Just a few of my favorite shots from Instagram from a year filled with constant change. Looking forward to another crazy year in 2014!
And can you believe these little guys were only THIS big… or should I say tiny about a year ago!
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time, but something always seemed to be keeping me from sitting down and actually putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. This morning something just clicked and I knew it was time. The title of this post is “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”. By simply reading the title of the post you may think I’m talking about ending a romantic relationship, but I am in fact not, I’m talking about ending a friendship. Throughout life we meet many people. Some of those people become integrated into our lives in a very special way. They are the people that we call when we want to share a story of love, happiness or excitement. They are also the people we lean on when times are hard and we need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to give us words of encouragement. Sometimes they are simply the people that we like to meet up with to head out on the town for dinner and drinks, or meet up with for a yoga class or a run. Friendships vary greatly and they provide us, as social creatures, with wonder and support.
But what happens when a relationship turns sour? What happens when a friend in your life is demanding too much? Or when a friend’s values don’t seem to align with yours anymore? Or what do you do when life presents you challenges that make it difficult for you to dedicate the time you know you owe to a friendship and the other person in the friendship can’t seem to understand why your life doesn’t fit the exact same way it used to into their life? Do you break up? Or do you fight to keep the friendship alive?
All of these scenarios have happened to me at one point in my life and they have all been extroidinarily difficult. Those of you that know me can attest to the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve. That I am, almost to a fault, a people-pleaser and that I shy away from discord with a vengeance. There is nothing I hate more than conflict. Nothing. Sadly that doesn’t mean I haven’t had fights with friends and it doesn’t mean that the outcome of each of those fights have been stronger, closer friendships. I have seen a fair amount of friendly acquaintances slowly drift away. I have lived through the heart-wrenching sadness of losing close friends and I have also fought tooth and nail to hold onto friendships that have been in some seriously rocky places. Each of these scenarios were hard. They have almost all brought buckets of tears and those horrible gnawing moments of self-doubt. I do believe that each situation has taught me something about life and about myself.
Because of my history I have become fascinated when the subject of difficult friendships is addressed by other writers. In the past few months I’ve come across three very well written articles about the tough concepts of ending a friendship, and when to know to fight to keep a friendship alive. I have gone back and revisited each of these articles a number of times and every time I take away a new or renewed perspective on the matter.
The first article is written by Sara Avant Stover. Sara is a yogini, inspirational speaker, teacher, mentor, and author of the best-selling book The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life. (Erin’s Note: this is an amazing book folks! I devoured my copy as soon as Amazon Prime shipped it out to me and I’ve continued to reference it time and time again! So click on the title for a link to purchase your own copy. Trust me you’ll be happy you did.) If you want to know more about Sara click here. Sara writes about what seems to be the ever present competition between women and how we can empower ourselves to break that cycle and grow deeper friendships.
The second series of articles are presented in a GOOP newsletter. I know that there are both huge Gwyneth fans and haters out there. I happen to be a fan both of her work and specifically her lifestyle website GOOP. Whether we envy or despise all the fame and fortune that has been bestowed (or earned) upon her, she has been fortunate enough to have a life that brings her into contact with some amazing people. In the issue entitled “Friendship Divorce“, she gathers four writers to discuss the issue of difficult friendships. Those writers are Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, Dr. Karen Binder-Byrnes, Cynthia Bourgeault and Michael Berg. Some of these perspectives, more so than others, really resonated with me. I’ll let you decide which writings speak to you most.
The last article is written by Alex Williams and was featured in the Fashion and Style section of the New York Times in January of this year and covers the subject of how one can gracefully end a friendship.
Please know that I am fully aware that I am the last person that should be preaching about how to be a perfect friend or how to handle a tough friendship, but hopefully I am the person that can bring you a few perspectives on the subject that will hopefully give you guidance or help you through a tough situation that you might be having with a friend.
As cheesy as this may sound I would like to dedicate this post to all the women in my life that have helped me through the tough times… and there have been a lot. To those women that have loved me in my good times and in my worst of times. I would especially like to thank one friend in particular that has challenged me a number of times to come out of my anti-conflict comfort zone. She has pushed me to talk about difficult subjects and to show me that even though a friendship can go through really rough patches if you both commit to really hearing one another and not being afraid to say your sorry that an even stronger friendship can emerge. Thank you.
Etsy Shop PopHeartPress: Long Distance Love Art Print
I don’t know how some of my friends do it… the whole long distance love that is. I’ve been lucky enough to never have spent more than a few days apart from my husband since the day we fell in love (which happened to be on our first date). Of course we have our own lives full of friends, work, sports, hobbies, etc. etc. etc. And yes there have been the occasional guy or gals weekend or the extended work trip but for the most part we’ve been blissfully together the rest of the time. This week is first time that we will be spending a whole week apart, and not only apart but really really far apart. He is off in London and the surrounding areas and I will be on this side of the pond… sad face…
By no means is this a woe is me speech. I know I’ve had it great. This is more of high five to those people in my life that have spent months and even years separated from their truest loves. For any of you out there that may not be sure if they can bear the pain of being apart anymore or for those folks that aren’t sure if long distance relationships can really work, I’m here to tell you “Yes you can!”. I now have three friends that have braved more than two years of the long distance haul and they are now either married or engaged. It can work people, all you have to do is have trust and patience. As for me I plan to spend my extra time working, likely watching way too much TV and snuggling with the other man in my life… Charlie the Cat!
BTW… how cute is this print from PopHeartPress.