I was getting ready to go to an event awhile back and my daughter, Scarlett, who is now 10 years old said to me, “why do you look so fancy?” It made me chuckle because I was far from dressed up. I simply had non-gym clothes on and a little makeup to help me look presentable to the outside world! She went on to explain to me that she preferred the way I look everyday, rather than on rare occasions when I go out for social events. We have some deep level communication (yes, even though she is only 10 years old…she’s an old soul) so I used the opportunity to question a little deeper as to why she really had a preference in how I was dressed. Honestly, I was taken aback by the comment because we have a strict rule in our home that you do not comment on a person’s appearance. She went to tell me that she preferred my daytime look because I make her feel safe. Wow! Safe? Something I had never heard her describe before now.
You see, because of my physical strength, she feels safe. Of all the benefits I have gained from my physical fitness, I can’t say that creating a sense of safety for my daughter was one I had realized!
It is amazing how our children view us and how the way in which we carry out our lives can make them feel. This got me thinking about how we behave in front of our children and the ramifications that has upon the individuals they become as they grow into adults. So often we are so busy telling them what we want for them, or dreaming about what we want for them, or maybe praying for what we want for them…but are we showing them? This is tough to address and requires us to be vulnerable enough within ourselves to answer this question honestly.
There isn’t a person reading this who doesn’t want health and a fulfilling life for their children. Yet, I know there are plenty of you reading this who do not create a healthy lifestyle for yourself and are not living a life of fulfillment. Why? Don’t answer that hastily. Let it sink in. Reflect back on your early life and try to decipher when you gave up on allowing yourself to matter. Some will answer when you got married. Others may answer when they became a parent. Others may not know when or how it happened but they know it did.
Guess what? You do matter! When you acknowledge your own worth, you are finally living the life you would want for all those you love. They are watching more than they are listening.
Show them how to matter!
So after nearly 4 decades of creating friendship, I have gained tremendous strength and wisdom. But, the only thing that has really changed is I am now aware. I am aware of how I define friendship and I'm discerning with whom I am willing to create it. I refuse to abandon my standards and I would rather be alone than with someone who doesn't share them.
Authentic friendship is created. It isn’t something that just happens due to shared proximity or interests. It isn’t measured in the amount of time spent together or alignment of all your beliefs. In fact, most of my friends share opposite political views than my own. Not many share my religious beliefs and rarely do I get to spend as much time with them as I would like. Authentic friendship actually transcends those things.
While I have a mountain of acquaintances, I can count my most meaningful friendships on two hands. Kindness, lack of judgement and authenticity prevail in all of those friendships. I am thankful to say I have made some of my best friendships after I turned 40!
What are your principles for friendship? Life is so short. Spend time with those who are kind, free from judgement and allow you to be who you really are.