Friday, April 26, 2013

Tend your friendships

You and I already know that a strong network of family and friends is good for our health and well-being. Jim Harter, a chief scientist at Gallup and co-author of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, conducted research that showed America's happiest people get at least six hours a day of interaction with friends or family. That's a lot, isn't it? I don't know what that means for those of us who work out of our homes. Of course, those of you who work in an office aren't always among "friends or family" either.

Still, we get the point: Friends and family—a positive social network—these are important to our well-being. I will never forget that when I was in the throes of my divorce and all the attendant grief and fears, I isolated myself. My attention focused on my three sons and on sheer survival. I recall feeling that I just wanted to go into a hole and pull the cover over the top of me! Thankfully, I had two dear friends who would not let me do that. They kept calling, stopping by to see me, sending cards and notes. Jim and Carol were persistent. I'm eternally grateful for that ... because in time, I came out of my fog and needed people to whom I could reach out.

Now I know how absolutely essential are my family and friends. I am particularly aware of my need for strong friendships with other women. We inhabit similar bodies and often see things in the same or similar ways. I find that so helpful as I process the various experiences of my life. I have many "sisters" who are there for each other in times of joy and of sadness. Whatever would I do without that?

And I'm really blessed to have a blood sister with whom to share all the ups and downs of life, too. Cheryl and I call each other "womb mates" and often say how great it is to have someone who "knew us when" and with whom we don't need to explain things. She is both sister and friend. I don't take that for granted. Nor do I take for granted any of my friendships and family relationships. I am grateful for them all and want to tend and nurture them carefully.

How about you? What relationships need tending today?

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