By: Lauren Freier, Guest Blogger
The tenets of friendship lay in loyalty, trust, and mutual enjoyment, and without this strong foundation a friendship is simply not sustainable. Acquaintances can survive based on superficialities and surface level connections, but true friendships thrive on the deepest of bonds.
Relationships in any form are the ultimate lesson in control, or lack thereof. We cannot control the choices, actions, or reactions of others, no matter how hurtful, selfish, or negligent they become. This can eventually leave us feeling drained and powerless, like even if we curl up into a ball and do nothing, the world around us will still continue to spiral out of control. When someone we loved and trusted hurts us, it is rarely an isolated incident. The ripple effect is unavoidable, and other people’s true colors also begin to show.
It can be scary to find out you’ve been wrong about something but we can’t be afraid to change our minds, to accept that things are different…The more we’re willing to accept what is and not what we thought, we’ll find ourselves exactly where we belong. (Grey’s Anatomy).
What I often catch myself doing in these situations is re-hashing the unfairness of it all and overanalyzing why everyone should have behaved differently. But this time I am stopping myself from continuing down this path, although admittedly I already began heading in this direction before I came to this realization. I am choosing now to try a different route because what I do have control over is myself (a statement that students and clients are probably so tired of hearing me say, but I repeat it because I believe we all need the constant reminder). When it comes to ourselves, we are not powerless.
Instead of unleashing the seemingly limitless anger and pain, I am shifting the focus back to healthy friendships. With plenty of negative energy to go around, why not seek out some of the silver linings? As much as my heart sank during this particular instance of disappointment, I was also overcome with an overwhelming feeling of warmth. I was surprised that in place of anger grew an immense amount gratitude for the people in my life who are truly there. Those who not only remind me that I am strong, worthy, and loved, but who also help carry me through in the moments I don’t feel able to carry myself.
Let's Chat! When have you let toxic friendships steal your power? How did you deal with this? Tell us about it here!
Lauren is a passionate writer, Beatles fanatic, celebrity gossip junkie, therapist, and mental health advocate. Her personal and professional experiences in both LA and Chicago have inspired her dedication to emotional wellness, resiliency, and self-acceptance. She holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and is a therapist at InnerVoice Psychotherapy and Consultation, a Chicago-based private practice, as well as a social-emotional health educator at a non-profit organization