Fearlessness & Friendship in 2017

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Each year, I choose a word of the year, and strive to embody that word throughout the year.  This year, I chose the word ‘fearless’. When I choose the word of the year, I have a mental plan for what that word means to me. 

For 2017, when I chose the word fearless, I knew I wanted to be fearless in my actions, and not allow fear to rule my life, as I had in the past.  However, what I didn’t anticipate was the ability to apply the rule of being fearless in all aspects of my life; including friendship, events and more. 

I’ll never forget when I was in high school, a guy I was talking to on the phone told me that the word gullible wasn’t in the dictionary.  My response was, well I don’t have one close, so I’ll take your word for it.  That is a memory we often laugh at in my family, because it’s the moment I realized I was both naïve and maybe a bit blonde.  It may be many years later, but I’ve thought of this memory quite a bit lately. 

2017 has brought a variety of ups and downs.  I’ve traveled to amazing places, made memories, caught up with old friends, made new friends and even left friends behind. I’ve learned that some friendships are for a season only and not for a lifetime. I’ve worked hard to accept that the world of friendships isn’t mine to control. 

This year being fearless in friendship meant standing up for myself, taking the high road and letting go of things and people that don’t bring me joy or impact me in a positive way. For most of my life, I’ve heard my father say take the high road and since he’s such a wonderful man, I heed his wisdom.  However, part of taking the high road is learning to stand up for myself.  Standing up for myself is part of my journey to become fearless. 

Did you know that when someone attacks you or assumes something about you, without asking you, then you can stand up for yourself by wishing that person the best and walking away? You can.  You can also be honest when someone asks what happened.

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This year, someone, who had been in my life for years, made the decision they didn’t want to be my ‘friend’ anymore. And you know what, I’m okay with that. Being friends with someone, who decides that you are no longer helpful, that you can no longer advance them or thinks you want to be them, has no place in the positive life I am trying to live. 

Am I sad? Yes. 
Am I mad? No. Not at all. 

I’m sad, because I’ve shared so much of my life with this person and it’s normal that I’d grieve our friendship.  I’m sad, because this person really thought that everything I did was about them and it wasn’t.  I’m sad, because I thought taking the high road meant not responding to people when they asked what happened. In reality, I needed to stand up for myself. So now, if asked, I answer honestly, but I do not seek out others to tell.

Again, I am not mad.  Mad means I’m angry.  And I’m not going to allow this person to rule that much of my life.  That is where I’ve learned I can be fearless in my friendships.  I can decide to take the road less traveled, and experience beautiful views.  Views that include new friendships, when I’m not wrapped up in someone else’s life.  My hope is that one day I’ll be indifferent and I won’t care what they think of me or what they say about me, because I know who and what I am. 

I imagine, I’m not the only one who has experienced the death of a friendship.  Sometimes, we allow the death of our friendships to color our world in shades of black and grey. We don’t realize that if we breathe deep, what’s really happening is we’re being given a chance to see the friendship for what it really is – toxic.  When we rid ourselves of the toxicity, only then are we able to move forward and be much happier.  The reality is - hindsight is 20/20.

That memory of being gullible makes me laugh because now I know that being naive is a good thing.  It allows me to see the good in others, just like my father does, even when they are mostly toxic for me.  That doesn't mean that the time with the others doesn't teach us things about ourselves, others and the world.  

When you think about your friendships, both the current and the old ones, think about how you treat them and how they treat you.  Think about what your life would be like without them, and whether you’re hanging on because you enjoy their friendship or because you wonder what your life would be like without them.  Because if it’s the latter, I promise you that you’re beautiful, amazing and kick ass without them.