COMMUNITY

Posted by on Jan 31, 2019

Who do you consider your community, your tribe?  Who are the people you choose to surround yourself with?

 

People who are part of your group by circumstance + proximity… co-workers, teachers, family AND people you  spend your free time with… friends, significant others, workout buddies, etc.

 

Take a moment to list them out on paper.

 

Medical science demonstrates how critically important social interactions are to our healthy + longevity.  But, it’s not JUST having people around you, is it?  It’s also the QUALITY of the interactions you have with them.

 

Do you welcome new friendships in?  Or is your roster full with friendships from kindergarten that might have run their course?

 

Why do so many of us stay in friendships and relationships that we outgrow?

 

I think there is an implicit belief buried deep in our culture that states we are “failures” at friendship + love if we don’t keep in contact, if we don’t give away our time + energy simply because we’ve known people for a long time.

 

Look at the list of friends you wrote above.  Can you show up with these friends?  Allow all aspects of yourself to be seen?  Do you feel energized after spending time with them?  When they do well or excel at something, are you happy for them?  Do they support your success as well?  Can you hold space around them as they shift and change?  Are they able to flow with togetherness time and lots of space in between without getting their feelings hurt?

 

These are just a few questions to ask yourself as you move through growth and change in your life.  There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, it’s simply a fact finding mission that is beneficial to repeat every few months.  We can hold varying degrees of relationship in our lives… people who we connect with on one level, might fill our need to be supported no matter what, another level might simply be someone to laugh with, yet another level to stimulate our intellect or creativity.  Not everyone is going to check ALL the boxes.

 

However, if we aren’t actively participating in the cultivation of our social sphere, we can fill up with relationships that are old patterns repeating over + over.  When our lives are filled with outgrown relationships, there is no room for new energy to come in, for TRIBE that is aligned with the you who is emerging.  This is true for anything in life.  If we are filled to the brim, nothing else can show up.

 

How do we know when to LET GO + HOW do we do it?  Navigating relationships of any kind can be super tricky.  Many of us weren’t taught how to have these sort of conversations and when it comes to relationship, we can come up against fears about being abandoned, smothered, not seen, understood, etc.

 

Do not simply CUT + RUN.

 

Unless the relationship is abusive, this action will leave you with some sticky stuff to deal with down the road or will pull the EXACT same relationship pattern back in in the form of another person until you learn how to do this in a mindful way.

 

A few navigation tips below…

 

Indicators that it might be time to shift or let go of a relationship:

  • friends getting angry or upset if you haven’t shared every detail of your life with them
  • feeling drained every time you are in contact
  • noticing yourself feeling resentful or getting together out of obligation
  • a repeated nagging feeling that the person is not able to hold it when things go well for you
  • having outgrown the thread that holds you together – shared unhealthy habit (ie, drinking, eating sugar, partying, drugs, complaining, etc.)

 

What to try before you completely step out of a relationship:

  • create some space for yourself to get clear on what your patterns + habits are (when you would normally reach out, pause)
  • journal about what being a friend means to you.  what are your expectations?
  • if you feel depleted after hanging out, give it a good amount of tries (they could be going through shift or you could or simply having a bad month or 2)
  • create space for you in your calendar.  Book dates with yourself – an hour to read, going to dinner, spending time in nature etc. – and hold these times sacred so you can develop your relationship with yourself

 

If after all this, you are ready to step away, do so as gracefully as possible:

  • start extending the length of time in between calls/ friend dates
  • instead of immediately saying yes out of obligation, practice making a date in the future (ex: I am busy this month, but let’s put something on the calendar for next month)
  • remember you are an adult + do not have to explain why you are not available
  • be kind
  • remember that we are all learning + growing at different rates and just because you’ve outgrown something you once shared does not mean you are ahead or better than, you have simply grown apart.
  • notice when you are making up a story of them being in the wrong simply because it’s hard to admit that you’ve outgrown each other.

 

As you clear space, a great practice is to list out what friendships you are wanting to bring into your life… ones that support on certain levels, specific types of collaboration, opportunities to show up fully as your messy self.  Check in with you + remember it might be different than you’ve ever desired before.  This is what the process of life brings… continual opportunities to refine and expand our spheres, to access new parts of ourselves + show up fully.

Good luck my friend!