We know how crucial it is that our children to learn to nurture their friendships. With that in mind, we need to set an example by also tending to friendships close to our hearts. That is why life balance coach and speaker Renée Trudeau has shared the following guest post with Girls That Create.
Nurturing Your Friendships and Why You Should
The other night I spent an evening with a dear friend who is my soft place to fall. She encourages me to show up messy, tender, and fully myself. She sees my creativity and generosity AND my tendency to be controlling and too goal-oriented—all of me.
Everywhere I go lately, women talk about friendships and their desire for greater intimacy and authenticity with their girlfriends. They’re sharing that they are letting some friendships go and deepening others. They’re getting clearer on what they need from relationships-—particularly during these turbulent times. They see first-hand what a huge impact real, heartfelt connection with friends has on their quality of life, mental health, and overall well-being.
Come as We Are
A well-known UCLA study on female friendships found that these key relationships help reduce stress, extend our lifespan, and reduce the likelihood of physical problems upon aging. The study discovered that women have a natural reaction to seek out their friends in times of stress (they called this “tend and befriend”), which helps them physically and emotionally return to home base.
But friendships need cultivating, tending to, and a willingness to “come as we are” (not just when we’re on top of the world). But what happens when we get over scheduled or taking care of others dominates our lives? We cancel lunches, walks, and tea/wine dates—when these meet-ups are exactly what we need to help us navigate life transitions and tough times.
As a life balance teacher/speaker, I’ve been coaching women and men on the four self–care areas: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. One of the best ways to enhance balanced living (and I’m always surprised by how often people neglect and overlook emotional self-care) is the care and feeding of our hearts.
We Need and Deserve
Emotional self-care is as important as eating nourishing foods and daily movement. Critical to this is seeking out and taking time to connect with friends who nourish us and using discernment: knowing when it’s time to let friendships go and when it’s time to reach out and cultivate new or existing ones. This action takes courage, requires us to stretch, and is part of our growth and evolution as spiritual beings. I can’t tell you how many heads nod when I bring up this theme at workshops/retreats; so many of us are still in old stagnant relationships that are draining us rather than fueling us.
We need—and deserve—friends that let us show up “warts and all.” We need friends who encourage us to shine. Friends who do not feel threatened by our success (read more about Sisterhood), and we need confidants who provide refuge, and space for us to rest without having to prove, do or be anything to anyone.
- Which of my friendships truly nourish me? Who would I like to spend more time with?
- Which relationships am I ready to lovingly release and let go of?
- What do I most need from my confidants/close friends right now? Am I willing to share this with them?
- Am I ready to stop holding it all together, let go, be vulnerable and allow my friendships to evolve into deeper levels of intimacy?
I challenge you to focus on cultivating (or deepening) a new or existing friendship. Make this a priority. Take the steps required to move “friend time” to the top of your list.
Subscribe to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by Renée, and click here to learn about upcoming speaking engagements (including online). Renée is the author of two books on life balance, including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Brevard, NC, and Austin, TX with her husband and is enjoying being a recent empty nester.
Top image by image by Bewakoof.com Official on Unsplash.