The Importance of Equal Friendships

Do you ever struggle with friendships? Do you feel like you’re constantly putting all the effort in but getting very little back? Or perhaps you feel constantly frustrated with a friend?

When I was going through my CBT years ago I learned all about the importance of equal friendships. I’ll share what I learned below, as it made such a huge difference in how I view friendships now, which has made them a lot healthier.

Do you feel like you’re above your friend?

We often hear phrases about people being above, or below others. What does this mean? If an individual feels above another person, often they feel they are better, or in a more advantagious position to them. They may have feelings of boastfulness, or feel pity upon the other person.

However, when a person feels below someone else, they don’t feel as good, or good enough for that person. They idolise them, put them on a pedestal, and often they can do no wrong. The person may feel belittled, and often ‘small’ in comparison.

It takes an honest person to admit if they feel either above, or below someone else.

When it comes to friendships, where do you stand?

So, thinking about being above or below a friend may seem odd… but think about the people in your life. Pick a few of them, then go through them one at a time.

Ask yourself truly, how do you feel? Do you feel like you’re above them? Maybe you have qualities that you admire more than theirs? Or perhaps you feel that your job/ accommodation etc is better than theirs? Do you feel like you’re achieving really well, but they aren’t? Be honest with yourself. No one is judging you here, and the only way through this is to really be accountable for how you feel. No one else needs to know.

Likewise, do you feel below your friend? Have you put them on a pedestal? Do you look at what they have and feel envy? Do you feel worthless compared to them?

It’s really important to think about where you stand within your friendship. Acknowledge where you are. Only then can you start to move forward onto healthier friendships.

Do you ever think about how they may feel?

Mind reading is the worst thing to do. But often, we find ourselves doing it anyway. So, once you have reflected on how you feel, think about them. Do you get the feeling that they see themselves as above you? Do you think that they look down on you? Often when you are talking to them, do you feel a burden?

Or, do you think that they feel below you? Are you always trying to halt what you say so that they don’t become envious, or feel down because in your mind, they have put you above themselves.

Why unequal friendships fail

I know this blog post is difficult to read, with all the above and below references. But the jist of it is; if you have an unequal friendship, (regardless of who is doing the thinking), it will fail.

This is a difficult pill to swallow but unfortunately, too many negative emotions take place, or negative connotations. These feelings can range from bitterness, to resentment, envy and jealousy.

If you feel below a friend, you will always be scrambling to be better and will feel envy, jealously, and be a bit needier. If you feel above a friend, the opposite will happen. You will almost resent them being around you, as you don’t feel they bring your life added value. The same would happen if you believe your friend has either of these feelings and thoughts.

What should you do about unequal friendships?

If you feel like a friendship of yours is unequal, I would seriously consider the future of it. It isn’t healthy to keep chasing a friend, nor is it fair if a friend has to keep chasing you.

Try to have some time apart from the friend, but don’t burn bridges or close doors completely. Just try and spend some time on the friendships that are equal. However, if you do struggle, then try and keep some things light and laid back. As in time, you can find that as life goes on, friendships can absolutely level out again.

No one wants to be in an unequal friendship. Trust me, I have been there. When you see yourself as equal to others, and they see the same way, then the magic of friendship truly happens. If however, there is imbalance and inequality, the friendship will suffer tremendously. Work on yourself. Work on your self-esteem if you find yourself feeling below others. If however you feel above your friends, then take some time to yourself to truly reflect on what is important in life, and if it is fair to string people along.

Once you start to work on yourself, and what YOU can control in your life, you gain a lot of self-awareness. Once you feel equal to others, then a friendship flows naturally, with mutual respect, kindness and love. Those are the truly special friendships.

Don’t lose hope entirely, as I said above, take some time to focus on the healthier friendships in your life. But more important, to focus on YOU. Doors don’t have to be sealed shut, locked and key thrown away. Leave them ajar… until the levels can even out once more to be healthier for you both.

I hope that this article has helped give you an insight into unequal friendships. Read more about friendships here, and here.

What to do When Friendships Change

The hard thing with friendships is that they don’t come with an expiry date. They don’t even come with a best before date. That means that it can be extremely hard to tell when a friendship has run its course and to know when your efforts are no longer deserved. Below we will explore what you can do when friendships change.

Firstly we need to think about why a friendship may have changed. Often a lot of the people wondering about their friendship will be feeling confused, hurt and sometimes even heartbroken if it is been a long-term friendship. There are many reasons as to why a friendship may have run its course, or certainly why it may have changed.

People Change, So Friendships Change

To start with, it’s really important to recognise the fact that people change. We change constantly. Sometimes, this can be for the best, and sometimes this may create a rift between a friendship. Perhaps one person has matured, or one person may have experienced a change in life circumstances and this has had a reflection on the way they are behaving or treating others.

People change, and life changes for a whole host of reasons. It’s sad when it happens, but unfortunately in life, change comes and there is nothing you can do about it. So when you are reflecting on your friendship, and wondering why it has changed, ask yourself- what has changed in your friends life? Or your life? Have they changed as a person? Do they still have the same ethics and morales as before? Has the circle around them changed?

Sometimes, the only change is their behaviour with you. This can be caused by a number of things, it could be that they see themselves as on a different level to you (either above or below) and this creates a very unhealthy friendship. It could be that they have found something that you have said or done, whether intentional or not, upsetting or annoying. They may not have been able to communicate this to you for whatever reason, but you are left wondering what you have done and the void between you both just gets greater and greater. Unfortunately, if they haven’t been decent or mature enough to discuss this with you, it is likely that they don’t want to salvage a friendship and are happy to part ways.

