Being a Good Friend in a Crisis…
As i get older, I’m learning to embrace imperfection and know that life is a journey and not everything always ‘works out’.
I’m learning that the journey is the point and not holding out for the end result. Trying to be more present and be a better listener are serving me well. I’m finding that as crises around me present themselves, I feel more capable of seeing and feeling my way through instead of wanting to run and hide. In the past I would wanted to distract myself from the discomfort. I’m learning to be there for others even more fully and am embracing the feeling of being uncomfortable. Working through things in this fashion ironically is giving me more purpose and compassion and makes me realise even more that we can’t prepare for everything and we need to really stretch that resilience muscle.
Recently I’ve had a beautiful friend pass away, another friend’s daughter get a horrible diagnosis and another take me into their confidence with their financial struggles. Chaos and crisis are everywhere and things will always arise that are unpleasant. This is life. We don’t have to like it but it is what it is. We must take the good and the bad and the magical lessons are in between.
What we can control is how we react and interact with those close to us when they are in need. There are so many things we can say and often just showing up with an open heart is more than most do. It’s not always clear what words are appropriate. I’ve found that if you have an open heart and empathy for the other, you can never say the wrong thing. Even better, if you don’t know the right words, ask. Say, I don’t know what you need from me right now, but I’m here. Can I do something for you?
My magical friend Susie who is on her own journey recently launched a wonderful book, Fierce Joy – brave over perfect (order here). On her journey she found people didn’t always know what to do or how to act around her and so she wrote a short guide to assist anyone wanting to be a good friend in a crisis. You can see this here. Feel free to share this with others and I know they’ll appreciate it as you will need this at some stage in your life. I love her advice to ‘show up kindly, gently and shut up.’
Things don’t always work out so accept that and be a good friend. One day you’ll be on the receiving end and you’ll know what to say.