Gathering Your Posse
Anxiety is so high right now. Over and over I hear stories of feeling not good enough, stories of shame and uncertainty. This is also a time of unusual, physical isolation, often emotional-social isolation. Time to intentionally gather your posse around you. Friends are essential to mental health.
I encourage you to be picky about your posse.
Call up a therapist, a spiritual director and other professionals to be on your team. And then connect with the kind of friends who are worthy of your story and vulnerability.
First a word on who not to call on. Perhaps this can also be a weeding out time. Brené Brown explains that there are 6 kinds of people to steer clear of:
One who feels shame for you
One who responds with sympathy rather than empathy
One who is disappointed in your imperfections
One who is uncomfortable with your vulnerability
One who refuses to acknowledge your state of emotional feel
One who confuses your connections to opportunities to one up, talk about themselves
Moment of self-reflection: When have you displayed behavior that would put you in the "steer clear" category? What disrupted that pattern? When have you had a friend in those categories? What was going on in or around you that you settled for a subpar, unhealthy relationship? What disrupted this
Back to what kinds of friends deserve to be in your posse... Look for people who will love you because of your imperfection, not despite it. Friends can appear for a reason, a season, or for a lifetime. I believe we need four kinds of friends, and they can fall in to those earlier three categories. Everyone needs and deserves:
someone to talk to (a confidante),
someone to depend on,
someone who inspires you, and
someone to simply have fun with.
Of those four kinds of friends within your posse, don't ever settle for the kind of people Brené warns us about above.
Moment of self-reflection: What kind of friend are you missing in your posse? Get curious about that. What's that about, do you think? What kind of friend are you most called on to be? Does this feel true to your nature or a burden?
Assignment: Send a postcard of appreciation to your friends. For instance, does your depend upon friend know you are grateful you can depend on them?
What happens if you don't have friends? Many of us have colleagues we like or acquaintances that are sort of, but not quite friends. Some of us move away or our friends move away and someday we wake up and wonder where our posse went. What do we do then?! As adults some of us may have forgotten how to make friends. Soul Pancake made a quirky but poignant video on How to Make a Friend in Four Simple Steps. Friendships aren't found, they're formed.