Another reason for your friendship changing could be because they see you as competition. Some people are naturally very insecure about their own life and so, they view friendships as a competition. They want to be the one with the better relationship, the better job and have the better situation in life. If you have something that they view as better as them, they won’t like this. Unfortunately, this is linked to where they situate themselves in accordance to you. They see you as beneath them, so if you have something in your life that they view as above them, they will be holding this against you. The worst thing is, you will have no idea! You are probably sat there right now, dwelling on the friendship, wondering what on earth you have done wrong. The answer is nothing! They are just sucking on a very bitter pill.

How have you treated your friend?

It’s so sad when a friendship changes its dynamic and when someone you love and care about becomes very distant towards you. But the one thing you have to ask yourself, is how have you treated your friend? Can you hold your head high, knowing that you have been kind, decent, caring and loving towards them? If you are struggling to pinpoint where it went wrong, or why they have changed their behaviour, chances are it has nothing to do with you.

If you can walk away from this knowing that you did the best you possibly could, that you were a decent friend to them… then try and hold onto that. I know it’s hard, I know how much this must hurt right now. But, hold onto that feeling knowing YOU did absolutely everything you could for them and that you stayed true to yourself.

Stop chasing

This is the fundamental rule. STOP CHASING. If you’d like to know more about why it’s not healthy to chase friendships, read my blog post here. Your friendship has changed… the person on the other side isn’t being the same with you. Chasing them is only going to make this worse. It will irritate them, annoy them. As time goes on, the rift gets deeper the more you chase. Save yourself dignity and grace. If you know you’ve been kind and good to them, walk away and don’t chase. If you think or know you have said something upsetting, or done something then apologise ONCE and walk away if their hostile behaviour continues.

I had a friendship recently that changed. She meant the absolute world to me. I honestly never thought it would change, but then again, it wasn’t the first time with this friend. We had been on and off as much as Ross and Rachel in Friends. I knew I had been the absolute best I could be, sent gifts in the post, sent messages and offered to call whenever she needed. I got literally nada back. Now… I KNEW in my heart that I had been my kind self, I had been the friend I had always been with her. It wasn’t appreciated, wanted or returned. So, I walked away. I recognised that the more I tried to talk to her, the more hostile and cold she was being toward me. It was time to stop chasing and to let things be. Trust me, I know how hard this is. But it’s the right thing to do.

Don’t end up regretting the now

Right NOW, as much as it hurts and as much as you feel lost, confused, hurt and heartbroken, it is important to stay true to the kind person you are. Don’t end up regretting the now. Don’t end up saying or doing something you will regret. When it comes to social media, hide them from your feed rather than unfriend them and don’t search or look at their posts or stories. On Instagram you can mute them, on Facebook you can unfollow. This will save you from deleting them and doing something very permanent.

Don’t end up saying something you don’t mean. You obviously really care for your friend, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right now. I still care for my friend… I probably always will and so as much as I am hurt, disappointed, let down and cross at their behaviour, I am not going to say something that I will regret. In this situation, it’s not an eye for an eye. It’s a swallow the feeling of ‘Well, if I just say this for closure…‘ and just allow your own emotions and feelings to pass.

You never know what life has in store for you. You never know if and when that friend may come back to you, more willing to make an effort. No you shouldn’t be walked all over, and of course have healthy boundaries if and when this does happen again. But I think that’s the magic of life, you just never know when your paths may cross again and when they may get back in touch, with a different attitude then they have right now with you. That’s why, unless it is absolutely necessary and they are a toxic, hateful person, don’t burn bridges! You never know when your friend may come back into your life naturally.

Saying that, it’s easy to wish them back. I do it almost everyday… but I miss and feel things deeply. I am missing my friend, but I also know that she has every right to have who she wants in her life right now. If I am not someone she wants actively in her life at this moment in time, then she has every right to decide that for herself. I am not going to force something, believe me, I have tried that in the past and it became apparent very soon that it just ends up making matters worse. It’s best to allow the feelings to happen in your head and heart, to let them be and to work on your own self-care, self love and self esteem. Your friend may, or may not, return into your life one day. But in the mean time, don’t sit around and dwell.

Focus on what and who you have in your life

Who do you have in your life right now? What positives in your life do you have? Focus on them. Despite a long term friendship changing dynamics for me, I know I have a circle of beautiful friends I have put my attention onto. They are the ones that will get my random calls, texts and jokes. They are the ones I will see as soon as I physically can. I also have an awesome family, husband and children, plus I have a lot of work on that I need to put my attention into.

If you are looking to make new friends, then go out and seek the opportunities. Talk on your local Facebook groups, start a hobby where you can unite with like-minded folk and put yourself out into the world. Just because one person can’t recognise and appreciate your friendship, it doesn’t mean everyone else can’t.

Keep busy. Your mind will naturally gravitate towards this. Friendships ending hurt. They hurt as much as losing a loved one, or a relationship ending. It’s a loss at the end of the day. So you are well within your rights to feel this pain, to cry and to feel sorry for yourself. But time is a great healer. So while you wait for it to pass, keep busy. Don’t go looking on their social media accounts, don’t message them. Message someone else, join positive social media forums that are linked to your interests, call another friend. Start a home project or craft project. Volunteer somewhere. Keep yourself busy, and soon that hurt will reduce each day. You will soon realise your true worth, and be able to move on from the friendship.

There is nothing wrong with you

There isn’t anything wrong with you. Friendships do break down, they do get distant. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person. It just means that the person has served their purpose in your life, and for whatever reason, the door closes. But as they say, there is another opening up.

