Breakups

Breakups with girlfriends are so much harder.  You expect so much more from them and for them.  You see the great person they are inside and love her deeply and without reservation.

We often hold back with men.  Love them only a little at a time until things fall apart or come together.  But people like me find in their girlfriends a place to give love freely.  We open our hearts wide to a girlfriend and bring her deep inside to her own special place.  When she hurts we bring tissue and dessert.  When she celebrates we bring champagne.  When she leaves we are on the next flight after her to help her settle in.  She is invited to our birthday parties, our house-warmings, introduced to our families, and given a place to sleep on the other side of our bed.  She is important to us forever.

When she commits treason we lose all confidence in people for a while and it really rocks our world.  There is no hurt like it.

In past weeks little drops of poison have made their way into the stream from me.  They haven’t been about a Him per se (they were only marginally about ‘Hims’ plural) they were about a Her.  A Her that hurt me deeply time after time until she finally reached the keg

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2. The Power of Each Other

 She is my friend. She’s my family. My insides. She will be fine because she has to be fine. That’s how important she is to me. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

We all sat around the table with one of my girlfriends at the head.  She would instruct us, training our noses and our taste buds.  The spread was gorgeous – cheeses of all kinds white and yellow, some with blue veins, lush grapes, creamy humus, toasted pita, spanish tortilla, and twenty elegant island women comfortable in linen slacks and summer dresses.  Two wine glasses were at each place – one for the whites we would taste first and another for the bold reds.

The energy of the room could be seen as a glow throughout the district.  Power pulsing from each woman combined in the vibrant room in flavours of family and friendship, sitting on the house like a heralding star.  There were sisters, cousins, girlfriends, mothers, aunts, grandmothers.  There were matriarchs with manchego and shrimp and adolescents with coca cola in their glasses.  English and spanish would alternate throughout the room with white and red wine.  Stories were shared, wisdom imparted, updates given and scarlet jokes teased out of the most unexpected places.

It was as if these ladies know what I had intended to write about today:  A woman without girlfriends is a lost soul cut adrift without an anchor.

In going through the circles of love formed around a woman there will grow an understanding that she meets the varied needs of many.  What is not visible in this picture, however, are her varied needs and how they are met.  She is a complex, multi-faceted, interesting and unique being.  No one person can meet all her needs.  She has many passions and many contexts, plays many roles in the lives of others.  In her own story there are also many roles, a full cast of interesting people who play a part in her own life.  Of all the people she chooses to populate her stage perhaps the most underestimated cast members are her girlfriends.

No matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal, you’ll never get through it without your friends. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

It is a common tragedy – the woman newly divorced finds herself in a place she does not recognize and did not anticipate ever visiting.  From the day of her wedding, if not sometime before, she has devoted herself to her husbands’ needs, desires, soothed his ego and raised his children.  Her bridesmaids on that day of flowers, lace and vows, would have known standing pretty in pink satin that they were losing her, handing her over.  Even with the best of her intentions Saturday morning breakfast dates would give way to his laundry and Thursday night karaoke would be traded in for cooking him dinner.  She would play the role blissfully unaware for a time and all would be right in her shrinking world.

And then the day of parting.  The feeling of failure, the complete rending of her world into two parts of his and hers, and the stifling silence and isolation that follows.  She probably hasn’t seen her bridesmaids in months.  They probably followed her lead into their own shrinking worlds of domestic conformity.  She is in a desolate place, an isolation that she helped to create.

Should the story end there?  Could this have been avoided?  Does she always have to start from scratch?  The moral – Girlfriends do not lose their importance when a man enters your life.  They are just as important.  Whose shoulder will you cry on when he fails?  And let’s face it, he is human, he will fail.  Who will advise her on the ins and outs of men and women?  With whom will she share the things that only women understand?

Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with.
~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

I am convinced that fewer marriages would fail if the woman had maintained relationships with her girlfriends.  She would need less from her man, demand less of him, he would feel less pressured by her.  And sure, there is the potential benefit of keeping him on his toes a little with the knowledge that she can make it on her own without him.  Why should a relationship with him be the only one she has?

[CAVEAT – I am only a casual bystander to marriage and able only to jump on a theoretical soapbox in this instance.  A Bushlings opinion only.]

