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The Making and Breaking of Friendship

Friendships and what we want from them can change over time; however, there are essential elements that cause us to choose – and want – to become and remain friends with someone.  This is the making of friendships.  There is also the breaking of friendships:  If our needs and wants are not satisfied, it can cause – or force – us to distance ourselves and in some cases, to make the choice to simply disappear from someone’s life.  And this is okay!

The question that we must ask ourselves is:  Is this a meaningful friendship in the first place?

Meaningful friendship requires 5 essential things (not necessarily in this order):

Trust

Reliability

Respect

Reciprocity and Equality

Fun

Friendship requires trust.  That includes being able to tell a friend something in confidence.  If one asks for that information to “remain in the vault”; one knows for certain that that’s exactly where it will remain.  Trust also includes knowing that you can probably tell your friend anything and you will not be judged – to your face or behind your back.  This does not mean that your friend cannot keep you accountable if you are confessing regarding something harmful to yourself or others.   A motto to live by is this:  If your friend is telling you secrets about another friend, it’s a sign they are not trustworthy and are telling your secrets to others.  If a friend is talking about his/her friend behind her back, they are untrustworthy and are doing the same behind yours. 

Friendship also needs reliability.  This is of utmost importance, because we CHOOSE to have these people in our lives and we base that choice on the fact that we know this person can be relied on – unlike many people we call acquaintances or strangers – to show up when they say they will, show up on time and show us respect when they do.  When a friend habitually or chronically cancels out or shows up late, for whatever reason or excuse they give – this person is taking the importance of the friendship and the friend for granted.  If someone does something habitually to someone else, they are working on an assumption that they can do whatever they want to this person without reproach; and that their actions are not affecting this person in anyway.   This assumption is wrong; and entirely selfish.  If you are one of these people who habitually show up late and always have an excuse, you are saying that someone else has been put on this planet to tolerate your inconsiderate behavior.  Sorry!  Only your mother loves you that unconditionally!  If you have a friend that is not reliable – this is NOT friendship!  This is one-sided.

What do you do if a person continually cancels?  Stop inviting them and stop sending a message that you will tolerate it.  If a friend constantly writes you texts or reaches out to you stating, “I’d love to see you!”  or “Let’s get together” but when you reply and try to establish a time and place and that person responds, “I’ll let you know,”  simply tell them to get in touch with you when they actually have a tentative date and time to get together.  This person is all talk and will continually “romance” you with the idea that he/she wants to see you; but in the end, they are elusive and rarely walk the walk.  This is often the person that swoops in from out of town and finds him/herself without plans and wants to keep you hanging on, in case his/her other plans don’t work out.  Don’t fall for it!  Make plans with friends who actually make themselves available and concretely set up a time and date within a few interactions of communication.

What do you do if a person is habitually late (and you’ve shared how much this frustrates or upsets you)? Simply leave the place that you are waiting for them.   It is amazing how many people who are habitually late, actually hate to wait for others.  I only had to leave a restaurant once to get this point across.  The friend was 20 minutes late (after numerous times of leaving me waiting) – and when this person got to the restaurant and I wasn’t there, she waited about 10 minutes before she texted me (although she couldn’t be bothered texting me to actually tell me she’d be late!) and asked where I was.   When I told her I left and the reason why, she was offended!  Good!  Sometimes, the only way to teach someone how you feel when they disappoint you, is to simply give them an opportunity to actually feel that way.  Let’s be clear:  Leaving after 20 minutes is respecting yourself; it’s not disrespecting the person who is late!

Respect should be an obvious one to most people, but often times people do not realize what makes another person feel respected or disrespected.  This should be something established fairly early in a friendship because everyone is different.  However, obvious things such as putting down the other person or attacking their character should never be tolerated.  Respect also includes not being condescending to the other person; and valuing them for who they are no matter their socio-economic status, relationship status, gender, culture, race, religion or age.