Wish your friend well, send them virtual distant love and well wishes and say goodbye in your head. It may, or may not be forever. But be the lovely soul that you are and wish them well, then move on with your life. It’s sad but you have to find a better friendship that is more suited to where you’re now at in your life.

Write down what you want from a friendship, write down what you deserve from a friendship. My betting is, that neither of those answers aligns with the friendship that has changed. Now go out and seek one that fits with your description more, or maybe you already have it. Spend your time nurturing those friendships instead. That is what I have done, and it’s been so good for me. I feel closer to those friends, more grateful. I wish my friend well, and I guess I will always miss her in my life. But I also know when it’s time to move on and to stop chasing someone that doesn’t want to be chased anymore. I can recognise that for her, I am not someone she wants in her life currently. As much as it hurts, as confusing as it is, the best thing I can do for her and myself is to walk away with the memories of good times… and focus on great times with others in my future.

Now it’s time for you to do the same…

If you found this blog post helpful, perhaps you’d like to read this blog post based on the friendship game everyone should be playing.

What Would You Change Right Now In Your Life If You Could?

Part of mindfulness, is to accept life for what it is. Often we are told when it comes to our mental health, to come to terms with our lives as they are, to not get down about what we are lacking in life. Although this is true, we should be accepting of our lives and how they are now, it doesn’t mean you can’t dream.

When I was in the darkest days of my anxiety, I would never dream of things in my future. Of course I wanted my life to change. But there was a huge difference. Wishing for change, and dreaming for change and taking action to change your life is entirely different. The first one will put you in a low mood which is hard to escape, whereas the second will give you the motivation to dream and change your life for the better.

What type of things can you make positive steps towards?

You could be dreaming of anything.. but the key is not to obsess over it and base your happiness with it. Learn to be happy in the moment, to accept your life as it is. You will not become happier when you achieve your goals, but you will expand your life, perhaps feel more accomplished and more confident. Happiness doesn’t last… it’s a feeling that comes and goes. So learn to be happy now.

You can make positive steps towards a variety of things. Here’s my list:

1. I’d love to lose weight. I won’t be happier when it happens but I will feel more confident in my own skin, so I have started calorie counting and I need to make healthy small changes each week. This way I’m more likely to stick to it rather than a crash diet.

2. I wouldn’t have nerves and anxieties and all of the physical symptoms that come with it. I, of course, hate that I suffer with anxiety and get nervous about the smallest of situations. So yes, I would love to change this. But ultimately, as I work on myself all the time and bit by bit, this area of my life does become easier.

3. Get back into driving. Those who know me well, know how much I’d love to get back into driving and be confident again. I know this is a case of mind over matter. I won’t be happier if I could drive, but I certainly would be proud of myself and it would make my life easier. That is why this is a goal I will work on in the long run, but I only have to do it for myself and no one else.

4. Be more independent. At times I worry that I’m too reliant on other people. Not just physically, but mentally, I am always seeking reassurance from others. I need to gain confidence and be more independent. This wouldn’t make me happier, but it would be a positive step for self development.

So these are four things that I feel would better my life. I know I won’t be happier, but they are goals I have for myself for my future. When you face a list of goals, at times it can be overwhelming. But you have to look back before you look forward. Look at how far you’ve come so far. These are goals of mine from the past to show you what I mean;

5. I used to feel like I wanted a job writing from home. For me it was always my dream to be a writer and I wanted a job that would fit around my children but also allow me to cope easier with my anxieties. I have managed to achieve that. I pinch myself everyday that I am here, earning a living writing for others. It hasn’t been an easy journey and I have pushed myself to my limits, but it has been worth it. This really is proof of working hard to achieve a goal and a dream.

2. I have always suffered with bad knees, I wanted to have less achy knees. I was given two surgeries for my knees and although they do still ache on and off, they are nothing like they used to be. The surgery was scary and was a leap of faith but I’m glad to have done it. When they ache now I know they’re not as bad. I also know exercises I can do to help further strengthen them.

3. I wanted to worry less about my social life. I wanted to be confident in the friends I saw- I have achieved that. It took some time but I realised how important it was to let go of those who caused me distress and hurt. I had to focus on the friends who made an effort and learn to play the tennis game. This was hard to start with, but now I am truly lucky to have a group of supportive friends around me, and I know these are the best ones for me.

I have had to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to grow. It’s been hard and you really need to be patient, progress doesn’t happen easily or over night. However, you can put your mind to it and set small goals in order to achieve growth.

There are things I have changed in my life over the past few years for the better and I am so proud of myself for that. However, there are still things I’d change. In the mean time though, I am grateful for life as it is right now and I am happy and content. Going forward I will still push myself and try and achieve these new goals too.

What changes would you like to make in your life going forward?

Take a look at my blog post on friendships here…

Find out how to boost your soul here….

The Friendship Timeline Theory That Changed My Attitude.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, when I explained the game of ‘Friendship Tennis’ I went through counselling with my local NHS mental health service. I knew I needed to seek a little guidance and help to boost myself and get me out of the dark hole I had found myself in. This was when I found out about the friendship timeline theory that changed my attitude.

One of the reassuring themes that we discussed was my overwhelming habit of feeling negative about myself and not feeling good enough.

Friendships were the reason I felt bad about myself.

Or so I thought, anyway. But I felt bad about myself because I wasn’t investing in myself enough. Thankfully, with my counsellor, I began working on my self-esteem and building it back up by doing things for myself.

