Contrary to the very authoritative title of this post, I do not consider myself a particularly good friend, at times. The topic is never far from my mind though, and I think it was when I approached the big 4-0 that I finally let go of my guilt and expectations around friendship. I had been holding onto so much angst about the role I had played in lost friendships, I was questioning myself about doing enough for the friends in my life now and I was a little disillusioned about the concept of friendship in general.
I have been a bad friend, I have been that person who takes a week to return a call and who cancels at the last minute. I have also been that person who would jump in the car at any hour of the night just to listen, or to stay up all night making meals for a friend in need. The friends I had in my teens are some of my nearest and dearest now, we may not see each other for many months yet the moment we arrive at our regular weekends away our kindred connections are always the same. The joy that these friendships bring to my life is immeasurable.
Since connecting with so many like minded souls online through my blogging, I have been drawn to the organic and deeply spiritual friendships of women such as Tara Bliss, Rachel Macdonald and Melissa Ambrosini .. especially through their collective and public grieving at the loss of their soul sister Jess Ainscough recently. If you have a read of these two tributes shared by Tara and Melissa, you will get a sense of what friendship means to me.
It is the ability to sit with each other in the darkest moments, as well as truly celebrate during the good times. In the past I struggled with the real depths of friendship, my 20’s were spent caring for my Mother and completely shutting myself off from any depths at all. The damage that I did to any friendships during that time was immense and somewhat out of my control. I was 28 when my Mother died and it was only then that I finally asked for help and started to venture into acknowledging my post traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, harmful addictions and self loathing.
As I slowly began to embrace the healing process into my 30’s, discovered the importance of self love and embraced self development, friendships dropped away as I became a little too honest and real at times. I honestly believe though that losing anything in life is a part of what it means to love, and to accept that letting go is OK at times, and often necessary.
It has been more than half of my life now affected by trauma and the scars that have manifested as mental illness. I have few regrets, I know that I was only doing the best that I could possibly do in any given moment. This acceptance has taken time, and it has been a huge part of my outlook on friendship. It really is only when we accept ourselves wholeheartedly that we can attract or deeply connect with our lifelong kindred spirits, those souls who are truly meant to share the intimate details of our lives and our hearts.
Friendship to me is about paying attention, devoting time and unconditional love to a small number of people who truly deserve you. It is not about how many “friends” you have on Facebook, or how many events you are invited to. It is so much more than these things. It is intimate and real and precious. It lights you up and it also gives you the most incredible sense of being home, being loved and never being alone.
I would love to hear if you share any of my thoughts on friendship?