A Circle of Support

06/28/2012

Source: Artsyville.com

As far back as I can remember I have stood out from the crowd. Going through our school years being different can lead to isolation, at least for sensitive types like me. I admire those who are bravely different and seem to get charged up by other’s derogatory or dismissive behaviour. I think they are the exception to the rule. I believe most of us can bravely hold our chin high in the face of negativity directed towards our ‘differentness’ but inwardly, it takes a toll.

So this is what now works for me: I choose to be around people who ‘get’ me.

I no longer tolerate being around people who behave like my spiritual openness is perilous, or my friendship with a lesbian is questionable, or my enjoyment of writing is wasted time, or my belief in peace is foolish, or my occasional goofiness is childish, or that my trust can be flippantly betrayed. Or any other negative and derogatory energy that certain people in my family and social circle had blatantly expressed.

I now make it easy on myself: I completely remove myself from that kind of negative energy.

Yes, the choice to only be around people who ‘get’ us can shrink our social circle, at first. But how wonderful we start to feel, not having that crushing, debilitating energy bringing us down, lowering our self-esteem, and making us feel bad. How wonderful to feel lighter, and free to be who we really are! As we celebrate our uniqueness and shine our own light out into the world, we are as a beacon for like-minded people and new friends to be drawn towards us.

Along with being a beacon, be also active. Get out there doing the things you really enjoy and maintain your enjoyment of being who you really are. And if you are married, your wedding ring should suffice to announce you are only looking for friends. I suggest mentioning your partner in the occasional comment, just to help with sending out clear energy that it is friendship you seek. Here are ideas to get you started:

Love writing? Find out about writer’s groups in your area. Many exist that welcome newcomers of all abilities. Some have workshops. Some have open sessions encouraging writers to read aloud if they wish. And many take place in coffee shops.

Love cooking? Take a cooking class to learn something new and meet some new people.

Love your Church? Or your local Park? Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people.

Love your dog? Go to public dog parks and when your dog is doing the happy-dog-dance of sniffing with other dogs, laugh about it with other owners and ask for dog’s and owner’s names and share your own. If you enjoyed someone’s energy as a potential new friend, then go back on the same day of the week, same time. You’ll likely meet them again.

Love museums? Many offer casual tours after hours for a nominal fee where you can meet and chat with other like-minded people. Also perhaps you love yoga? Working out at the gym? Stretch your comfort zone and start conversations with others. Discover if this person you’re chatting with could become a new friend.

Love gardening or wineries? There are all kinds of tours ready to be joined! These help you not only view inspiring gardens, or learn about different wines and wineries, but you get to enjoy travelling to them and through them with others who you have at least one thing in common with. Find out if there’s more.

Offer your name with a smile. Ask questions. Get it started.

Now of course we can meet new people who are actually the same old people with a new face, if we have not yet released our inner pull towards old patterns of feeling hurt and belittled. If you find your new acquaintance starts saying those negative things you are releasing from your life, and your communication with them does not change it, then let that new friendship go. Return to working within yourself to shine proudly of who you are and what you believe and what makes you happy. Release those old hurts and forget those past people. Then call up that other new friend you recently met and ask if they’d like to meet up soon. A walk, a talk, a cuppa joe or tea.

No matter what our age or stage of life, we can create a healthy circle of support around us with friends who really get us. I believe it, and I am working on it, building a small but growing group of kindred spirits celebrating diversity and individuality, while supporting each other in being ourselves.

I know I deserve it. And so do you. Let’s make it happen!

44 responses to A Circle of Support

  1. 

    Well said.

  2. 
    emocrippled 06/28/2012 at 2:18 pm

    Reblogged this on emocrippled.

  3. 

    Just what I needed to read today. Thank you.

  4. 

    One great post to learn socializing without discrimination, No matter, the friend is a gay or a lesbian, at the end of he day he/she is “GETTING” you (As you said)
    Very well-written and too refreshing to read such a post 🙂
    With Love
    -Naima.

    • 

      Thank YOU Naima, for ‘getting’ me! Yes those who are our dearest friends, our ‘family of choice’ I hold no discrimination. I do not even notice such things. I only notice genuine friendship. Thank you so much for your kind comments, always!
      Love and Hugs,
      Gina

      • 

        Exactly, that is all what matters, genuineness of a person towards you. Life can be much more easier than expected if people eliminate the cruel factor of discrimination from the society!
        You are always welcome 🙂
        -Naima.

  5. 

    We so get it and get you. We thank obstacles because they are to be expected and give us a bootcamp inspiration, and like an opponent on a sports field they are just being themselves…..so we give thanks for them and get out of the way since we are prepared….. we also thank you for appreciating the need to be appreciated.Thank you deeply for this beloved post.

    • 

      How wonderful to get your comment! I love what you’ve written here, especially the athlete analogy. And ‘appreciating the need to be appreciated’. That’s beautifully put. Love and Light to you, dear flower lover! Hugs, Gina

  6. 

    YES…I totally get this!!! So brave to be who you are and to hell with those who want you to change!

  7. 

    I’m on that same journey, and appreciate everything you’re writing here.

  8. 

    I seem to attract happiness suckers so every few years I have to pull them up by the roots, put them in the thresher, apply some Round-Up to their spot, and move on. Most recently in January 2012.

    • 

      Well done! Great analogy. I’ll have to go a bit further back in your posts to learn about what happened in your world at the beginning of the year. Any particular post you recommend about pulling your happiness suckers?

      • 

        I don’t think there’s a specific one. Just every so often I might have mentioned that I was blogging somewhere else from July 2007 to January 2012. The blog site was a private real estate site, and the owners are bigoted, anti-Semitic, racist, anti-Feminist, anti-everything except themselves and their Good Ol’ Boy club.