Building up my self esteem is ultimately what made me feel better about myself, my life and those in it. More of that another time! If you need to boost your self esteem- this book on Amazon is amazing.

At the time though, I was always dwelling on the past. It’s an extremely common thing to do when you have anxieties. In particular, I was dwelling on those that had left my life. I was constantly blaming myself for the friendships that had departed. I was constantly questioning what was wrong with me.

It all changed when I learnt about timelines and friendships.

I once questioned my counsellor on why people leave. It was then that he gave me advice that I have taken away and never forgotten. It has completely changed my view on life and friendships. I will explain the theory below.

In life, we have a timeline. This runs linear. But what if our friendships don’t run linear? Also, imagine all of the hundreds of people that will cross our path in life. Do we really imagine that we can carry them forwards, for the rest of our lives along side us?

Friendships can’t last the entirety of our lives. There are far too many people to meet, that will weave in and out of our lives. Friendships also don’t have to run in a straight line. Some friendships come and go and come back at a later date again. Some come and then go, on with their own pathway in life.

Some friends are for a season, a reason or a lifetime.

This is a well known saying that I have heard hundreds of time. But now more than ever it makes sense. Not everyone can always be a part of your life. Some are there for a season. Some suit your current lifestyle and situation, but will not always. For example, I had a lovely group of friends at university but I haven’t remained in touch with all of them. But the ones I have, are extremely special to me.

Some people are there for a reason. They could be there to teach you something, show you want you don’t want in a friendship, or teach you about yourself. For example, a recent friend of mine I thought the absolute world of, however, after some time she became distant and then just stopped talking altogether and went on her own way. I was so upset when it initially happened, but I learnt a lot from the friendship.

I learnt not to afraid to be myself, not to cover up the good things in my life just to stop a friend getting envious. I also learnt a big lesson- if someone is talking negatively about friends of theirs, there is a good chance that is how they speak about you too. That is something I watch out for now.

Then there are lifetime friends.

Life time friends are the one that stick around for the long haul. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t weave in and out of your life. My best friend and I have been through times where we’ve been so close, then haven’t spoken as we’ve both been busy with our own lives, seeing each other all of the time to now catching up where we can. But because she is a lifetime friend, I know she’s there if I need her.

You can go weeks, months, even years not talking to these lifetime friends. When you do eventually talk, it feels like no time has past. So just because a friend is being distant with you now, if they are meant to be in your life in the long haul, they will weave in and out.

If you wanted to learn more about friendships, check out this book on Amazon.

Some friends are there for a season, a reason or a lifetime.

The correlation between friends and the effort made.

Another thing that I learnt, is you need to realistically look at how close a friend is currently and expect a certain level of effort based on that.

It doesn’t mean they will always be at that point, but take note for now;

  • If a friend isn’t a close friend, you don’t need to be talking or seeing them regularly at all. They don’t fit into your life as easily as maybe they once did. Make sure you are playing the tennis game. Effort should work both ways, but don’t expect it to be too regular.
  • If they are fairly close, but not a best friend or a daily part of your life, you will speak fairly regularly but don’t have to catch up too often in person.
  • If they are close and fit into your life perfectly at this moment in time, you will probably be speaking most days and meeting up a couple of times a month. These are your close friends for now but who knows where they will be on the friendship line in the future?

I hope that this has helped you to realise that a persons effort should be based on where they’re at in your life. I hope it has shown you that just because a friend isn’t close with you currently, that might just be for now, but in the future you may be closer.

If they have departed and are on their own pathway in life, then wish them well but know that they have served their purpose, season or reason.

Don’t forget- watch out for the toxic friendships and make sure that you are being treated right too.

This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase an item, you will be charged nothing extra, however I will receive a small commission which helps towards the running of this blog, thank you.

The Sports Game You Should Be Playing With Your Friends

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post how I had learnt a lot about friendships and how to tell if they’re healthy or not. I did a lot of soul searching over the past year and I have learnt a lot about friendships. One of the lessons I was taught by someone still stands out like a sore thumb. It’s one I have to remind myself about daily. The lesson is all about playing a certain sports game with your friends, and not a physical game.

What game should you be playing with your friends?

The game that needs to be played requires give and take, back and forth. It’s a tennis game, or any game that requires hitting a ball back and forth equally. Not hogging the ball and tackling like rugby.

The point of playing this game is that everything ends up being fair and equal. For too long I was putting my all into every friendship, always making and effort, and felt like I was chasing a lot. I never knew who was being genuine, who really wanted to talk, to meet up or to have me as an active part of their life and it was exhausting.

I was being drained. I felt like I was sending most messages first, arranging most meet ups and never feeling good enough. I couldn’t keep on going like this, it was taking up so much of my free time and energy and I was never having enough time for myself.

The rules of the game.

I was encouraged by someone I trusted to start playing this game. If I hit the ball out, I had to wait for it to return. By sending ball after ball, I was just draining my energy and resources. They needed to be replenished.

I needed to focus on myself, I also needed to figure out who was worth all this. By following the rules of the game and making sure there was give and take in each friendship, it allowed me to do this.

So, if I text or called a friend, I had to wait for a reply and not repeat the messages- I could only repeat messages and send multiple ones if I knew that I was at a comfortable stage with that friend. So for example, I have a couple of best friends that I’ve known for 18 years almost. We are at a comfortable point in our friendship, so it doesn’t matter if myself, or they send multiple texts.

This needed to be the case when asking a friend to meet up. The effort needed to go both ways.

How tennis changed my outlook.

I realised that I was putting in far more for others than I was getting back. But then, in other friendships I was so thankful that I could see that it was all equal.

