It’s spring, and you know what that means: buh-bye snow and time to do some cleaning!
But it’s not the typical green smoothie cleanse I’m craving. I’m spring-cleaning the mess of feelings I’ve padded myself with this winter.
As I start to remove some of that excess emotional weight, I realize that a lot of it is attached to over-engaging emotionally with a few “close” relationships that maybe shouldn’t be so close.
Let’s just say it: I wanted to write an article about getting rid of relationships that no longer serve us because I have one in my life!
She and I were really close. But then I had a baby, and things got AWKWARD as she became more and more scarce during my postpartum can’t-stop-crying and haven’t-slept-in-months and who-am-I and what-the-hell-happened-to-my-body phase of mommyhood. And I got angry. Why wasn’t she there for me when I needed her most?
As much as I want to just clean house, cut her out of my life, and try to move on – what I really need to do is re-evaluate.
According to friendship-expert and CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com, Shasta Nelson, “Friendships are the training ground for becoming the people that we claim we want to be.”
Let that sink in – because that shifts this whole friendship conversation...
In her Emerging Women podcast interview, Shasta says we too quickly bail on the uncomfortable awkward moments in our relationships, thereby abandoning potential intimacy-building moments.
The highest levels of friendships we can have are ones where we can be truly vulnerable, even (and especially) during the awkward moments. On the opposite end of the continuum are our acquaintances and more casual relationships - where we get to awkwardly practice loving people who are very different from us.
I do tend to expect way too much (and too soon) from relationships. Not everyone has to be an immediate best friend, and relationships can shift their levels of importance over time. Seeing relationships in this light tempers things a lot and takes some serious emotional baggage off of me (and my friends).
This cleanse really helps that process. Join me for 15 minutes a day to work off the emotional weight that’s built up this winter:
Day 1: Evaluating your Values
What are my top 5 relationship values? In my closest relationships, am I exhibiting these? Where can I get better?
Day 2: Assessing your Friendships
List your friends and answer the following questions about each relationship: Is this a healthy relationship? Does it have the potential to hold most of the values that I see as important? What (if anything) is keeping us from growing closer?
Day 3: Appreciate, apologize and/or accept
Integrate your findings from Day 1 & 2. Apologize to those that you may have pushed away when it got awkward. Accept that some relationships are not going to grow stronger, and acknowledge the beautiful relationships that are currently growing.
Day 4: Go have a friend date with yourself!
I often expect so much from others before first figuring out how to be a friend to myself. Remember that playing and having fun are important features of any relationship. Go out and do something you enjoy: take yourself to a movie, go for a hike or start an art class. Chances are, if you’re having fun with yourself you are going to have more fun with others.
Day 5: Maintenance
How are you going to check in with yourself and your relationships? How will you handle jealousy or blame in your relationships? Can you find time to journal at least once a week and take yourself on a date once a month?
In three months this may change. Make sure to have the flexibility and grace with yourself and your friendships when changes arise.