I went to a get together a friend of mine put on this week and heard a really sad comment by one of the ladies there regarding self-care. We were talking about friendships. She said that she’s so busy with all her responsibilities at work and with her kids that she notices that she purposely pushes other people away for fear of disappointing them. She knows she doesn’t have the energy to really invest in friendships right now and so avoids them.
Now on the surface that might sound like a healthy boundary to have, BUT…. Here are 3 problems with that thinking – all revolving around a lack of self-care:
1. We were made to live in community. Especially as women, we need to have a mixture of people in our lives to “do” life with. By focusing just on work and kids, there’s not a “me” outlet there. We need people to support and encourage us. We need friends to make us laugh and listen to us when we need to cry. While her plan may be working right now, I wonder how she’ll handle the inevitable crisis when it comes up.
2. What is she modeling for her kids? Is living a life focused only on work and your kids the type of legacy you wish to leave? It sure isn’t for me! I’m always telling my kids that my job is to raise them to be independent adults. In my opinion, that’s not only about having a job that pays their bills, but also having a healthy support network around them. How do you expect to teach your kids how to be a good friend if YOU aren’t being one?
3. This puts too much pressure on her marriage. As women, we need outlets. We need to talk things out. If you have no friends to do this with, guess who gets stuck listening to it all? You know – that guy you married – the one who loves you, but would rather stick forks in his eye balls than listen to you go on about something after 30 minutes! It’s our friends who listen, challenge and support us. It’s not fair to expect your husband to fulfill all your needs for friendships plus everything else he does!
Are friendships challenging? Do they take a lot of energy? Sure they do! But there is great reward in them too. Your job is not going to meet all your needs. Your kids will grow up and leave. A critical piece to successful businesses is diversification. The same goes with us! We need our families to meet certain needs. Then we need the “fun” friends, the “counselor” friends, the “spiritual advisor” friends, the “laugh til you drop” friends. The more types of friends the better. Now these roles can be filled by just a couple people or many, depending on you and your preferences. But having none is lousy self-care.
What benefits have you received from the various friendships in your life? How about the blessings you’ve received by being a good friend?