It taught me patience. But most of all, it really showed me who my true friends were and that actually, it may have felt like I was doing all the chasing, but this was only in a couple of the friendships. Most of them, thankfully, were give and take. It was nice to get the texts and someone ask to meet up, knowing I hadn’t chased. It felt good. It made me realise that they were decent friends and wanted to talk and catch up.

And the ones that didn’t. Well, it was sad to begin with, but there was only a couple of people that fell through the net, so to speak, and I wasn’t that close with them anyway. I was done chasing, I was done draining myself.

Now whenever I am having a conversation, a catch up, I know that it is mutually wanted. Don’t get me wrong, there are still days when I feel like I’ve chased a bit, but I remind myself of the tennis game. I remind myself that if I was the one to throw the ball back, they must return it. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes I take a while back. But it should always be left to them if the ball is in their court. Sometimes people take a step away from the court to have a break, that’s absolutely fine, then they return full of energy. Sometimes, they get fed up with the game. And they step away.

That’s difficult. Maybe they will return one day, maybe they won’t. But if the ball was last in their court, that is entirely up to them. You have done your all. Let it be.

I encourage you to play tennis with your friends.

You will then see who is worth all of that effort, who is worthy of your time and who isn’t. Your friendships become healthier, boundaries are built and self respect is learnt. What advice would you give a friend that’s doing all the running? Give yourself the same advice- play tennis and you will see healthier friendships form rather than focusing on the one sided ones.

What will be will be. And those that are meant to be in your life, will always hit that ball back, even if it takes a while sometimes.

Here are some quotes that help with my anxiety.

Rescue Remedy is great help in high anxiety situations.

Try and do this for the next month and see how you get on. Leave a comment below as I would love to hear your experience.

This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase an item, it will not cost you anymore, but I will get a small commission which helps to pay for the running of this blog.

Are your friendships healthy? Here’s how you can tell.

Friendships can be difficult to manage, especially when you suffer with anxiety. I have written about it before, One of the blog posts being; Me Against My Social Life. I would say that, thankfully, I have a good set of friends around me and now I feel that my friendships are healthy. But, this hasn’t always been the case.

I have been on a journey this past year.

A reflective one that has opened my eyes wider than I could have imagined and got to an underlying issue that I have a big red trigger button about not being a good person or a good friend. So anything that would threaten to trigger this, would cause me great anxiety. I was trying to make more and more friends and be constantly social as I thought that this was the issue. I was never having a day to myself, because I feared being on my own incase it triggered this.

Now, I am sat in my jogging bottoms having the first comfy and cosy day to myself in MONTHS. I have been on a journey, thanks to a great NHS Service in the South called ‘Steps to Wellbeing’. I have technically completed this journey, but I believe that self improvement is a never ending journey. I learnt lot and over the next few blog posts, I am really hoping to share some of this with you. One of the most important things I learnt about was equality in friendships.

I ways always chasing people and trying to please them.

In my eyes, the friends I had could never do any wrong. They were always good for me. If there was an issue, I would put all of the doubt and self blame on myself. I was wrong to do that. I had low self esteem and self respect, I have been learning to build this up. What has happened, is I have now become aware of friendships and the equalities.

This book on Overcoming Low Self Esteem really helped me to address why I was suffering with low self esteem and how I could overcome this.

We are all equals.

Despite what anyone thinks or believes, every single person on this planet is equal. We all suffer the same. Possibly about different things, but we all suffer. We all feel pain. We all hurt. We all have the same emotions. We have different chances, paths, values and morals in life. But we are all equals.

Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates..png

Friendship becomes unhealthy when we see ourselves as anything other than equal.

This could be either;

  • You see yourself as above your friend
  • You see yourself as below your friend
  • Your friend sees you as below them
  • Your friend sees you as above them

If you see yourself as above your friend, you need to reflect on why that is. Does your friend drag you down? Or is your friend in a bad place and needs a boost? Remember any rough day you’ve had where you’ve felt at rock bottom, remember that when you think of yourself as above people- we are all the same. If you consistently see yourself as above a friend and the friendship is struggling because of that, you need to consider about whether this friendship is healthy and worth the effort and hard work.

If you see yourself as below a friend, again, question why this is. Perhaps you see your friend as being more successful, popular or prettier than you? Whatever the reason- ask whether you would switch lives- and I mean genuinely take on everything in their life. Because I’m betting most of the time, this answer is no. I have friends whom are more popular, pretty and successful- but they have their own downfalls in life and I would not switch with anyone. We also never know what goes on behind closed doors, someone whom is successful may still be in thousands of pounds of debt. That pretty friend may still feel insecure or have downfalls in relationships. Not everything is as it seems. Start believing in yourself more to boost yourself and regain that equal feeling. If you struggle to do this, you need to ask yourself why? Is this a healthy friendship?

If you get a sense that your friend feels that you are below them, or if they treat you as being ‘less than them’ you will get a very unhealthy friendship balance. Is it you doing all of the effort? I had this a little bit last year. And learning about friendship balances, it hit me that one of my friends felt that they were above me. Unfortunately in this scenario, there is nothing you can do as it is not your issue or your unbalance. As long as you see yourselves as equals and your behaviour reflects this, this is up to your friend to sort out. My top advice here is to stop chasing and putting in the effort. Focus on yourself as the lovely person you are. You are more than enough. You are amazing. So believe it, do your own thing and stop chasing. Read more about Why I’m Done Chasing People And You Should Be, Too.

