Trust Me?

A few months ago my daughter started a gymnastics class, and I have quickly become friends with a number of the other moms. At first we just chatted during class, but recently we’ve begun seeing each other outside of gymnastics. It started with having coffee every few weeks or so and most recently, we have joined an exercise class while the girls are in school. I like these women very much, and we seem to have a lot in common. Here’s the issue: In my 20’s, I got burned really bad by a group of friends, and I’m afraid to let myself get close to another group of women. It’s been 10 years, but it still hurts. Should I let my guard down?

Hi honey, I completely understand that kind of hurt and have experienced it myself more times than I care to remember. I can’t tell you whether or not to let your guard down, but I’d encourage you to trust your gut. Always.

Many years ago, I had a group of very close friends. We vacationed and spent weekends and holidays together for several years.

I started to get a weird vibe from one woman … that she didn’t like me. I confronted her about it, but she assured me it was all in my head. Shortly after our tight-knit group fell apart, one by one our other friends confessed to me that she’d told them things in an effort to skew their view of me. Although, the outcome would have remained the same, trusting my gut and removing myself from the situation sooner, could have spared me a lot of hurt.

Here’s the thing, sweetheart. You are 10 years older and probably a million years wiser than you were in the past. You can let people into your life without giving them the tools and permission to break your heart. Perhaps your old friendship didn’t have the right –or any– kind of boundaries? Many women aren’t bad/catty/gossipy/fake/jealous/malicious or whatever adjective applies to your former friends. And if you are putting  good vibes out into the world, you’re probably attracting kind, good, positive people into your own world.

So let your guard down? Mmmmmm, maybe a little. Trust yourself and your own instincts. Also, I’d love to hear more about that exercise class 😉

For encouragement, commiseration, or just to see what mischief my puppy’s getting into, visit me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I look forward to connecting!

Connection not Comparison

I love to entertain. I like hosting dinner parties, game nights, girls’ nights, taco nights you name it, really any excuse to have people gather at my house. We have a wonderful and ever-growing and evolving group of friends, but here’s the thing: Most of my friends have beautiful homes. Like magazine gorgeous homes. My house is small. My furniture is old-ish. I keep things tidy, but I’m not a clean freak. So, I often talk myself out of inviting friends over because I feel inadequate about my house. This is ridiculous; right? So why can’t I get over it?

Hi Honey, I get this and admire you (I am mostly a hermit.) Let me ask you a few things: What do you enjoy most about hosting get-togethers? Do you like hanging out and laughing with your friends? Sharing stories and wine? Do you like to nurture and care for people by feeding them?

Chances are if you love entertaining people, people love coming to your house. I imagine you radiate hospitality and warmth, and your guests probably couldn’t even describe what your old’ish furniture looks like because they come to your house for you: your heart, your love, your kind and welcoming spirit. Maybe the food too?

Lots of my friends have beautiful homes as well, but what sticks out when I visit them is not the size or decor but the energy. It sounds like your home has good energy. I rid myself of people who came to my house with white gloves on, and it sounds like you have too, so don’t get caught in the comparison trap.

I don’t love to host or attend big parties. They drain me. I’m a one-on-one type of person. However, after failed attempts at being part of organized religious groups, hanging out with friends, eating, drinking, talking, laughing has become “church” for me.

So host away! More girls’ nights, taco nights and dinner parties. Play games and share stories and have communion with your friends. Enjoy your parties and don’t give a second thought to whose house is bigger or better because yours is happy and filled with love and so are you.

xoxo

 

Sometimes People are Assholes

I think that we probably have a lot in common. I’m always trying to improve myself, to the point of sometimes missing out on the happiness already in my life. Do you do that? Anyway, I’m always on a quest to be a better person, but there is one area where I really struggle: I want to expose people who are fakes. It enrages me when people think someone is such a great person, and I have personal knowledge that they are, in fact, a jerk! I don’t know why I feel this way or how to stop it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Hi honey, it does sound as if we have a lot in common–including beating ourselves up for not being perfect 😉 I do know exactly what you mean and have struggled with this as well. For years, I thought it was my super-power to see the best in people and encourage them to be their highest selves.

Newsflash, that’s not my super-power.

Over the years, I’ve realized that sometimes my idea of someone’s potential doesn’t line up with theirs. Shocking, I know. That’s okay. I mean, I spent way too many years trying to live up to others’ expectations of me. I don’t want to put that pressure onto other people.

No one is perfect. The best we can hope for is to do our best. To do, as Glennon Doyle advises, “the next right thing, one thing at a time.” People’s character will be exposed…it’s not our job to put anyone on blast. Trust me, there are many times I’ve not done the right thing, and I fear there might be a time in the future where I will not do the right thing. I can only hope that my transgressions will be met with compassion and forgiveness. So, I will try to pay it forward.

And finally…I hate to say it, but sometimes people are just assholes. Sometimes they aren’t but for whatever reason, we don’t click. And occasionally, gulp, they think WE are the asshole. Right? I know. But it happens. And when that is the case, it’s not our job to fix or expose them, to change, convince or befriend them. We can simply to wish them well and move on.

