Who do you call when something exciting happens? Who gets the sad text of loss or fear? These are the people I refer to as “My People”. Through thick and thin I can reach out and know they will be there. Our lives ebb and flow with positive and negative situations, however when we have a few people to lean on there is a light in the tunnel. Most people only have 1-3 people they can turn to when the deepest and hardest things happen. That is normal! Building these relationships take time and energy on a daily basis.
Learning about different personalities has enriched my friendships over the years. Figuring out why people do what they do has always interested me. The latest test that has brought joy to my life is the enneagram. You may want to stop reading now, but don’t! The enneagram is a personality test that has 9 different types. This test has unlocked how I tick and allowed me to explore why I do the things I do. It is not an excuse to keep acting a certain way, but to understand why. Finding how my friends scored has also opened doors to conversations we never had before! It has been a tough and exciting ride all roled into one! Joy wells up inside when I realize where certain behaviors or actions come from in my closest people so that I can connect to them better.
Being able to understand another human brings deep satisfaction to both. One of our core needs is to be known and then to be loved and accepted. Having real deep relationships also takes vulnerbility. Being vulnerable means to open oneself to be physically or emotionally wounded. That does not sound like something anyone would want to do on purpose, right? Well in order to truly have deep, healthy people in our lives we have to be willing to allow ouselves to get injured. I am a person who loves BIG. Which I have learned that I also hurt Big because of my intense love. There have been many tears, hugs, and words in my life because of this trait, but I would never trade any of them. The friendships I have speak life to my soul. My challenge is that you can be brave enough to find 1-3 people you can do life with and enjoy the blessings of hurt, pain, joy, and laughter with.
I read an interesting article recently that broke down the levels of relationships we all have with others. There is an inner, middle and outer sanctum. Only 2-5 people will ever be in our inner sanctum. We can know who they are by answering a few questions. If you have a dog they not only know the name, but what the dog does that annoys you on a daily basis! These people are part of your inner squad. The second squad of people know you have a dog and may or may not know their name. This usually is 6-15 people. The last group doesn’t even know you have a dog! The farthest squad are still needed in our lives but are not as connected or know us very well. They will be called on as a community for larger traumas we face. This analogy helped me realize how important all people in my life are, and who will be needed at different points in my life.
Communication is key! Finding ways to encourage, support, and serve the people in your life will bring much joy! Practical ways include:
- Send a text of encouragement.
- Send a memoji or gif
- Set up a phone or zoom date
- Buy a random little gift to show you care.
- Provide a meal
- Send a card in the mail. That doesn’t happen much anymore!
- Listen, really listen to your friend or spouse
A phrase, “people come into our lives for a season, a reason, or a lifetime” has helped me to distinguish these groups. Being able to discern who my people are and embrace each person is a gift. The definition of a gift is “given freely with no expectation of return, to bring enjoyment and pleasure.” Treating the people in our life as a gift is what I want to strive for daily. Don’t forget we will make mistakes and having to ask forgiveness and it is all a part of the process as well. Give the grace you want to receive!
Healthy Relationships are worth it!