Equally, if you get the sense that your friend feels that you are above them or they treat you as such, that is their issue and problem to address. You may even find that through this unhealthy friendship, they will try to drag you down to their level- when in reality, they are really seeing themselves as lower than everyone else and seeing you as higher than everyone else- so they will drag you down. This will ultimately make them feel worse in the long run. Just as long as you see yourself as equals, make an effort on your end and be a kind, compassionate friend, you have done everything you can. It’s about your friend working on their own self esteem and worth.

An unequal friendship is an unhealthy one.

Reflect on the last few points and where you see each of your friends. If there is that inequality there, this needs to be addressed before you can move forward positively with the friendship. For me, I often felt below friends so it was up to me to work on my own self esteem and self worth. Now I have done that, I feel far more equal to my friends and the balance has been restored. They feel like healthier friendships and I am happier because of it. If any friendship then appeared as toxic or draining and unequal, I have had to take a big step back from these ones. I’ve not shut anyone out completely, I am not the type of person to do this but I now don’t message as much or meet up as much. I now let the other side make more effort, as ultimately, a friendship should be equal in respect and effort anyway.

Sometimes it’s a great idea to show your friends you care with a great gift like this.

So as much as it hurts to begin with, this exercise really does help you to figure things out with friendships and you are able to then focus on the healthy ones and slowly withdraw from the negative ones.

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Have you ever reflected on your friendships before? Have you had to cull an unhealthy friendship? Leave a comment or get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to like and follow me on social media (links above) and if this post resonated with you- please do share it on your social media. It would be very much appreciated.

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10 Things you need to ignore to become happier

Life can be full of confusion, conflicts and chaos. Sometimes it is hard to sift through everything, especially when you suffer with anxiety, to see clearly. It got me thinking, what if we could sift through some of the rubbish. What if we could ignore certain aspects of life in order to become happier? Well, I’ve written a list of 10 things we should be ignoring in order to make this happen.

1. The media when it tries to scaremonger you. I studied media and journalism at university and so I know just how much certain news stories are sensationalised. I know all too well what makes a good news story and it isn’t one where nothing happens. The media can be good, but it can also be really bad when you suffer with anxiety. Just remember- take it with a pinch of salt. Don’t take to heart what is reported and make sure you get a balanced view of what you read.

If you’re interested in news and bias, this book has some great reviews.

2. Google and forums when you search your symptoms. Too many times I have panicked with symptoms, googled them and then panicked some more. Google is not a substitute for a doctor. If you are concerned about anything then the best thing to do is seek proper medical advice and stop using google or forums for this. Since I have stopped doing this, I never seem to panic about my symptoms, and I find me phoning the doctors less too. I seem to have really calmed down about everything medical- even when it comes to my children.

3. Jealous friends and aquantaces when giving advice. If you suspect a friend of being jealous of you, then take any advice they give with a pinch of salt. You should only be asking true friends which have your back through thick and thin for advice or you may end up in a worse situation then you already were in. Sometimes, we give ourselves the best advice too, so try that too. Be your own perfect nurturer and you will not be let down.

4. Silence. Silence is the worst when you are feeling lonely. At times it can be a pleasant retreat for me as a Mother- having silence grace my life from time to time can be a blessing and something my body needs. But when I am feeling lonely, silence needs to be banished so I always fill it with music in these circumstances. Music heals the soul.

Need a CD to help you feel good? Try this one.

5. What other people are doing. We are all different. We are all on different unique paths in our lives. As long as we are living the life we want, we shouldn’t compare. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Do This 1 Thing Each Day To Help Anxiety and you will soon see the light in your own life and realise that it doesn’t matter what others are doing- as long as you find happiness and meaning in your own life, than you are doing incredible. Never compare yourself. Just focus on yourself and things will feel lighter and happier.

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6. Ignore social media. This is similar to the last one in terms of having to ignore what other people are doing. But this is in a broader sense. It includes what people’s statuses and pictures seemingly show. You must remember that social media is a highlight reel. It only reveals what people want it to. Who really knows what goes on  behind closed doors? It’s an exaggeration of real life. And at times, it is even make believe. So take it lightly. And don’t fret over what pictures or statuses people put up.

7. Other people’s ‘likes’. It’s easy to get drawn into the social media craze. This modern day obsession with everything social media scares me at times. And I think it’s no coincidence that the rates of depression and anxiety are increasing. The pressure that social media creates is ridiculous. There are new worries and things to obsess over thanks to social media. One of those is comparison of ‘likes’.

I’ve been there- thinking how mad it is how someone can have a certain number when I’m pretty sure I don’t even know that amount of people. The main thing to remember, is that we are all different. Just like school days, there will always be people more popular than you, the same or less popular than you. We have all walked different paths and along those paths we have met different people. For me, I have been a stay at home mum the past 7 years now. So, the amount of people I have met along this unique journey of mine is far less than anyone that has had multiple jobs in this time. Other things to note, are these people may not be active in the person’s life, they may never have met in real life, they may be family or clients. They could come from anywhere- but the most important thing to remember is that it isn’t the likes you should concern yourself with.

You could have 100 likes but only 1 friend reaching out to you. Or 1 like and lots of friends reaching out to talk to you. Which would you prefer? I know which I do. I used to be confused, I used to want to try to compete at the likes game. But it’s ridiculous. It’s false, and it’s not the type of world I want to engage in. I want the real word. The real friends. I want to base my respect on someone, not on how many likes they have gotten, but how kind they are. I am lucky to have such wonderful friends that take the time to message me and see me, this makes me ultimately far happier than them liking my posts. Because that doesn’t last as long as bonding with a real friendship does.