Isn’t that liberating? I hope so. Keep on keeping on, my friend. We are all works in progress.

xoxo

Moms, Friends, and Mom Friends

In order for my husband to take a great job opportunity, we moved our little family to a new community at the beginning of the school year. We feel it’s an idyllic place to raise a family, but unfortunately it’s about 100 miles away from our former home. We have two school-aged children and a toddler. My school-aged children have adapted well and are doing great in school. My husband is so happy at his new job. I should be overjoyed because all I’ve ever wanted is to be a stay-at-home mom–which I am now–but I’m feeling kind of lonely and isolated as I don’t have any friends here. I had friends in our old community, but most of them were friends I’d grown up with and people I worked with. How do you make “mom” friends and can they become “real” friends?

Hi honey! Congratulations, it sounds as if you have lots of fun and exciting things going on in your life. However, it also sounds as if you’re in the middle of a lot of transitions physically as well as emotionally. Full disclosure: I went through a bit of an identity crisis when I became a stay-at-home mom, even though it was something I’d always wanted. And being a stay-at-home mom of a toddler can be lonely and isolating as they demand so much attention and depending on his/her age, sometimes they aren’t particularly portable.

The good thing about having school-aged children as well is that you’ve got an “in” to meet other moms. Are your kids involved in sports? Some of my best friends now are other moms I met sitting next to night after night at the baseball field and/or in gymnastics classes.

It is intimidating to enter any new situation. It can feel like everyone already has established groups of friends, and there’s no place for you. But I promise you, that’s probably self-doubt working overtime. Unless you are not a nice person–and you sound like a very nice person–people will want to be friends with you.

What about your kids? You probably gave them a similar kind of pep talk when they changed schools, right? Have they made friends? Do they want to have play dates? Again, some of my very best friends are my kids’ friends’ moms.

I’m an introvert too, and here’s what I’ve found: It’s easier one-on-one. If you can find one person who is open and friendly and established in your new community, try to strike up a conversation. Find common ground. Most people love to talk about themselves. Most people love to talk about their children even more.

Having one good friend to talk to will help alleviate some of the loneliness and isolation you feel. Let me know how it goes!!

xoxo

 

You’re Already Amazing

This sounds so petty that I feel awful even writing it…but I’m jealous of my friends. It seems like they are all in great relationships, with exciting careers, moving forward with these amazing lives, and I am stuck. No man. A boring job. Blah. I love my friends so much and don’t want to feel like this.

 

Oh honey…I am sorry you’re feeling blah, and I promise you I feel your pain. It can be difficult to see others–even people we love–realizing dreams when life seems to be in a holding pattern for us. It’s hard not to compare ourselves with others or feel envious of their achievements if we feel like life keeps handing us lemons.

I promise you we have all been in this situation–even your fabulous friends with their great relationships and careers and lives. One of my favorite quotes is by Stephen Furtick:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Goodness, isn’t that the truth? I wish I looked half as my own picture right now (thanks, Amy). The truth is, I’m in yoga pants, with my dirty hair in a bun, drinking a cup of coffee I’ve warmed up 3 times (update the dog just drank it) and smelling cat pee somewhere near–or on–me.

Sometimes, I think we view life as having a limited number of opportunities … as if someone else’s success makes our own less possible. Your friend didn’t snag the last good man or great job, love. The universe is a place of abundant opportunity. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling bad, but if you aren’t happy with where you are, by all means realize that you have the power to change your circumstances.

And honestly, honey, I’m guessing if you are surrounded by such fantastic people, you are probably far more amazing than you can even imagine.

xoxo

Wanna chat? Great!

K I N D N E S S

My 14-year-old is getting mean-girled. Some friends recently decided they don’t want to hang out with her anymore and so have been leaving her out of activities and basically shunning her. Additionally, she’s subjected to the constant barrage of social media exclusion–We’re all hanging out and having so much fun without you. She didn’t do anything to provoke this behavior–that we know of. I feel so bad and want to help her. Any suggestions?

Hi honey, I’m so sorry. Mean girl shit is the absolute worst. I feel like I write more about this than any other subject. And I wish all of my thinking and reading and writing and ruminating had elicited some illuminating insight, but the fact is: It sucks. We can’t fix it for our kids. We can learn to accept things and people at face value and seek to bring positive energy to each interaction, but being mean-girl’ed hurts.

I see this meme all the time, and I agree wholeheartedly, but I think it’s even more important to be kind and raise kind people. I encourage my kids–and myself–to remember that others’ actions are never about us. Our perception is that it’s personal, but it never is. When someone’s behavior seems to be meanness directed at us, it’s coming from a different place. A place that has nothing to do with us.

Try empathy. Imagine that you’ve been in a position where you didn’t act as the best version of yourself. I’m certain most of us would admit having been in situations where we could have been kinder.  

I try to remind my girls to remove the personal aspect of things in dealing with mean girl bullshit. People might leave you out. “Friends” might gossip about you. That hurts, and it sucks, and it’s awful, but it’s temporary. Your actions define YOU, and other people’s actions define them. Don’t leave others out. When people do and say mean things, it’s because they’re suffering with something internally that we may not know or understand. Shake it off and move on. It’s not yours to carry.

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m sorry your daughter is dealing with this. It’s shitty. I encourage you, sweet friend, to hold your precious girl close and remind her that this won’t last. We have all been there. She is NOT alone. Don’t take these unkind actions personally no matter how personal it seems.

Be kind. To yourself. To others. You’ll never regret that.

 
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