“People always come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.”
While I was in training to become a Beautiful You life coach I was gifted a wonderful coaching buddy to practice with and on. This involved us going through a full coaching series as both a coach and a client. We each set one powerful goal to work through together. My goal was to “Find my tribe and form meaningful connections“. As we worked through the series together I learnt many lessons that I feel to share now.
Why is finding my tribe important to me?
As I mentioned in a previous blog post “Overcoming Self-Doubt” it is really important that I surround myself with the right people. When I question my abilities or choices it helps to have a group of people I feel connected to who will cheer me on or challenge me depending on what I need in that moment.
As my family would say, I am an “over thinker from way back”. I’ve always felt there was something a bit odd about my desire to understand myself, my place in this world and the meaning of my life. Over the years I have (often secretly) dabbled in aspects of an alternate life using crystals and acupuncture in an effort to have a baby, Feng Shui and smudging to clear bad energy in my house and reading countless books on different approaches to life in my never-ending search to find something that resonates. A couple of months into this new phase of my life I already felt less “odd” and more connected to my authentic core. I realise there are so many amazing, interesting people in the world who are in no way odd but have similar views and interests to me. They are my tribe, they are out there and they are searching for me too.
Leaving my job opened up space for my new tribe. For the previous 14 years I worked for a company with a few thousand employees. Since I started working full time 23 years ago, I have never worked for a company with less than 1,000 employees and have been surrounded by people all day. Now I find myself working from home with just me, myself and I. What an exciting opportunity.
Understanding my starting point
The first step in understanding where I want to be is to acknowledge where I am starting from. So I spent time reflecting on where I am and the connections I already had in my life. This exercise was very affirming as I realised I already have so much. I have truly supportive friends who don’t in any way think I’m “odd” (or if they do then they never make me feel it). I have also made some wonderful new connections that are already enriching my life in so many ways.
Being an “over-thinker from way back” I of course, started to think about myself as a friend and some of the lessons I have learnt over the past few years. This feels like an important part of understanding my starting point.
I had a particularly challenging period of my life when I was trying to have a baby. As with all challenging experiences there are also great learnings if you choose to see them. Relationships were one of the areas of my life impacted during this period. On reflection I learnt some very important lessons over that time.
Everybody has their own challenges to face
There were many times during that period I felt a lack of support. My reaction at the time was to withdraw from these friendships sometimes completely. With hindsight (isn’t it a wonderful thing) I realise I didn’t take the time to consider if there was a reason for the lack of support. Perhaps my expectations were too high, perhaps that person had their own challenges and didn’t have the energy to deal with my problems or perhaps I hadn’t been clear about the support that would have helped me. For a person who prides myself on my empathy it was often lacking at that time.
High expectations of friendships can be unfair
If we are being true to ourselves there needs to be some level of expectation within friendships. However, if that level of expectation is too high we are being unfair to our friends and putting the friendship at risk. This happened to me during my “trying to have a baby phase”. After years of procedures, IVF, miscarriages and set backs I was pretty over the situation myself but still expected my friends to be endlessly understanding and supportive.
Every friendship is not made equal
I have a tendency to try and make every new friend a “soul-sister”. Somebody to meet every one of my needs all the time. I now recognise that a healthy friendship group is made up of lots of different types of friendships. There is the friend you go out and have fun with, the friend you can cry with, the friend you talk crap with, the friend you get all deep and meaningful with, the friend you can travel with and so on. Sometimes you will get several of these wrapped into one friendship (and I’m fortunate I do) but it is unfair to expect every person to be every one of those things for you.
Friends for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime
“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.
Friends for a Reason
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Friends for a Season
Some people come into your life for a SEASON because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
Friends for a Lifetime
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant”
I get quite emotional when I read this poem. It so perfectly sums up the biggest secret I know about relationships. When I let go of trying to make every person a lifetime friend I am free to appreciate them for what they bring to my life for the time they are meant to be in it.
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