Are You A Fair-Weather Friend?

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Fair-weather friend: A friend who supports others only when it is easy and convenient to do so: “I thought Jane would always stick by me, but when I got into trouble, she turned out to be a fair-weather friend.”

You’ve probably had some. Hopefully you haven’t been one. But odds are, you treat yourself like this all the time. Let me explain.

When you do well at work, spend quality time with family, make smart health choices, stay within your budget, make time to rest and recharge, you probably give yourself a pat on the back. But when you struggle with work, neglect your family, make dumb health choices, overspend, or burn out, your inner critic yells, “You idiot. You blew it again. You’ll never get this. You’re worthless. Why even try?”

Sound familiar? Perhaps not, but that’s the running dialogue for a lot of us.

If you had a friend who was only supportive when you were succeeding and always critical or absent when you were struggling, would you keep hanging out? I hope not.

Yet many of us never break from the fair-weather friend within us. We allow the lies, discouragement, negativity, and conditional love to remain. As a result, we’re never at peace.

When you’re having a hard day, what you need most from yourself is compassion, not judgement. When you mess up again, what you need most from yourself is encouragement, not criticism.

Many of us never learn how to actually be kind to ourselves. So we look to others for affirmation or try to numb our pain in destructive ways.

And ironically, we tell ourselves that this lack of self-support somehow makes us stronger. As if hurting ourselves was somehow helping. How’s that working for you?

Think of someone you really love. Would you want them to talk to themselves the way you talk to yourself? Why not? Give yourself a break. You are a human being. Imperfect. In progress. On the journey. Welcome to the club.

Are you ready to move forward? Here’s how to ditch your inner fair-weather friend:

  1. Believe the truth that you are deserving of love.
  2. Reject the lie that you are deserving of hate.
  3. Support yourself when you are struggling.

As you do these, you will discover that self-compassion makes you stronger, not weaker. Your personal growth will accelerate instead of stall. And you will actually become a kinder, more generous person because you’ve learned how to love yourself.

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The Bridges of Chara

The ideal emotional life is one in which joy is your base of operations and you use the strength it gives you to build bridges to anger, sadness, shame, disgust, fear, and hopeless despair.

 

 

 

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I recently completed The Bridges of Chara (free to read if you own an Amazon tablet). It’s an allegory of how our emotions work and I found it to be extremely helpful.

The big idea is that we have all these negative emotions (represented as islands) which are a part of life and need to be dealt with. But as we engage with them, it’s easy to get stuck on them and fail to return to a place of joy. The ideal emotional life is one in which joy is your base of operations and you use the strength it gives you to build bridges to anger, sadness, shame, disgust, fear, and hopeless despair. But upon arriving, you always return back to a place of joy. Thriving is defined, in part, by learning how to continually take these journeys back and forth and never getting stuck on any one “island” for too long.

Here’s a quick sketch I did to represent it:

screenshot-2016-10-26-at-2-55-54-pmOf course, the book goes into greater detail and this flyby doesn’t really do it justice. But I think you get the idea.

What I found so helpful about this book was how it validated the importance of feeling my negative emotions. It’s easy for me to forget that and believe that the ideal is to be in a state of constant joy (and then, ironically, feel guilty when I’m not). It reminded me a bit of Inside Out in that regard.

Is joy your base of operations? Do you regularly visit the negative emotions as appropriate? Have you gotten stuck on any of the islands? Check out The Bridges of Chara for more.

Was this helpful? Please leave a comment or share it with others.

Stress Response

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When stressed out, most people will either:

  1. Run from the stress
  2. Hide from the stress
  3. Face the stress

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Those who consistently run from the stress only make it worse. They allow fear to win and empower their problems with their procrastination and avoidance.

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Those who consistently hide from the stress fall into self-destruction and self-deception. They allow bad habits and lies to become the norm in their lives. They become shells of who they were meant to be and slaves to their excuses.

Those who consistently face the stress have the scars to prove it but more strength for going through it. They refuse to allow the chaos of life to control their emotions and determine their direction. At their best, they are the brave ones who are honest with themselves, God, and others. As a result, they live on top of stress rather than beneath it.

Most of us move between these three responses depending on the situation. But if you had to pick just one, which would you say is most common for you? Why? Is it serving you well? If not, what would it look like to start making a change?