A support system is one of the key necessities for thriving in transition. If you don’t have a group (or a few) people who love you no matter what, then it’s time to dream up a new Pride. Your Pride may not be the cool kids. You know, the Moms who always know what to wear or the best organic grocery store/exercise class/new coffee spot, OR the Popular girls who walk down the halls impervious to pain, bad hair days and loneliness. You may be searching for belonging in the wrong places.
Sometimes we have friendships that are convenient, but in our gut we don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable around them. Last week, my friend told me that she was cornered at a party by a neighbor, who proceeded to spill intimate details of a mutual friend’s life under the guise of being concerned. Her gut had always told her not to trust this neighbor, and now she knew why. These kind of friends are the Drama Mama equivalent of the teenaged “Mean Girls”. And we’ve all got a few in our circles.
So, how do we find our Pride? The first step is to always trust your gut. If you don’t have trustworthy friends right now, that’s okay. In Square 2 of the change cycle, it is better to be alone then to rely on friends that aren’t Your People. This goes double for our daughters.
If your daughter is depressed because the popular girls don’t want her to sit at their lunch table, ask her why she wants to sit there. Why does she want friends who don’t see her for who she truly is? Then ask her, if those girls WANTED her to be with them, would she pick them as friends? This led to one of the best conversations I ever had with my middle child. She realized that the “popular girls” were not friends she would pick, given a choice. She was just drawn to them, because they didn’t want her…like a moth to a flame. She thought hanging around with them would make her popular.
Having popular friends doesn’t make you popular; being confident makes you popular.
And if those popular friends don’t support who you are, they aren’t Your People. Those are acquaintances, and they have their place. But you will know Your People, because you feel safe when you’re around them. They have earned the right to hear your story by accepting you exactly as you are. They make you feel more confident.
If you or your daughter don’t have a circle of friends that makes you feel confident, and you’re feeling completely alone as we talked about in Square 1, you can use Square 2 to dream up a new Pride. If you, or your daughter, are feeling hopeless about finding good friends, try creating something with your hands to get the Square 2 dream juices flowing. You can write in a journal, knit, draw, surf for delicious food or travel destinations on the internet, or anything else that makes you feel more hopeful. In this frame of mind, you or your daughter can spend some time describing the qualities of your ideal BFF. Then the beauty of Square 2 can begin.
Once you dream it, the computer that lives between your ears will start noticing people like that dream description. Your daughter might notice a new face in homeroom and forge a connection. Your brain is a great sorter, once you give it a positive value to compare to.
Still wondering where your ideal friends might be hanging out? Remember the things that you love to do, or loved to do as a kid, and then GO DO THOSE THINGS. Your People, your Pride, will be there waiting for you–because they are like you! Encourage your daughter to try writing poetry (dark poetry appeals to her teen angst) or singing or any other club that appeals to her. I found my Pride when I started life coach training. I built my Pride in yoga classes, because yoga made me feel so darn good. My middle child found her Pride at the Creative Writing department at FSU. My youngest found her Pride when she went out for volleyball. It’s all about following what lights YOU up.
You don’t need many friends to make a Pride, just a few who make your heart sing will suffice. Once you feel supported by friends who share your dreams, then a whole world of possibility opens up for both you and your daughter.
P.S. If you need a little help dreaming up your perfect pride of friends, I’m an expert. Square 2 Dreaming is my favorite square, and I would live there all the time, if my cray-cray life would allow it. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can figure it out together!