Growing up, I watched my parents socialize, build and maintain friendships in different social circles. They have always been respected and loved regardless of who they are hanging out with and what the group demographic is. Till date, I think that they have such a wide social network of friends and family that they can count on. This is so important for me to know because we live so far away from each other. I know that even if I can’t physically be there for them in the next 24 hours, there are family and friends who will make more than certain that they are not alone. This is the type of circle of trust and love that my parents taught me to build – a circle that will truly stand by you and lift you up when you need it the most.
Having learned from the best, I feel like I too am blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing friendships that have stood the test of time and also relatively new friends that have shown me that they are here to stay (you can read about my tribe here and Charu’s suggestions on finding one here)! Although, your ask from a friendship changes over time, that need for love, laughter and support remains constant. No matter what happens and how much time has passed, I always know where I stand with my friends. And even though my circle of friends may have grown smaller as time has passed, the value of each relationship has grown exponentially. This is mostly because I have been lucky to have found my unicorn tribe of women who know to build each other up!
Why is this such a rare quality, though? I have found, on so many occasions that it is women who are giving other women a hard time and judging them – for the choices they make, or don’t make. From my personal experience, I have been disappointed to have people be judgmental about me being a stay at home mom, sometimes assuming that it must be so easy to pull off this gig. If you are a mom, you know that it doesn’t matter where you stand on that spectrum, it is not an easy gig by any means. You are raising little human beings and that is beyond incredible, regardless of what else you are doing.
The optimist in me would like to believe that if you are a positive individual, you tend to attract other like minded positive people. Although, this may be true for the most part, you also attract people who may not always be inclined the same way. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, after all. How else would you learn life’s hard lessons, how would you learn to distinguish the good from the bad and the highs from the lows! Drawing comparisons on the time it took for another friend to lose her baby weight or put another mom down for not being able to nurse as long is just not OK. Shouldn’t we leave the petty competitions behind in the high school playground? After being on the receiving end of frivolous and petty competitions for which I genuinely had no time or energy, I made the conscious decision to make the change in myself.
I realized that if there was any change that had to be made, it was with the one person who I could control, ME. The older I get, the lower my threshold for tolerating negativity and petty competitiveness gets. I feel that we let our insecurities overpower our inherent niceness and nurturing nature. The moment we stop comparing ourselves to each other, we will be able to rise above and appreciate each other for who we are. Strong women don’t compete; they empower each other – whether it is in the work place or in their own personal social circles. So, let us be the strong women who can lead by example and raise our sons and daughters to also build on each others strengths!
Being a mom to my boys and raising a happy and healthy family is my priority and I love learning from watching others do the same. I have found that as a strong individual, you don’t need to pull someone else down to climb up. If you do have a negative individual in your life, help them by highlighting their strengths instead of playing to their insecurities. If that still does not work, do yourself a favor and distance yourself from any individual who is not happy in your happiness. I have had to do this on a few different occasions and while it has been challenging, it has also been one of the most important lessons I have had to learn the hard way.
If there is one thing you take away from this, let it be to lift each other up! Sometimes we are so caught up in our own insecurities that it is hard for us to rise above and compliment someone else, but push yourself to do it. I remember being at a Target, one morning after a really rough night soon after my second was born. K was asleep on me as I was wearing him in the baby carrier and I was waiting to order my much needed cup of coffee. He was sleeping because he of course was the culprit of the aforementioned rough night. A random stranger waiting to pick up their coffee looked over at me and said that she loved how in love with my baby I looked as I kissed his forehead. In that moment, that one simple sentence just made me smile. She then said to me the one sentence that I know we have all heard a million times – “Cherish this, because they grow up too fast.” That one positive interaction with a stranger while I waited to pick up my coffee changed how I felt! Complimenting someone may not seem like a big deal to you when you say it, but to that person on the receiving it could mean a whole lot more!
My kids are such amazing followers of this and it doesn’t hurt that I am the lucky girl that gets to be on the receiving end of a majority of their generosity too! I’m telling ya, when A walks over to me, randomly, and says to me, “Mom, I love your smile.” or when K comes up to me and gives me a hug for no reason – it absolutely is all I need to wipe every last tantrum/meltdown out of my very short term memory!
Try it! Go out there, today and say something nice to your spouse, your kids or even a stranger – and wait for their smile to reach their eyes. Something’s in life are really just that simple.