Many of my friendships have been with people who are younger and older than myself.  I find that age rarely has anything to do with friendship as many people are old souls who have a great deal of wisdom to share; and people younger than us can bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm (and energy!) to the friendship.  There is nothing more of a turn off than someone who is always referring to the differences (usually in order to put her or himself in a place of superiority) instead of focusing on common ground between the two of you. An example of this is when I was spending time with a female friend who was about ten years older than myself.  I have always gravitated to those older than myself partly because I believe I am an old soul and partly because I have older siblings and have more of a comfort level with older people.   I also cherish the wisdom and knowledge that they have from experiences that I may not have gone through yet.  However, if a friend is habitually saying that because you are younger, you couldn’t possibly understand what they are going through in a condescending way, intimating that they are superior because of their age – this is not making of a friendship.  When one is constantly pointing out differences, this is not respecting the elements that brought you together as friends in the first place.  Be wary of someone who is constantly referring to these differences, as this comes from a place of insecurity and it is their way of creating inequality in the friendship.  Find common ground to walk on – do not point out obstacles of difference.

Last but not least:   Friendship is meant to be fun.  When we were children, we did not hang out with other kids when they were nasty, late, bullying, disrespectful or any of the other things that many of us put up with in our friendships.  We hung out with them, because it was fun.  If you are finding any one of your friendships – on a habitual basis –  is creating negativity, anxiety (knowing the next time you go out with that person, you most definitely will have to wait for them or worse yet, they are going to make you late for something else); worry or you feeing badly about yourself or guilty for standing up for yourself; or the majority of the conversation and interaction is based on gossip or sharing others’ secrets,  then you need to simply place this person on your outside circle of acquaintances; or disconnect from them entirely – and do NOT feel badly about it.  We cannot choose our family members and we have to accept and tolerate a lot of things life throws at us.  However, a less than stellar friendship is not one of them.  Friendship is based completely on choice and its one of the few things in life, we do have a say in!  Choose your friends – those people who get in your INNER CIRCLE – wisely!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blessings,

Tanya M. Cooper

Surrendering and Listening to our Bodies!

 

depression imagehappiness on coast

Depression is defined as:

1.  Severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.2.  A condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.However, Depression Doesn’t Exist!     Now that I have your attention and possibly your anger, please, keep reading!

For anyone who experiences depression or has come through it, the feelings associated with it are very real.  However, one of the most valuable lessons I learned from my four years of Gestalt Psycho-therapy training was that depression in and of itself does not exist – it is a mental and physiological response to one of two things:  repressed anger or repressed sadness.

Think of it as holding a ball full of air underneath the water.  Everyone knows that it is difficult to do because the displaced air within the ball forces it to ascend upwards and we have to forcefully hold it to keep it under the water. When we do eventually let it go; it flies out of the water upwards proportionately to how deep we were holding it under.

This is very similar to what happens when we are holding anger or sadness within us – it wants to come up and be expressed – but we may not want to see it on the surface.  The problem with this is, the more we repress our anger or sadness, the less we can actually feel joy or happiness.  This is why it is crucial that we allow our anger and sadness to come to the surface so that our hands – and our entire being – is open to experience the joy and happiness life has to offer as well.

The fact that depression in most cases is a result of holding on to negative feelings – and negative energy – is very good news.  While depression feels like a heavy weight upon our shoulders or quicksand that we feel powerless to become free from – anger and sadness are simply emotions that have been trapped within our bodies in response to an experience – and we can be free of them, which in turn will eventually help lift the feelings associated with our depression.

How do we do this?   

I am certainly not going to advise for or against anti-depressants; but  sometimes they can be a TEMPORARY solution to severe depression until we can process and deal with the sadness or anger in which we are holding.  Times in my life that I have experienced depression I did not take drugs and I was able to work through it and come out the other side and that is what I want to share with you today.   The truth is there is no quick fix to dealing with depression.  If one is in this state, even affirmations and trying to lift our vibrational energy may not work – although they cannot hurt either!

Step # 1We need to first identify what emotion is causing the depression – is it anger or is it sadness?  And very often, even behind our anger lies sadness or disappointment over something that has happened to us.  For example, if someone has said or did something very hurtful to us, we are likely to have felt sadness but masked it with anger very quickly in order to deal with it and ‘feel stronger’.  Often we mask our sadness with anger in order to have the strength to stand up to or say goodbye to a particular person or situation in our lives.  How many times have we thought we originally felt anger towards someone and then a few days later, realize that we are actually sad about what happened?