Read more about social media on my Me Against Social Media post here.

8. Your phone. I think it’s great to ignore your phone, at times. When you’re with your friends or family then learn to put it down and take in life. You will end up connecting and bonding far more with the people in front of you than anyone on the other side of the phone at that time. Give people your full attention. I do tend to have my phone out on the side during dinner, but that’s only for one reason- incase my husband needs to call me if anything happens at home. Also, the odd photo is lovely to take to capture a moment- but don’t let it dominate your time out.

I love to put my phone away at other random times- of an evening, I tend to put it to one side so that I can indulge in the time with my children- especially when we play a board game and do stories before bed. Also, if I want to get creative, read or just binge on TV. I find it so important to switch off and take time for myself. The messages can and will wait until I am ready. I will always be there when people need me, but if a conversation can wait a few hours or till the morning than it does. I think having time away is essential for improving mental health.

9. Your doubts and fears. It is so easy when you suffer with anxiety to doubt yourself and everything you do constantly. But try to change this and your way of thinking. Start believing that you can do it and that you can achieve your goals and dreams. Then start putting steps into place.

This pack of Power Thought Cards are a great start to get you thinking positively.

10. The anxious demon that sits on your shoulders. Anxiety is a monster. One that sits on your shoulder and makes you second think and doubt everything. And it’s not just doubt and fears. It feeds off negativity and drains you of anything positive. You come away assessing every conversation you had whilst you were out, wondering if you came across annoying. You go to plan something exciting, then doubt if you can do it. There is so much that this anxious demon does and it is trying to quieten the real you. It’s time to ignore this anxious demon and take back your life. There is so much you can do to begin this. Try cycling through previous blog posts to get inspiration- like How to Begin Tackling Anxiety.

This book- DARE- was an incredible read and helped me so much.

 

I hope that this post has helped given you some ideas on what you should begin to ignore in life. Try to turn your attention to all of the positive things in life, maybe the sun was a bit brighter today, perhaps one of your favourite TV programmes has a new episode out or maybe you were able to feel pride in something you did. Whatever it is, let the positivity rise and ignore all these downfalls that modern life has to offer.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media (links are above) for more regular updates on my journey on overcoming anxiety.

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Why I’m Done Chasing People And You Should Be, Too

I am writing this very personal blog post in the hope that it may help anyone else that just doesn’t feel good enough at times. I am going to explain why I am done chasing people because I realise now that this is just a vicious cycle in my life.

You see, I have learnt a lot about myself this past year. I’ve learnt what my big red button trigger is. A lot of people that suffer with anxiety, usually have a big red button trigger, that when pressed sets off all sorts of anxious behaviour. It’s difficult to find what your trigger is, but it’s worth doing some self- reflecting until you discover it.

My big red button is that;

I’m not a good person. I’m not a good friend.

I know logically that the only one that can control this and change this is myself. I can do my utmost best to be a good person and friend. Although it changes from person to person on what makes someone good, I know what I would consider as being a decent human and friend and I know how to act in a way to make sure I accomplish this. I put a lot of effort into my friendships, I make a lot of time in my life to see and speak to friends and I try as much as possible to be there for them when they need it.

So, if I know this, why do I worry about it?

Well a combination of low self esteem, being a natural worrier and past experiences has set my brain up to default back to this statement and worry. And it usually defaults back to this when my trigger is pressed.

This book was amazing at helping me to recognise why I had low self esteem.

What causes my trigger to be pressed?

A lot! But one main trigger is when there is a clear lack of effort from a friendship, when a friendship is really one sided. Now, I’m not talking about when a friend takes a while to text back- because I can be guilty of this too. Or the occasional non- reply; because again I can do this. I’m not talking about a cancellation or two, because life happens. But I am talking about constant, consistent chasing of a ‘friend’. The ones where you feel that if you didn’t talk to them, they would never think to message you. The ones where you get that gut feeling that they just don’t want to hang out. Those friendships are my trigger.

So, why am I chasing these one- sided friendships?

Because it has become one big vicious circle. I can’t seem to win with myself- because if I chase, the following happens; I feel neglected, unwanted, unliked, unimportant. This eats away at my self esteem and leaves me feeling like I am not a good person. I am not a good friend. So, I chase because it seems like this is the only answer- because maybe I might break through and get them to like me, so feel wanted. But I also chase because if I don’t; I feel like I have given up on someone, I feel like a bad person. I feel like a bad friend because I usually try so hard to see the good in people and to be forgiving, so when I don’t chase someone- I blame myself for the non contact.

Has this always been the case?

Not at all. I have had many friendships in my life; some still are around and very much present. Some, though, have naturally drifted apart- as let’s face it, we can’t stay friends with everyone from school, college, university or the jobs we have had. It is only natural for certain friends to leave your life. Imagine if we did keep in contact with everyone- we would never have any time to get on with our current lives because we would constantly be messaging or socialising. We have to prioritise who is active in our lives and who we make time for. People naturally drift away but it doesn’t mean they have completely gone, it just means they are further down our line. These are the ones we message or see once in a blue moon. Or maybe it’s just become impractical to see or speak to them anymore. I used to be so good at this. I know that the ones that have drifted, it wasn’t done in a malicious, horrible way, it happened naturally and I still have nothing but love and fond memories for these folk. It never used to affect me until anxiety hit 5 years ago. Read about my battle against anxiety here.

So why am I now done chasing?

