I just got back from a weekend at the Jersey shore with my best friend. She is the kind of friend who knows me so well she can almost read my thoughts. She knows of my past struggles with binge-eating and is aware of my continued battle with the critical voices in my head that want to minimize my hard work and ignore my successes. So, when I wrote two days ago that I was worried about the temptations of “beach food”, I forgot to factor in that my best friend would, of course, be there by my side for every meal and snack. Together, we navigated what I had originally perceived as the “dangerous waters” of countless pizza, ice cream, funnel cake, fudge, french fries, and cotton candy shops. Each day we planned out where we would eat our main meals (chomping on a fresh peach as we walked through the waves at the beach’s edge on Saturday morning was probably the most memorable “meal”) and had one or two other “desirable” foods during snack times. I never felt that feeling of being out of control of my eating and never felt unsatisfied either. My body, mind, and spirit were at peace.
There’s something so wonderful about a friend who knows you and loves you “as is”. My best friend is one such person. It took a while for me to open up to her, however. My tendency is to bottle up my true feelings and show a “happy face” to the world. Yet, many years ago, I began opening up to her and now she’s one of the few people in the world who know all of my struggles and flaws and true feelings. She has never left me or said she was disappointed in me or even judged me for a minute. True friendship is a gift. It’s not one that comes easy for all of us. It was something I had to work at…trusting a little more, communicating a little more, finding a balance between giving and taking, and learning to assert myself a little more. But the rewards are so worth it.
I hope you have someone in your life today who you consider a true friend and that you are a true friend to someone. If friendship is difficult for you, consider making a list of the things that make it hard for you to establish or maintain friendships. It’s possible there’s something small on the list that you can begin to address today to put you back on the road towards true friendship.
When I was a teen, one of my favorite songs, “Friends”, by Michael W. Smith went like this: “Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them. And a friend will not say, ‘never’, ’cause the welcome will not end…”. Gather your friends near today!
Peace, joy, and health!