallas, things weren’t the same and I was tired of pretending to be social media friends. I had finished a Master’s and learned to live mostly apart from my husband while most of them were on their second child. While I applauded them for their life choices, I felt ousted for mine. Questions like “when will you have children?” or “why don’t you live together” or “how can you work at night/not be at home with your husband” do nothing but set my veins on fire. It’s 20 freaking 17 people…
I mentioned I applied this to my professional life – let me tell you how. Recently I went to the blog full-time while also pursuing my doctorate. Many, many factors influenced this decision but one thing fully pushed me into my decision – negativity in the workplace. I’ll write a more extensive post on this, but if you work in an environment swimming in negativity – consider the overall influence it might have on you and if you’re happy. I know I sure wasn’t.
Photography by Megan Weaver