Because I realise that something has got to give. I thought about my timescales of a standard day, the time I had to do what. What percentage of my day was wasted chasing? Too much! I have to juggle a lot already, but I have been adding to my already hectic plate. I am a good person. I am a good friend. Yes, at times, this may get questioned but I am doing so much better with this now. It is time to break that vicious cycle. If you are chasing a one sided friendship, then stop. It does not make you a bad person or friend to stop chasing.

Friendships should be a tennis game.

You need to be hitting that ball back and forth. So if you text someone and don’t get a reply- don’t text again until you do. Or if you have asked to meet up with someone and they don’t seem keen, don’t keep asking. You’ve made your move, now wait for theirs. A decent friendship will play out like a tennis game. At times, someone may need to take a break. Let them, when they are ready, they will step back in. Since I have stopped chasing, it has been a pleasant surprise to find that some people whom I didn’t expect to hear from, have actually text me first.

Are there exceptions to this rule?

For me, yes. My inner circle. The ones that I can call or text any time. These people, I can triple text if needed because I know life is busy, I feel comfortable in the friendship and I wouldn’t class it as chasing when usually these people are making as much effort as I do. You should be able to count these people on one hand. This is where quality friendships far outweigh quantity.

And what if I get nothing back?

If a friend came to you and said that someone wasn’t making an effort with them, texting them back or wanting to meet up, what would you tell your friend? Why do you value your friend more than yourself? It’s time we started to value ourselves above everything. It’s so important to look after yourself or this is when anxiety can become a vicious circle and your self esteem and worth can start to decrease.

If someone is making no effort and the friendship has become more one-sided and you can’t see a reason why; then that says more about them than you. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad person, it could be that their priorities have changed in their life and they don’t have time for you anymore. This does hurt, don’t get me wrong. The worst scenarios are where they are members of your inner circle and they suddenly change their effort. But, that is THEIR problem, not yours. If you have done all you can, then just be you and focus on your life. And if they never get back to you or don’t put that effort in again- then do you really want someone like that as a good friend?

Most of the time, the explanation lies with the other person. We are not mind readers- so don’t try to guess why. Just accept that this person has changed, whether thats due to their priorities or life changes, or maybe your friendship has just altered. The main thing to remember is that we can not be everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t make either of you bad people, or bad friends. It just means you don’t gel. And thats ok! We can not get on with everyone or stay friends with everyone we’ve ever been friends with. It’s simply impossible. It may mean that they are just becoming more of a distant friend rather than a close friend anymore. So tell me, what are you willing to give up to keep chasing people in your life? For me, nothing. I realise now that my life is important. My everyday routine is important. So why do I keep using up my time to chase a one sided friendship? I’m done.

How will this help my anxiety?

It will end that vicious circle. I won’t message people over and over. Because I am worth more than that. I don’t have time for that. I won’t keep asking to meet up if I  keep getting consistently cancelled on, or if you are reluctant to make plans as you are busy. I am busy too. Life is busy. I firmly believe that you prioritise what you want to. I can be having such a hectic month, but if one of my best friends wants to make plans; I will make sure that I have time for them. If someone else wants to meet up, I will check my diary and give them the next available date. But, I barely have time for me which is something that is so important and I am going to start scheduling in. I am busy, so why am I chasing someone that is too busy for me? We all have the same hours in a day but different things we have to fit into that. If you can not prioritise time for me; then I will no longer do that for you.

By doing this, I am effectively culling people from my life. This sounds so alarming, but in reality the ones that are culled are the ones that make zilch effort. On a scale of friendships, there could be a certain percent that you end up chasing; these ones are the ones that make you feel rotten. If this percent was culled, what are you left with? Genuine friends. You don’t come away from these conversations or meet ups feeling drained, negative or judged. You come away feeling positive. A couple of my best friends live hours away, we go months without seeing each other, and days without talking but there is nothing but positivity there. Genuine friends can go a while not speaking or not seeing each other- but the effort is still there. The positivity and love is there. And when you’re left with genuine friends- it doesn’t matter how many you’re left with. Quality far outweighs quantity and having people let you down, and not knowing who to trust.

School and Facebook is so similar; there are people that are more and less popular than you. I used to feel envious of the popular ones, of all their likes and plans. I used to think that it would make me a good person and a good friend if I had as many likes as that. But what do you really get from that? What do you ‘win’ in life? After reflecting on this, I’d rather have a small group of REAL friends that make an effort than hundreds of likes on Facebook. It’s all false anyway. As for being popular; I want to be a good friend and person and I think people have different things to offer. I need to start prioritising my own family and life more than chasing friendships, so the time I have left to socialise I would rather work on building up the bonds of those close friends than I would having loads.

Read more about me against my social life here.

I’m done chasing friends.

I am a good person. I am a good friend. By not chasing people, this doesn’t make me a bad person at all. It says more about someone else if they don’t value my time and efforts. I want people around me that make me feel positive and good about myself. Why am I letting people drain me? Why am I meeting up with people or messaging people that make me feel negative, that make me doubt myself?

This little mindfulness book is great at opening up your mind and accepting things as they are.

I have always made it clear that my door is always open. So, if we haven’t spoken in weeks, months, years- I am still here. But I’m not chasing anymore. My time is valuable, my efforts are precious. If you hit that ball back at me, I will always hit it back to you. But when you stop, please don’t be surprised when I take a step back and go join another game. I’ll re join when you do.

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If this blog post resonated with you, then please do give it a like on here or Facebook and share it. You never know who is struggling out there, not feeling good enough. When really everyone is more than enough. You just need to focus on those quality friendships then chasing the quantity. You need to learn to let go and believe in yourself and the right people will be there for you.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media too (links above)

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