We all have heard that love relationships should be rooted in friendship. In other words, if you can’t have a great lasting friendship with your beloved than it won’t last.
I have been thinking a lot about the “friendships” that I have in my life. Because I suffered greatly from multiple traumas in my last relationship, this caused me to realize that to have healthy authentic relationships I need to take a closer look at how seriously I take friendship.
I grew up during a time where we didn’t have facebook or instagram just a home phone. So the phenomenon of facebook has been particularly confusing for me. I quit it for a while and then I decided that I would go back on and use it sparingly and only invite people that I, at least, have met.
This turned out to be a great experiment. Because I ended up feeling the same way as I did before….disconnected, if only connected in a very superficial way. I like a lot of things about facebook, but what I especially like is how it helped to teach me the truth about friendship.
When I went to marriage counseling I learned some of the therapeutic lingo. Like, “this is your experience” and “that is his experience.” I remember feeling like someone had just given me the keys to the kingdom.
You mean I have my own experience?!
Because I was so enmeshed with my partner I didn’t really feel like a separate person anymore and as it turned out this was terribly unhealthy. Later, I even learned how to open to integrating both experiences.
Like a lot of people, I had never received the manual on setting up boundaries for myself. I didn’t know that if someone tried to dismiss, disagree or otherwise reject my experience what they were really telling me was that they felt that they could dismiss my “perspective.” Now these are two very different things. When I’m sharing my experience with someone I need for them to know that this is a gift of trust, I need for them to be capable of honoring my experience. My experience is my reality, what is actually in real time happening for me. My perspective, on the other hand, is my viewpoint. A view can be seen from many different sides, but my experience is expressed from my one deeply felt experience holistically.
I’ve done an overhaul of my facebook friends I decided that I really only want to be friends with people that I know have this mature capability. Needless to say it took a lot of time to clear it out. I’ve made a sincere commitment to myself that if I don’t set a boundary for what I need than I’m not holding my friends to the same boundary as I do to myself and to my family. If I’m not living aligned in this way than I can expect no change in my inner circle or outer and that would be a real failure on my part.
In the city where I live I “know” quite a few people within, what I used to think of as, a “conscious community.” There’s a tremendous amount of bypassing clearly due to misery and trauma that is so common in our world these days. By bypassing I mean, allowing ourselves to pretend that we know one another, when we really don’t. Because we learned to protect our woundedness we bought into this very effective coping strategy. Superficial friendship, I’ve found, is usually played out in the name of being busy. I see how continuing to believe in the “keep the peace” kind of bypassing that I witness everyday I’m being part of the problem not part of the solution.
I’m ready to get even more real with myself by telling my friends that I need time with them to cultivate real friendship. If they choose to make other things more important than putting connection first than I have to conclude that they aren’t capable of genuine friendship.
True intimacy with a partner certainly won’t happen without true friendship. Honoring each others boundaries, showing up for each other, consistent attention and curiosity. All of these things and more are needed to allow our love to, not endure, but cultivate and ultimately shine.
Let’s make friendship real again!!