Friendship is something we all desire and yearn to have in our lives. Movies like Beaches, Set It Off, Waiting to Exhale and Girls Trip (just to name a few) leave us wondering if true friendships like this really exist.
Before we can attract the right friends, we must first define what true friendship looks like for us. For too long we allowed others to tell us what it means to be a “good friend,” but only you can decide what friendship looks like for you.
Many of us have come to grips with the possibility of not having a lot of friends, but at least one or two genuine connections is all we ask for right?
I sometimes marvel at women like Oprah and Gayle, Ciara and Vanessa Bryant, Beyonce’ and Kelly Rowland and my favorite, Taraji P. Henson and her bestfriend, Tracie.
Like really? I found myself being a little jealous at one point (don’t judge me) because all I’ve ever wanted so badly was to have my own group of friends and we do life together, FOREVER!
Seriously, out of all the questions I could ask Oprah or Taraji, if I was ever given the opportunity my question would be, “What is your secret to authentic sisterhood?” Like REAL TALK!
Even looking at Ciara and Vanessa Bryant, I’m like wow! This is so beautiful. I remember having a friend who experienced loss in her life and I honestly didn’t know what to do. So with my overly spiritual self at the time, I just prayed for her instead of showing up and simply “being there.”
How often do our “friends” go through things and we struggle with what to say, or how to cheer them up, when all that would matter most is for us to just be there for them? I’ve been there and that was a huge OUCH!
In my opinion, the word “friend” is one of the most overused words in the world today along with the word “love.” Sometimes I am convinced that folks have no clue what either of these words mean.
I’ve had to accept a hard truth about myself, and that included I was not always a great friend to others because I didn’t know how to first be a great friend to myself. I would exhaust my relationships because I expected people to give me all of the love I missed as a child and when they didn’t, I interpreted it as rejection and I’d either pull away or push them away.
Going to therapy was one of the best decisions I could have ever made in my life because I have learned so much about ME! A lot of things I used to blame other people for I now take responsibility for what happened and commit to healing from it.
Today on The Carla Cannon Show I talked about the importance of fostering healthy relationships. One major key I pointed out was that we must first establish a solid connection/relationship with Christ, ourselves and then others.
Could it be that most often our friendships don’t last because we have been doing it all wrong? I can remember so many times when I’d connect with people expecting them to fill voids in my life that only God could fill. Another OUCH!
Then once I got the hang of making God my number one, I realized I had to make me number two. I know this may sound selfish but trust me hang in there and it will all make sense in a little while…
Putting God first to me, means establishing a healthy connection, allowing Him into my brokenness; giving Him access to every part of me; all that I am and all that I’m not and learning who He is and my identity through Him.
Next, I am then to apply that wisdom and fall in love with myself; the person Christ created me to be. Self-discovery is a powerful experience if we will commit to giving ourselves the time, energy and focus we so often require and desire from others.
As I reflect back over these 36 years of my life, there was soooo much I got wrong in my friendships and relationships and that’s what I want to share with you today. Being on my personal healing journey has opened my eyes tremendously and have led to a much clearer perspective and expectation in my friendships.
To foster healthy relationships keep the following in mind…
- Never look for others to fix what is broken in you.- This is where your relationship with God comes in. Anyone that has the power to “fix” you can break you again whenever they feel like it. Unfortunately some folks will find the broken version of you to be more bearable than the healed and confident version of you.
- Heal from past wounds before building new connections– When you dive into one relationship or friendship after another without first assessing what went wrong in the previous ones, you will more than likely repeat the same patterns.
- Pace yourself when getting to know people.– Due to abandonment and rejection issues as a child I used to date whoever wanted to date me, and become friends with whoever wanted to be my friend. I didn’t value myself or know that I had something great to offer and that I should take my time in getting to know people. All I knew was that I wanted anyone or anything to get the pain to stop; even if only temporarily. Take your time when getting to know new people and don’t be suspicious, instead be open to new possibilities but also careful not to allow your compassion to override your discernment.
- Allow your relationships with others to flow out of your relationship with Christ.- Christ is our foundation and everything should flow out of our connection with Him. It’s Christ, ourselves and then others. We can’t give what we don’t have and too often we expect others to give to us what they don’t have to give to themselves.
- Pray about every connection.– God knows what you and I don’t know and He can see what we can’t see. It’s okay to be cautious of new people and pray about their intentions, motives and purpose in our lives. Boy would I have saved myself so much trouble if I had prayed about my connections before diving in and doing life with people. But hey, when you know better you do better. But on the flip side, also know that everyone is not out to get you and that you are worthy of authentic and healthy love and friendships!
Which one of these tips resonated with you the most?
Share in the comments and let me know!
Feel free to share any relationship/friendship advice you have as well because trust me, we are all in this thing together!
This was good. I too have expected so much from my friends. I have exhausted them. Now I know I need to go to God about things. I just want to be a better friend going forward. I dont want to be exhausting. I been afraid to be friends with other women because if being hurt by so many. Just hanging out with women causes anxiety for me.
Latisha, I completely understand. The first step to overcoming anything is awareness, then acknowledgement and finally taking action. I encourage you to continue to pursue healing on your journey and trust the Lord to send solid, reliable, and loving people into your life!