Step # 2:  What are we feeling sad or angry about? The problem with trying to discover what and why we are feeling what we are is that many times by the time our bodies have gone into a depressed state, the actual original hurt or event has long since passed.  It may even have been something in our childhood originally and has been triggered again by something in our adult lives.

So how on earth do we get to the heart of the issue and figure out how and why we are feeling this way?  It isn’t easy. This is the step at which most people feel the most resistance – especially if the hurt did originate – and most do – in our childhood.  We have buried it so deeply and so strategically in order to not have had to deal with it – usually because we were too young to do so or simply not equipped – that there are a few layers that we have to peel away first.  It is necessary that we realize this is a process – and that is what I want to stress here – growth and healing of any kind is a process.  When we cut our finger, our bodies have a wonderful – some would even say miraculous – ability to heal the wound.  This does not happen overnight however; but we can apply ointments that expedite the process.  This is where therapeutic modalities come in – they can include anything from journaling, talking with a friend, talking with a trained psychologist, E.F.T (Emotional Freedom Technique which I will be writing about in a later blog as part of this 5 part series), Reiki, Acupuncture and many more.  You need to discover which one works best for you. In the meantime, I will share with you some practical techniques you can do in the privacy of your own home.

Step # 3:  Writing to Heal 

I have done this several times and I cannot stress enough how powerful – and effective – a technique it is to get at the heart of many of our repressed emotions and physical ailments.  What we do is actually journal with the Depression – almost as if it is a person – or the physical issue – directly.  Why not give it a try? If it doesn’t work then you haven’t lost anything; if it does, I would love to hear back from you as to how it helped.

Dear Depression: 

You have taken over my body, slowed me down, made me feel lethargic and really awful some days.  You must be doing this for a reason.  Please, what is it that you are trying to tell me?  What real emotions are you trying to hold onto for me?  I know you are not my enemy.  I know that you are attempting to protect me from my real emotions.  Please help me to figure out what these are.

Take a few seconds and then respond from the Depression’s point of view – in other words, give it a voice.

Dear (Your Name):

Here is where you allow – freely and without judgement – your Depression (and you do not have to be severely depressed at all, you may just simply feel down or not so great) tell you what is really going on with you.  You may be surprised by what it tells you or it may make a lot of sense.  The trick is to allow it a voice.

This is the same for ailments in the body – another manifestation of repressed hurts, emotions or beliefs that have surfaced in a physical form.  It does not matter if this is a small annoyance such as a hemorrhoid or if it is cancer.  Our bodies are the mediator between our core inner self – our subconscious – and our minds.  They are constantly giving us messages. When our leg falls asleep and we begin to feel pins and needles, our body is communicating to us that we need to move and stop cutting off the blood supply to our extremities.  Why does it do this?  To protect us.  Why do our bodies develop “dis – ease”?  Because we are “out” of “ease” with our true selves and our bodies want to return to homeostasis and ease again – and it will help us do this if we are willing to give it a voice.

Dear Hemorrhoid/ Dear Cancer:  Again, allow yourself to be really honest about how you are feeling towards it.  Maybe you hate your cancer or your disease.  Tell it that.  It can handle it because it is in your body to tell you something as well.  Then let it.

Give your depression, anger, sadness and your pain – whether it be emotional or physical, a VOICE today.  Let it communicate to you in plain language what it has been trying to tell you silently.  Once you “hear” it – you may well be on your way to recovery and freedom.

Below is a website that delineates the Myths and Facts regarding Depression:   

http://www.webmd.com/depression/ss/slideshow-depression-myths

Deciding to Have a Habit of Faith

woman breathing

Scripture:  Hebrews 4:  “Those who have believed, do enter the rest of God. ”

As I sit here with no job perhaps after this Friday and perhaps not for semester two or the summer; and yet, I have a rent payment, a car payment, a loan payment, bills, groceries and gas; not to mention all the other things that I do in my life – that I could give up, but don’t really want to.

How am I at peace at this very moment?  Why I am not anxious, worried or ruminating?  Because I am determined to REST.  Which means, not that worried thoughts do not come up and enter my mind about these things – but every time it happens, I literally swipe my hands like I’m sweeping with a broom – and I sweep, sweep it away and replace it this scripture:

The Lord is my shepherd

and I shall not be in want

Believe IN God – the someone who wants good for us

Not IN something – that may or may not be good for us!

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.