I can no longer deny the fact that my precious baby boys aren’t babies any more.
Here is some of the irrefutable evidence that made me accept reality:
- They are in middle school.
- They are obsessed with Instagram.
- They are taller than some of my friends.
Just when I think I have this the “mother of twins” things down, I am now the mother of tweens.
The middle school years are fraught with changes–changing classrooms for each subject, changing clothes for gym, changing bodies (thanks to puberty) and changing friendships. In the next few years my kids will become more and more invested in their relationships outside the home.
Study after study has shown that the quality
of our friendships is one of the strongest factors contributing to our overall mood, ambition, growth and satisfaction with life. When was the last time you thought about the quality your friendships?
I have always been blessed to have lots of social friends but it is only in the last several years that I have focused on changing the quality of my friendships. If I wanted relationships that were deeper and more fulfilling, I needed to look at myself: what do I need from a friendship and what am I willing to give?
I realized that even though I am in the business of personal growth, a growth mindset doesn’t protect me from growing pains. I, too, feel the resistance to growth. Sometimes it is just tension in my body, sometimes I hear myself saying, “I’m not ready.” I found that I needed a different type of friendship to foster my growth.
I started by participating in coaching group to be with women who were also on the quest for growth and fulfillment. I became more authentically myself (flaws and all) in all my relationships rather than acting like everything was fine all the time. I also became very conscious of how I felt during and after spending time with friends. Was I feeling energetic or drained after the interaction?
Now I have an inner circle of relationships who
- I can trust enough to be vulnerable.
- Share my joy and my struggles
- Give as much as they receive
- Know the vision that I have for my life and encourage me to pursue my goals
Are you feeling fulfilled by your friendships? If you want to deepen your relationships, start by asking yourself what you are giving. You can be the catalyst that improves the quality of your relationships by being authentic, by asking for help when you need it and genuinely offering help to others. Of course, there will be people in your life who aren’t adding to your quality of life. I am not suggesting that you dump these friends, but it really is okay to choose spend less time with them.
Each of your relationships serve different purposes but your closest friendships should share one commonality: they make you a better person because of your connections with them. These relationships allow you to thrive because of their mutual love, support, honesty, and advice. The people in your inner circle should lift you up and inspire you to step into the best version of yourself.
So look around you. What friendships do you want to deepen? Who is in your inner circle? Be sure to let them know how important they are to you.