Friendship is the most important form of self care you can invest in.
More than a shopping trip.
More than having someone come clean your house once a week.
More than a massage.
More than therapy.
Even more than a trip to the Bahamas where they bring you endless drinks with little umbrellas.
More than getting to the gym.
More than taking a long hot bath all by yourself.
All those things are wonderful, and now that I brought them up I want to do them all, but I still believe that friendship is the most important form of self care you can invest in, and here’s why:
Nine years ago we were lonely. We had two miscarriages and went through a painful betrayal from someone close to us. It was a dark time for me and I had no idea how to reach out.
Eight years ago my husband and I decided we needed to start intentionally pursuing friendships. We forced our lonely selves to step out of our comfort zones and invite people over for dinner every Friday night.
Seven years ago we realized we’d found “our” people. “Our people” were the kind we could have over when we were still in sweats and had made baked potatoes for dinner. They were the kind that we could laugh really hard with and also be real with.
Six years ago we decided to switch from pursuing new friends to pursuing the friends we had with our Friday night dinners. We camped, traveled, floated rivers, had game nights, and shared a million meals.
Five years ago I had a breakdown. Anxiety consumed me and I couldn’t leave my house or function for a month. I had three years of friendship with the people who literally walked through that darkness with me. They didn’t need an explanation or a reason; they were just there. We had three years of friendship that led us to that moment.
Four years ago I started a blog called Wonderoak. When my first article got 1000 views, a bunch of our friends came to our house to have a fire and celebrate with wine and Oreos. They whooped and hollered and toasted me, and I’ll never forget it. We had five years of friendship that led us to that moment.
Three years ago one of my best friends suffered a miscarriage. Two of us lit candles and held her hand through one of the most terrible losses of her life. We had four years of friendship that led us to that moment.
Two years ago, we moved from Montana to California with some of those dear friends. We continue to do life and meals together. It was six years of friendship that led us to this moment.
A week ago I shared calamari and wine with two of those friends and blinked back tears as we reminisced over the last eight years. We’ve cried together, laughed together, and we’ve gotten in some doozy arguments (both ridiculous and serious). I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Friendships are the most important investment you can make. You were never meant to grieve alone; you were never meant to celebrate alone.
You were meant to be seen.
Listen to me; you weren’t supposed to do this all alone. It’s all too hard and too wonderful to do it alone.
Here’s the thing: you can’t have real friendship unless you invest in them. Friendship is about giving and loving and pursuing. Somehow as we give, we get filled up. There is no way to bypass or shortcut the investment; there’s just not. I know you have no time; I know it.
You already have a million things on your plate and one more thing is one thing too many. I get it; I promise I do. On my mental list right now are at least 45 things, including make dinner, look through my kid’s art portfolios, sign 4500 end of the year papers, take a dreaded trip to the DMV, and schedule a pap smear. I will fight the next person that tries to add to that list. I am only telling you to add this one thing, because it’s THAT important; there’s no better thing to invest in for self care than friendship.
You’re meant to be known. You’re meant to be seen, not for the clothes you wear or if you put on makeup today, and not for how you parent your kids at the park or how you handle yourself at work. You are meant to be seen. You’re meant to be seen to your very soul and to be loved for who you are (who you really are). You’re meant to be loved as a whole person (flaws and gifts and everything in between).
The only way I know how to find this kind of love is to give it.
The only way to grow this kind of love is to invest in it.
If you don’t have these kind of friendships (yet) don’t you dare feel any shame about. I’ve been there, almost everyone has been there. According to Fortune Magazine 50% of us are there right now. Sister, I am with you.