I had a coffee date yesterday with a friend I haven't seen in months, due to our mutually busy schedules, but in two hours of non-stop chatting, we managed to encourage each other in a way that stirred us both and gave us a boost to continue on as wives and mothers. Friendship has a unique power of identification. Through our conversation, we saw ourselves in each other and that idea of your soul looking in a mirror and finding a similar image was deeply moving to me.
I began thinking of the people in my life who do this for me, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I'm reminded of the old saying, "If you want to have a friend, you must be a friend." It's very true. I've been trying to teach this to my kids, but I'm aware of how important it is to put it into practice.
We've all had friends who drain us, taking our energy and happiness with them, and leaving us with nothing in return. That is not true friendship. Real friends give, without expecting anything, but receiving back what they gave and then some, because the other person is giving back to you. It's like a miracle of energy exchanging between two people, and I want to surround myself with these people, and encourage my kids to find those friends and pour into them, for they will give far more than they take.
The best friendships are the ones where both parties have a similar level of emotional health. This loose rule is true for marriage as well. It should be like a teeter-totter where you are both standing and the seat under you is somewhat stable. If one person rises in the air, through personal growth or other improvements in their life, and their partner stays mired in their own habits and frustrations, over a long period of time that friendship or marriage takes a real beating. It's so satisfying when both people are at similar health levels because the see-saw is working the way it was designed to: a slow and steady up and down with equal weight, not one person flailing in the air while the other sits on the ground with their arms crossed, refusing to budge.
Sometimes hard decisions have to be made in these friendships that aren't beneficial. It's never easy to hurt someone and pull away, but spending time with people who give so much to us is infinitely preferable to those who take away from us. I was inspired yesterday to be the best friend I can possibly be to those I care deeply about. I want to give as I've been given. I want to have my soul restored as I encourage my friends and give my best to them. I want to keep the teeter-totter moving, up and down, and not get it stuck in any one position.