I love coffee. Especially on a March morning when there's a light snow falling. I love to meet friends for lattes (and yoga) and spend time talking about the things that are important to us.
Lately I've been pondering how much I value healthy relationships. Some people value collecting material things, others value power, and I've certainly had many clients over the years that over-value thinness (anorexia/bulimia), but I value connection. When I'm in connection with myself I'm in touch with my thoughts and feelings and able to make decisions and choices from a state of self-awareness. When I feel overwhelmed by a situation or stressed out, I feel a disconnect and I'm more likely to feel anxious or down. And if I turn that on myself I'm in my negative self-esteem or low self-esteem. Alternatively, when I'm my most grounded, balanced place and acting from my highest self awareness I'm in my healthy self-esteem.
Whether I feel good or bad about myself impacts my relationships because that's who I bring to the relationship. If I bring my best self it's going to be a lot more fun than if I bring my insecure, negative self. Have you ever had a friend that constantly competed with you, or someone who took pot shots at you for no reason? Maybe you caught yourself doing those things when you felt insecure or irritated with someone you were around? That's bringing low self-esteem into the friendship, and when you are filled with your own unresolved insecurities the friendship is at risk to become toxic. Healthy relationships of all sorts - friendships, marriage, family connections, coffee partners - require mututality and both individuals must bring their healthy selves to the table.
Of course no one feels great all the time. But in friendship there is love, compassion and understanding (empathic connection) and when you or your pal feel bad, you mirror reality (you really are lovable) and healing occurs. A talk over coffee or on the phone can be uplifting and energizing. If the relationship has become toxic it can be exhausting and draining. If you've tried to resolve the conflicts in the friendship and keep running up against the same issues, it may be time to let go.
So let's work to bring our best selves to our relationships and create connections that are energizing, supportive, mutual, compassionate and loving. I'll have another vanilla latte now!