Resolutions and Reconnecting

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New Year’s resolutions are often broken or forgotten, right? Not this one. Not for me.

Back in early January, I’d written a post about having a fresh start and making resolutions, which I don’t like to do. They’re too much pressure. Instead, I prefer to strive for goals throughout the year.

BUT… This year I did make one resolution I was determined to follow through with:

Build deeper, more meaningful, richer relationships. Nourish those I have and create new ones, even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone.

Last fall, a friend introduced me to a book, The Gifts of Imperfection, by author and motivational speaker, Brene Brown, Ph.D. She writes about the importance of human connections. It reminded me that this is an area where I could use some improvement.

Brene says, “I define connections as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

Friends

I’ve taken my New Year’s resolution to heart. I’ve been mindful of connecting more with friends and family, and building new friendships.

It takes time and effort to connect. But the benefits are so rich, it makes it all worth it.

A great example of this is my experience this past weekend.

A brief background: I was on the speech team in junior college. I’d never felt such strong camaraderie and connection. We worked on speeches together, traveled together for tournaments, and became each other’s vital source of encouragement and support.

We were united by the same goal: to be the best individual speaker or debater we could be, for our own personal development, and for the success of the team. We lifted each other up, in good times and in bad.

We became close friends during the two or three years we competed. We were inseparable, like we were looped together by an imaginary string.

Who do you spend most of your time with? Are they someone who you want to reflect? Do they push you to be the best version of yourself?  I'm so grateful to be building a team of positive caring and motivated women who are reaching out daily to help others.  We help each other build each other up and celebrate successes together.  Each of us are surrounded by other strong motivated women building a business in our own way!  #girlpower #girlbosses #positivevibes #lawofattraction by @crysp via http://ift.tt/1RAKbXL

Even though we’d vowed to keep in contact, after graduation we went our separate ways. We lost touch. Life happened and time flew by. It had been nearly 35 years since we’d seen each other.

Until last weekend.

It was challenging, as the four of us live in different cities. But we made it happen. We met in a central area at a restaurant for lunch. We’d kept in touch through social media, but… I admit, I was a bit nervous. Would we still feel that connection we’d had so many years ago?

I was thrilled that the answer was a resounding YES.

After huge, tight bear hugs and big smiles, we started to catch up on the past 30-plus years. Marriages, children, divorces, careers. It wasn’t just “surface” talk. We reconnected on a deep, emotional level. We inspired and empowered each other all over again. I could see why I liked them so much when I was 19.

Now we’re grown, with more experience and wisdom. Robert has a son and is an award-winning speech coach, at the college where we all first met. Paige is an accomplished businesswoman, now a stay-at-home mom of twin girls. Alexis has a teenager and preteen twins. She’s also a criminal defense attorney. (not their real names). I’ve been married 29 years, with two daughters in their twenties. I’m a writer and mental health advocate.

We’ve all taken different paths. But that string that held us together so closely at one time has merely stretched, over time and miles. We forged a bond that won’t break.

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At the end of our three-hour lunch, Robert looked around the table and said, “As I’ve been listening to each of you talk, I’ve realized something. We’re all doing what we’re passionate about.” That comment gave me goosebumps. He summed it up perfectly. Maybe that passion is our common link.

And it’s what I’ve always wanted for myself and now, for my daughters. I encourage them to figure out what they love and live their lives filled with passion and purpose.

Make connections. Nourish those relationships. Don’t let the special ones drift away.

We can’t get through this life alone. We aren’t meant to. We’re here to help each other.

At the end of our lunch, we had someone take a picture of us. I showed it to my daughters and they both said, “Mom, you all look so happy!” We were.

And we definitely won’t wait another thirty-something years before we see each other again.

Winnie the Pooh usually hits the nail on the head when it comes to displaying love for your BFF.

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Time to Connect

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Ah, it feels nice to sit here at my computer and write a blog post again. I took time off of social media during the holidays. The past few weeks have been filled with family, friends, food (too much, of course), and special moments.

I spent time with family I usually see just once a year because we’re scattered throughout the world. I met my 10-month-old great nephew for the first time and couldn’t get enough of him. My husband Alex and I spent lots of time with our daughters, who live away from home. It was awesome to re-connect.

But the holidays weren’t all magic and sparkle. There was anxiety too, which has a way of creeping in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I couldn’t keep track of the times I told myself to take a deep breath and relax.

To add to the stress, we started a major remodel on our business the week after Thanksgiving. I know… not great timing.

Life is calming down a bit now — sort of. It felt good to box up our holiday decorations and declutter. The house looks a little bare, but fresh.

January is a clean slate.It's a new year and a fresh start! Make 2015 be your best year yet and do things that make you happy! Live for you!! Happy New Year!

Yesterday Alex asked what my New Year’s resolutions are. I don’t like to make them, it’s too much pressure. I prefer to set goals throughout the year, instead of a long list in early January. But his question got me thinking: is there anything I’d really like to change? Some area in my life I want to improve?

Like many people, I want to eat healthy, exercise, and lose five pounds. I want to read more and carve out time to meditate, do yoga, and work on the puzzles and mindfulness coloring book my mom and dad gave me for my birthday last fall.

But there’s something else I want to work on, a different type of resolution for me.

Connections.

A few months ago, I had coffee with a friend (I’ll call her Teresa). She talked about the importance of finding and maintaining connections. I was intrigued because this is one area in my life I’d like to improve.

Life is all about connecting with others and being vulnerable enough to let them into our lives. Friends to laugh with, cry with, learn from, share experiences with, to support, to love.

I  have a close group of friends and wonderful family relationships. But I’ll be the first to admit I’m not great at taking the initiative to keep in contact or arrange time to get together. Building and nurturing friendships takes effort, for both sides.

Pinning on this board...It helps me in my own journey and I hope it helps in yours. Thanks for being there, Pinterest people.

Teresa told me about author and motivational speaker, Brene Brown, Ph.D., and  suggested I read Brene’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.” Alex bought it for me for Christmas and so far I’ve read the first couple of chapters.

I relate to much of what Brene talks about, and I love this quote:

“I define connections as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

It’s giving and receiving with an open heart. And despite the fear of rejection, putting yourself out there to connect on a personal or professional level. Maybe it’s asking a friend to go to lunch, joining a club, taking a class, or calling a business contact to further your career.

Connect.

So that’s my resolution: to nourish the relationships I have and create new ones, even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone.

I’m excited to see what bonds will forge this next year.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2018!

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