"Surround yourself with people who provide you with support and love and remember to give back as much as you can in return." Karen Kain
We are the protagonist of our life stories - that much I know to be true. AND we are meant to be the strong supporting characters in the narratives of others. Hell, in some cases we're the love interests, in others we are the antagonist, or even a fleeting plot device. That part I'm still learning to not just accept but to fully embrace. It took me so long to come into my own and be fully comfortable with who I am and how I am. Now that I have a solid foundation in myself, things get more complicated in making room for others in my life. I have also realized that I don't have to be the center of attention at all times. I can be perfectly fine being on the sidelines, and that does not undermine my own self-esteem by any means. There's something remarkable about moving out of the way and letting others get their shine time. I've become this sort of cheering section just amplifying the greatness of those around me, and there's a lot of it. The people I find myself surrounded by are nothing short of amazing. Being able to highlight their awe-inspiring talents, gifts, and character has been fulfilling ways that I could not have expected.
I think I had to learn how to be happy for my friends. It sounds weird but I used to have this moments of feeling envy, jealousy, or inadequacy when I would see my friends doing or having something I wanted. What I now understand is that someone else thriving is not a judgement being placed on me nor does it mean I myself am not winning as well. Those toxic feelings were a reflection of myself and my feelings of insecurity. I don't want what other people have I want my own, whatever is meant for me to have. I want to be the type of friend that goes out of their way to bless your life with happiness, positivity, and adventure. The friend that takes pictures of you from multiple angles and hypes you up while doing it. The friend that compliments you both on who you are as a person and blows your head up just because. The friend that writes you love letters, sends you random gifts, and likes all of your statuses. That friend that remembers that you have an interview, date, or appointment and texts you right before you go in to remind you they love you, are there for you, and wish you nothing but benevolence in your life.
Think of your friend that happens to always be there when you need them? What do they do for you that makes you smile, that lets you breathe easier, or puts you at peace? Sometimes it's just hearing from them at all via text or even better yet, hearing the sound of their voice. Just waves of emotion come crashing down because your connection to them is so strong. There's a sense of safety that comes with them. There's no question or doubt in your mind about them or with them. They are something that is solid in your life. Know that you are probably that person for them too, and others. Taking that to heart and owning that has been powerful for me. It doesn't take much but just checking in, popping in, sending some words of encouragement makes a huge difference. It's taking a sincere interest in the life of someone else and paying attention to the details. It's asking the questions that matter, digging deeper, and being fully present. It's making them a priority in your life, if only for an hour every few months. It's just a small reminder that you're there for them and they are for you. Better yet, send a random "thinking of you" note or a gift. Make their day. Be unexpected. Everybody needs light and love in their lives. I, you, and we have the ability to do that.
It's uncanny to me where all my friends are in life. Our paths have been so different, our passions ranged, and our careers even more varied. Supporting friends in their professional roles is just as important as supporting them in their personal lives. It has to go beyond bad breakups, and birthdays but putting our money where our mouths are. It's the difference between liking a fundraiser status and actually opening your wallet to contribute, as you are able. It's using your friend's services, buying their product, or utilizing their talents in their side hustle. It's sharing their content, connecting them with your network, and talking them up at every chance you get. Being a champion for my friends in something I strive to do and I hope they do to. It's not just acknowledging what they do but how they do it, and being purposeful in doing so. Read what they write, comment on their videos, share their content, buy from their Etsy websites, etc. You already know them, and trust them - so why not put put that trust into practice. Cheerleaders don't have to just be on the sidelines, they can also be the main event - showing up and showing out for your friends is doing just that. X