        • 

          Yikes! Ok, gotcha. I thought there might have been a particular post where you shared about ‘pulling the happiness suckers’ out of your life. Regardless, at least you DID. We want to be around people who are on our side, and in our corner, and ‘get’ us! Cheers, Gina

  9. 

    Oh, noooooooooooooo. My camping trip has come to an end. Well, the marshmallows were superb!

  10. 

    You’re on a roll, Gina. Another great post!. I think your advice is excellent. I’ve been making similar choices about focusing on and celebrating people who get me, and I love the results. In fact, just yesterday I had a wonderful email exchange with a new friend who I’d met through blogging. I enjoyed it immensely.

    Russ

    • 

      That is excellent! 😀 Isn’t it wonderful the difference that can happen in our worlds as we focus on those friendships that support us?! I know you offer me tremendous support and it means the absolute world to me! Thank you so much Russ. You are a dear friend!
      Love and Light,
      Gina

  11. 

    I’ve always stuck by the “quality, not quantity” rule when it came to friends and my own social circle. It hasn’t always been easy sticking to it, especially when people are forever talking about how many people they know but when push comes to shove, I’d rather have 2 people I can always count on than know 20 people and be unsure who’d still stick around. Great post!

    • 

      Excellent comment Lillian! How true. Quality over quantity… so true in many aspects of life, especially with friendships. I am with you completely – I would rather have a couple of people who I know really “get” me rather than dozens of people who are not really there for me. Thank you so much! 🙂

  12. 

    Fabulous. More wonderful aphorisms. This is also a great reminder of the need to find a proper work/life balance, especially for those unfortunate souls whose work is not real life. It also reminds me of a time when – as much as I believed in & I enjoyed the work I did in teaching and in running a school – the balance was so out of kilter I hardly made time for real friends let alone the other sort you describe so well. Let alone gardening, cooking, going to museums, walking a dog and so many other enjoyable, inexpensive, uplifting and restorative activities. Even the cat complained of neglect. I guess I’ve been one of those ‘professionals’ who need to discipline themselves to do things for their own wellbeing, and also take better care of their true friends. In my new life, in which I can pick and choose my own priorities and create my own workload, I’m trying to be much more sensible – which includes, as you say, preferring my own company to bad company. I still have to deal (sometimes) with my own negativity, prejudices and unreasonableness, but I get by with a little help from my friends.
    Gary

    • 

      Hello Gary! What a wonderful comment. And an excellent reminder even for those who are lucky enough to have a passion for their work – we still have to make an effort to maintain balance. And those ‘unfortunate souls’ whose work is drudgery (I’ve been there) it is essential for them to make time for building support as well. It’s so true that ‘we teach what we most need to learn’ and I am often drawn to write about that which is near and dear to me because it is something I am going through right now. I am working on sectioning my day into time for blogging along with time for my career and online studies, as well as taking care of my relationships, gardening, cooking (which I enjoy), reading, exercise, and time with my dog. I find if I do not address the very real pulls in many directions, some things will suffer, not least of which – is me! Your wonderful comments are as thought-provoking as your articles! Thank you so much Gary!
      Cheers, Gina

  13. 

    Loved this post, Gina. I’d much rather have a small group of friends who “get me” than a large group who don’t. I think for many, it seems easier to keep the old ones, but only when we become aware of our own growth do we listen that inner voice that says: “What are you gaining from spending time with this person.” If it feels icky, it’s time to move on.

    I so resonate with your comment about new friends being the same old friends with a new face. After my divorce, I dated a bunch of guys who I came to realize were all my first husband. When I finally got that, I went straight to a great counselor (Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200). Only then was I able to be with my wonderful Peter. And I probably wouldn’t have given him the time of day prior to the work with my therapist. He would have been too nice for me! Since that illuminating experience, I’ve been more discriminating with my close relationships.

    Love,

    Cathy

    • 

      Hello dear Cathy, this is a wonderful comment. I am so glad you enjoyed my point of how we will repeat the same old people in our lives if we remain unaware. Your choice to go to a counsellor is such a wise choice, and thanks for sharing without that choice you may not have met Peter. And you would have thought him too nice! How true. I too worked with a counsellor to help me become ready to find my Dave. Now I am using many of the same steps to build my network of support upon realizing I had people in my life that ‘wanted to get together’ and ‘stay in touch’ but lunches with them always brought me down. Things like little eye-rolls, outright belittling, or changing subjects with topics they didn’t enjoy, even if I really did, can add up even with an old friend to make one realize ‘they bring me down’. As you put it perfectly, if it feels icky it’s time to move on. Thanks again dear friend!
      Love,
      Gina

  14. 

    Wow! You have just written all that I mean/meant in some of my posts 🙂 🙂
    Thank you so much for this share!! 🙂
    It’s refreshing to read posts like this. 🙂 🙂
    Your openness is wonderful 🙂
    Many blessings to you!! 🙂

    • 

      I am delighted that this article touched your heart! Your kindness here melts my own 😀 It is an important topic, and we do need to share our stories of how we choose to be around those who support us. We deserve it! Thank you so much, dear one, for sharing such a supportive comment with me. It truly means the world. Hugs, Gina

  15. 

    Great article, Gina! Let’s begin! 🙂

  16. 

    Does it still count if the people who ‘get me’ are here? I hope so, because I’ve connected with this amazing community on a level not always found in real life. But for geography, my circle of flesh and blood friends would be bigger, but for now…

    • 

      Yes I hope it counts! This community is amazing and I enjoy it immensely. However a good honest friend or two in our physical reality can mean so much and those friendships are truly worth nurturing.

  17. 

    Sadly, another Russel Ray camping trip comes to an end………………..

  18. 

    You are an inspiration. Thank you for your wise words.