To the woman who finds herself alone, I encourage you to reconnect with the girl you were, with the girls you were a girl with, and perhaps with new women that can share your girlhood with you.  Life is not meant to be lived alone and company and strength is not only found in a man.

To the woman in love, do not forsake the parts of yourself that will always be a mystery to him.  Continue to enjoy the company of your girlfriends.  Share together, shop together, cry together, and celebrate together.  Seek to learn from and understand each other.  They are your support system and you are theirs.  Be the support to them that you would want for your time of need.  You never know when that time might come.

Finally, to the Single Woman, I am sure I do not need to say this.  For many of you this is your only circle, your smallest most intimate ring, and your only support system.  Love your girlfriends and care for them.  They will bring you great joy, comfort and strength in your solitude.  They will be your family if you have none.

 You girls are the loves of her life, a guy is lucky to come in fourth.
~Mr. Big, Sex and the City

 Today celebrate the women in your life and share the power of your love with them.

Accountability

You are a smart Single Woman.  You know who you are, your likes, your dislikes, your dreams and your fears.  You know your boundaries, your expectations, what you accept and do not accept from others and from yourself.

But you will still lie to yourself.

Don’t shake your head.  That’s you doing it RIGHT NOW.

Enter accountability.  The person that tells you when you’re talking rubbish.  The hand that points out that you need to let go.  The loving friend in your life smart enough to recognize when you aren’t being the best you and brave enough to face you and tell you.  The voice that calls you out on your bull.  They are all holding you accountable.

I am blessed with friends like that.  They pull my leash when my self-discipline needs a kick-start, or, more commonly, when my temper flares.  Family members and friends with powerful personalities to match my own nuclear capabilities.  People as smart as or smarter than me and brave enough to face me down on my own weaknesses.  Who love me enough to want me to be well and strong.

In recent weeks I had an exercise in accountability.  I suffered a deep hurt inflicted by a false friend.  It rocked my world and brought out an animal that I had believed to be euthanized by my self-discipline years ago.  The H-bomb blew and blood (figuratively speaking) was let.  Then came accountability.  A friend who called me out on it.  Sent me to my corner to figure out my part in this and to work through the process of letting go.  She said things that were hard to hear in the face of my righteous indignation.  But she brought me back to being with a jump-start and reeled me into focus again.

Accountability is often feared.  Avoided.  Resented.  But without it we hide our flaws and sacrifice our authenticity.  Our essence is overshadowed by our efforts to fake success or indifference.

I encourage all Single Women to seek accountability.  It will make the world of a difference in the way you move through life.

But it doesn’t just happen.  Accountability must be created, invited and accepted.  Follow these four steps and you will find yourself being held accountable in no time.

  1. Designate your trusted person by whom you will be held accountable.  Choose this person wisely, particularly with the more private and intimate goals you hope to achieve or hurdles you hope to cross.  The person must be someone whose loyalty is not questioned and whose love is unconditional.  You may designate a different trusted person for each type of goal.  For instance, an accountant friend can hold you to account with your financial goals, your psycho gym-crazy buddy can hold you accountable for your physical goals, and your best friend since the sandbox can hold you accountable for your relational goals.
  2. Share your goal with your friend.  Share with them your desire to be held accountable by them.  Invite them to share their opinion on your goal and discuss whether they would participate in your accountability.  Talk openly about what being held accountable looks like to you.
  3. Trust their love for you to guide them and for them to be on your side.  If you have chosen the right person for the job you should not have to feel defensive when they do call you on what you have asked them to call you on.
  4. Listen to what they have to say.  When the time comes and you have slipped, accept their reprimand.  When you have met your goal, enjoy their praise.

Remember too that not only will you need to be held accountable, your friends may need you to fulfill that role for them as well.  Be to them the friend that you would want them to be to you.  Some rules are always golden.

Start today to invite accountability into your life.

For the Single Woman that has difficulty with #1, perhaps it is time to consider engaging a Life Coach.  This person will work with you through your goals, cheer you on when you succeed in reaching them, and remind you of your own desires when you start to lose focus.  If Life Coaching would interest you, click on the Ford Coaching on the right of your screen to learn more about what coaching is, what it can do for you.  From that site you can also ask Kristen Ford any questions you have about Life Coaching and she may be able to help you find a Life Coach near you.