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THE VALUE OF FRIENDSHIP

My husband has a saying.

“You put the feelings in a jar…you push them way way down…& then you close the lid”….

For me, this past year not only popped off the lid. It kind of shattered the whole jar.

One of the hardest years of my life and probably one of the best in teaching me how to live.

I felt a tremendous sense of loss this year. From losing a dear friend, business relationships, money, trust, beliefs, and faith: this year suitably kicked my ass on all fronts.

But what I realize now is that every time I have felt lost, I ultimately ending up being found. Whether it was the discovery on how I function, behave or think, each loss gave me new perspective & priority on what is important in my life.

Friends & Family who always let me know they have my back
Friends & Family who always let me know they have my back

What I lost. 

Connection.

Grief hit deep and hard when one of my closest friends passed away this year. Her loss was cataclysmic and admittedly I lost my way. I retreated. I was deeply blue. I felt alone. I felt disappointed by a number of my friends. Friends who I had been there for, listened to, nursed, and supported through a number of trying times in their lives didn’t seem to be there when I needed them the most.

Here’s the kicker. 

I forgot to tell them.

And they forgot to ask.

With the advance of social media, we assume we know what is going on in each others lives because of the 1% of our lives we have posted that day. It has become the norm that a “like”, a <hugs>, a <3 means that as a friend you are thinking of someone. When people see you smiling, travelling, experiencing life on social, they automatically assume you are OK.

Not so my friends. So not so.

I hadn’t wanted to burden them with my stuff, and yet they were going through a ton of stuff on their own that they too didn’t want to burden anybody with. Damn you Facebook.

By managing friendships through social, we have lost the ability to look into friend’s eyes and see what is really happening in their world. To sense their hesitation when you ask what’s up. To see the tears well up when you ask if they’re ok.

These peeps always make me smile
These peeps always make me smile

What I found. 

When I started actively reaching out, I found that I still have those friends. Those relationships are in the core of my heart. Those friendships are solid. They have carried me over the hardest hills and helped me land on the other side.

The biggest priority for me now is to renew friendships in person and value the relationships I have cultivated. To make plans (& stick to those plans) to spend quality time in person. To show them my love & my gratitude. To take the time to let writers/friends know their words affected me. To share impact moments. To show appreciation, practice kindness, and spread joy.

Seeing, listening & being with each other in real life. Laughing, crying, hugging and supporting each other through ALL our times.

IMG_0202
Laughter & friendship are my best medicine

That connection point for me is the most essential to renew in my life and I simply can’t wait to catch up.

Heart made of fire, heart in flames, the fire in the shape of heart

 

 

 

 

Tags : Facebook damages IRL friendshipsHow to ask your friends for helpImportance of maintain friendsrenewing friendshipsocial media effect on friendshipSurviving lossValue of friendship
Jenn & Chris

The author Jenn & Chris

Jenn & Chris are #TeamPowell Two adventurous souls who love the off-the-beaten path part of life. Mom & Dad to two kooky kids, they focus on living life without regret, living in kindness and living in the now.

10 Comments

  1. Jen, I so get you on this. Since my mom was given less than 6months to live in April, we moved my whole family 3 hours north of the city, and ultimately moved here, to be near her for her final months, and then be by my dad afterwards. I’m so grateful that I did and was here for her and myself and my boys. Also being here is healing and quiet BUT I’ve totally retreated. In the months that she was dying I didn’t call any of my friends and when they did reach out a bit, I didn’t say much or ignored the messages. They also stopped asking to try to give me space but I probably needed my space invaded. Instead, I kept everything in, and now it’s been months since she’s died and I rarely talk to them or about it. I also haven’t asked for help or for a conversation as much as I should have. It’s true we assume that all is well, or now that phone calls are scheduled, I think we’re in danger of losing the art of a call to say hi. I know I can do better at reaching out, asking, and I think I’ll remember that in the future when someone is going through something to make a connection and not assume all is okay or they actually want space. Maybe they don’t know what to say. xo Hugs to you and thanks for this post!

    1. It’s hard to start that conversation up again Sara but I did find so much that with my true friends, it was simply a “Why didn’t you tell me?”…sometimes taking that step to sharing heals your heart in a big big way.

  2. Oh, my heart. You hit the nail on the head; we retreat when we’re in trouble and don’t ask for help and we may reach out when we think someone is in trouble but it often is not enough. You have taught me so much about friendship, about living with my heart more on my sleeve, and about deep commitment.

    I can’t wait to see you next week and get one of those Jenn-hugs in person. And I know J is so looking forward to giving that husband of yours a big, wet, sloppy one in Feb! Much love!

  3. I’m so sorry Jenn. This is really well said. It’s a good reminder to me to still meet with my friends in person too. I spend so much of my time immersed in the social media business that it’s challenging to find that time but it is also crucial. Honestly you always look like you’ve got it all together to me. You always look in charge of everything and your emotions too and so I assume if ever I see you that things are going well. are not enough. That’s true. I still think about Tracy even though I honestly never met her so I can only begin to imagine how devastating this loss to everyone in her life. Grief is so hard and this loss is impossible to understand even for me as an outsider and a Mom who thinks it incredibly heartbreaking for her family. I think sometimes strong people do stuff a lot of feelings down into that jar and they have some good coping strategies so people don’t know how hard it is. I hope to see you some day soon and give you an in person real hug. Hoping this year is kinder to you.

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