Recently I went out for dinner with a group of ladies that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through Twitter (yes, deniers – meaningful relationships can and do spawn from social media. Get over it already). Life, what with its knack for getting in the ways of even the best laid plans, means that we aren’t able to get together as much as we’d like. But when we do, we sure make it count.
Rarely in my life can I claim to have encountered the much fabled “sisterhood”-type bond between women. If such a thing exists at all, I’d say this group is as close as you might get. Yes, there’s a lot of laughing, but there’s also a lot of seriousness too. When we get our chance to congregate, be it in a living room or around a restaurant table, hearts are often bared, stories are always shared, and sometimes tears are even shed. What I love the most about these times is the safety of the circle and how the space becomes one of shameless confessions (both good and bad) and very real gestures of camaraderie and support.
I swear – it’s not as though we intend to turn our girls’ nights into sporadic meetings of sisterly support, but somehow it just happens (and that’s not a bad thing).
Now, I’ll admit: there are times when I feel like a bit of an outlier in the group. For starters, the majority of the ladies present are married with children. There’s also a bit of an age gap between myself and the rest, which is not to imply a ‘young grasshopper and the wise elders’ scenario or anything like that (ladies, I swear!). Actually, I think of these women as all being a step or two ahead of me on the road of life. These minor differences by no means make me feel excluded, but they do mean that I am often privy to shared experiences and lessons learned and I can’t help but feel like if I’m smart, I could stand to learn a lot from them.
This particular night was one chock full of those lessons. Some were very overt, presenting themselves soundly in the advice from one woman to another. Others were more subversive, coming through in the stories we were sharing. I saw trends popping up everywhere – every time someone responded with a, “I know what you mean…” or “You’ve got that right!” I realized that, as unique as each woman’s situation is, her overall experiences didn’t exist in a bubble. It felt as though we’re all meandering through the same maze, hitting similar snares and wonders and calling over the hedges as we each try to figure our way through.
When I left that night, my mind was swimming. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the universe had just handed me a freebie – it was just up to me to figure out whether I’d take it or take it for granted. So I went home and jotted down a list of some of the most valuable take-aways I had gleaned from the evening. By popular demand, I’m now sharing them with you.
And so, in no particular order, I give you The Lesson List:
- People will put you through whatever you continue to put up with.
- Assume that no one else is going to make sure you’re getting what you need out of life. It’s up to you to go for what you need when you need it.
- Don’t be afraid to put your foot down when you’ve had enough.
- Turn to your friends when you need support. This may seem like a given, but sometimes we don’t realize how much love there is to be found in our everyday friendships.
- There is no shame in therapy, so don’t let shame or stigma stop you from getting a little extra help when you feel lost and need some outside perspective.
- It’s great when there’s love in a relationship, but don’t expect that alone to make all things equal between you and your partner.
- In cases of conflict don’t waste time fighting over how you got to that point. Focus instead on what needs to happen in order to reach a solution to the problem.
- The resolve you need to move past a negative situation will come when you acknowledge your love of self and true desire for something better.
You might not find everything on this list to necessarily be earth-shattering revelations. Maybe you already live by some of these points yourself. But sometimes, when it comes to taking care of ourselves, I think we can all use a little direction.
You are good. You are worthy. You are enough. You deserve to be happy.
What do you think? Is there anything you’d add to the list? Have you ever learned profound pieces of life advice in unexpected places? Share your wisdom in the comments.