My People

My PeopleThere are certain people in my life that I look up to for guidance on how to be a person and how to function in a world that is becoming more and more negative. For most of my life I have let negativity pull me, kicking and screaming, along for the ride. Instead of trying to rein in the anger, frustration, disappointment in the people around me, I have just joined them in their misery. Sometimes that’s helpful, sometimes you just need someone to agree with your assessment of the situation, other times you need someone to help bridge the divide between screaming and laughing.

While having lunch with a friend, I was telling them about how frustrated I was because I was constantly trying so hard to be positive, to be kind, and to not get caught up in the negativity that seemed to be swelling around me. The more I resisted, the more the negativity seemed to grow. This was the fourth time, at least, in the last few weeks that she has had to be there to pick me up on a bad day. She has a knack for doing that, for telling me exactly what I need to hear, exactly when I need to hear it. Without fail, she sympathized with my frustration, and picked me up in a way that very few can. She was my person that day, my person that turned things around for me, made an impact bigger than she could imagine, and set me back on my path. It’s that aspect of her personality that I love most, her undeniable and genuine respect for people and desire to build people up rather than tear them down. It’s inspiring.

When I read this week’s focus for the Kindness Challenge, I knew immediately who I would write about. It also, just so happened that I had lunch with her on a day that I was needing some inspiration for reflecting and getting my thoughts into a coherent post. Thinking of the person who inspires me to be kind was the easy part, determining the traits that I most admire in them and implementing them into my own day-to-day life is the more complicated challenge. Sometimes it seems like being able to control your natural inclination toward joining the negative forces around you is impossible, because, as we know, misery does indeed, love company. I choose not to accept that. I choose to follow the lead of my person and push forward.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve had these kinds of conversations lately, and this particular friend isn’t the only person I’ve engaged with on this topic. Just last week I was having a separate conversation with another one of my positive friends and we ended up chatting about how it’s not worth our time to focus on negativity. It sucks the life out of you and leaves you in a worse condition than when you started. Negativity builds like a snowball rolling down a hill, drawing in more negativity, and pretty soon, before you know it you’re snowball is 10ft tall flying through town at high speeds. It’s not worth it.

So between these two amazingly positive people I have in my life, I have made a list of characteristics that I most admire in them, and I believe it’s these characteristics that have drawn me to them and make them so special to me.

They are genuine, respectful, loving, understanding, honest, kind, thoughtful, reflective, supportive, and caring individuals. They are two people that I would run to if I needed someone to remind me why I am striving to be more kind in my life, they are the people that I know genuinely want to know how I am doing. They can sense when I am not okay and they reach out to just let me know they are there. Sometimes it’s a text that says “Sorry this is happening. I love you.” or it’s eye contact in the hallway, or noticing that I am pulling away need to be pulled back in.

They’re my people and I am grateful for them.

High Expectations

I have high expectations for just about everyone in my life. I’m not entirely sure what it stems from, but I suspect that I have transferred the high expectations I have for myself onto those around me. I expect honesty, transparency when possible, and effort. I want to feel as though any person I am in some form of a relationship with puts just as much into the relationship as I do. Reciprocal effort ebbs and flows. At some point, one, or both of us will need more out of the other, that’s what life is about: embracing the ebbs and flows.

Just as any other thirty-one year old has, I have gained friendand lost a number of friends over the years, it’s a natural process to build new relationships and to grow out of old ones. As someone that can be rather introverted and is a self-diagnosed homebody, sometimes it is hard to be my friend. I’m not the one that is going to be excited for a night out on the town, I am not spontaneously going to jump up on a Sunday afternoon to go out for lunch. I need a plan, a safety net, and quite frankly, the right mood. For some, that seems completely preposterous. Others accept me as I am and in turn, I push myself outside of my comfort zone to meet them where they are. For those that don’t understand or are not willing to take me as I am, our relationships usually fade. That’s okay. For every relationship that has faded I have built a bond with someone else that is willing to let me be me.

Over the last month or so, I have realized how amazing some of my friends are. Never have I had such an outpouring of love on my birthday, and when we realized that Justin’s health was now front and center I received a such a customized version of support I had never been offered before. The quiet support is what I feed off of: the text messages, the one-on-one conversations, the cards and e-mails. The flexible love that is understanding of how I function as a human being. These people really know me!

I’m not great at remembering to thank people or to make sure they are aware of when they have made an impression on me. While I’m working to correct that I’d like to dedicate the rest of this post tonight to my friends.

To the friend who knew to text me after I came back into the meeting on the day I received the call from Justin’s doctor. You noticed that something was off, asked if I was ok, let me respond, and knew that I wasn’t ready to talk about it. As you got up to walk out of the meeting I couldn’t make eye contact with you, I was choking back tears. You closed the door, I looked down at my phone and your text “Know I’m with you” got me through the rest of the meeting.

To the friend who encouraged me to write about my story on this blog. Thank you for encouraging me to use this platform for me. I had such hesitation with putting myself out there, and am still hesitant each time I do, but your encouragement and excitement when I did makes me know I made the right choice.

To the friend who wrote me the sweetest text message after reading this blog. I have a hard time taking a compliment so reading your text about being an inspiration to you blew me away. I still can’t believe you would think “What Would Emily Do?”!

To the friend that bombarded me with a giant hug and lets me crash in her office on a daily basis. I hadn’t had a chance to talk to you about anything yet when I walked into your office, you got a huge smile on your face, jumped up, wrapped your arms around me, and asked me how I was doing. It was exactly what I needed. Thank you for not telling me to hit the road on a regular basis when I crash in your office for my impromptu therapy sessions.

To the friend that sent me a card in the mail hoping that it would arrive in time for me to read on a day that would expectantly be a rough one. Even though I got it a day later, it was so thoughtful, and funny. It did exactly what you wanted it to, made me feel good and laugh when I may not want to.

My friends are awesome but this was far too mushy of a post!

friend sarcastic