life, Uncategorized

The Friendship Collective

What Is A Friend?

If you Google the question “what is a friend?” you’ll find an interesting definition. Google defines “friendship” as “a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.” However, isn’t this a little vague?

Friendship can’t be limited or defined in a simple definition. The art of curating a true friendship is more than just having a mutual affection for another person. True friendship entails acceptance, kindness, respect, and an abiding willingness to support someone, even if you don’t agree with their choices.

So how does one cultivate a collective of real friends in this digital age of so-called “friends” and “followers” on social media etc.?

Making Wise Choices

When we first learn to about friends, it often comes with the advice to choose wisely. I cannot tell you the amount of not so wise choices I’ve made across my life when it came down to deciding who to spend my time with; however, I’ve gleaned so much wisdom from my mistakes and now pass this on to my children.

It’s vital to invite relationship into our lives, especially friendship, as good friends enrich and enliven our world. But choosing the right fit for your “friend collective” isn’t easy and often comes with some heartache when you experience disappointment. So how do you gather the perfect “friendship collective”?

Love, Listening, and Sacrifice

These three words are the cornerstone of any good friendship. Without love, you cannot listen with empathy, without empathy, you won’t be prepared to sacrifice when it’s needed most. To truly love someone, you need to do more than just nod your head in conversation. To sacrifice you need to be willing to put your needs aside from time to time, to give your time, your belongings, and especially your heart.

How Many “Followers” Equals A Friend?

Personally, I’m not excited by the number of “friends” and “followers” I have on my social media accounts. I know that they are just people, some random visitors who like what I have to say, and a few whom I would count as my “real” friends.

I find it tragic to see people sitting beside someone, yet lost in technology, and still striving to cultivate ‘relationship.’ Just being in the presence of a person does not build a connection. It’s time to put the phone aside, silence the notifications, and look up at the person with whom you’ve chosen to share that moment.

Building relationship through conversation, experience, and authentic engagement can only happen when we are fully present with someone. The numbers of “followers” and “likes” you have may be in the hundreds or thousands, but how many of those “connections” would actually take a moment to enquire about your well-being on any given day?

The Challenge

Today I challenge you if you have read this, and it resonated with you, to make a list of people whom you consider “friends.” Choose wisely, and carefully. Now take this list and share this post with those whom you’d like to spend more time cultivating your relationship. If you’re not prepared to love them unconditionally, listen to them attentively, and sacrifice for them without inhibition, then move to the next person on your list. You may only end up with two or three people, but you’ve made a declaration to yourself about your commitment to them.

Those who respond will be the ones who share your new friendship values, and this is the way to build a firm foundation for your “Friendship Collective.”

Love, Nina xx

life, Uncategorized

Letting Go Of Other’s Responsibilities

Just Say No

As I sit here gazing at my son’s IPad that he left at home, I have a niggling reminder of the little task that he requested of me while on the way to school today. “Mum, can you bring it at lunch?”

While on most days we are all bleary eyed as we muddle through the morning trying to make sure we get out the door on time, whose responsibility is it to bring the forgotten items to their owner?

Truly I say to you, I don’t have one bit of regret that I’m still looking at the IPad long after lunchtime has passed. I didn’t say that I would bring it, in fact, quite the opposite. I told him simply that it was his responsibility to make sure that he had what he needed for the day. Relief swoons over me as I feel that I made a wise parenting choice. So how does this translate to the rest of our lives, where the lines may be a little blurred in terms of where responsibility lies, and how much we should take ownership of.

Putting On Your Own Oxygen Mask First

For me, it’s coffee before even putting in my contact lenses. It doesn’t matter if I can see, I just need to smell the chocolatey, nutty aroma of my cup of joe before I can breathe.

The airlines coined this advice of putting on your own oxygen mask first before you help others for good reason. If you can’t breathe, you can’t help anyone, and that’s that. This means that you need to take care of yourself, in whatever way you need to, first.

Today I’m just doing nothing. As far as my regular responsibilites are concerned, the bare minimum is all I can manage today, and I’m o.k with that. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the sterling pictures of efficiency everyday. So once in a while, get up, get your oxygen mask (in my case coffee), and put it on before you do anything else. You’ll be much better for it!

xx Nina