Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #61-Accepting the Change in Seasons

Fall foliage on the Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA, USA

Fall foliage on the Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA, USA

Autumn is my absolute favorite season of all!  Living in New England, I really do get to experience all four seasons, with the biggest challenge being the winter.  Sometimes it creeps up earlier than expected and chooses to hang out longer than desired.  I’ll spare us a revisit the winter travails of Massachusetts last year.  What I note though is that not everyone looks at the changes in seasons the same way.  See, I find pluses and minuses of each.  Winter can be bone chilling cold but I love the days of snowfall so intense that all you can do is snuggle, warm drink in hand and watch a great movie from your couch.  Spring can take fooooooorever to show up but once it’s here, it brings with it the promise of even warner weather with so much to do outside.  Summer, need I say more?  Yes, some days can get waaaaaaaay too hot, but outside activities are limitless.  Autumn, brings the warning of colder days ahead but helps us transition with BEAUTIFUL foliage and opportunities for fabulous fashion!  And yet, some of us like one season and one only or simply despise another.  I could go on and on but this is also the case in life.

It is inevitable that as long as you’re living your life is going to bring with it different seasons.  Things can’t go well 100% of the time, but, they can’t go horribly wrong 100% of the time either.  It just can’t. Some seasons can be more prolonged than others but it is inevitable that there will be change.  Over the past few months, another theme tied to this that has been coming up for my clients is that of the changing seasons of friendships.

Lately, I’ve consistently been heard things like:

“You know, I was a little down because as I was going through ‘x-situation’, I realized the folks who have usually been there for me just haven’t been.”

“I’ve been noticing a shift in my group lately….folks are kind of falling off.”

“As I approach my 30s, I am noticing that not everyone is game for continuing my journey with me….it kind of sucks.  It’s like they don’t accept the growth in me, or at least that I’m feeling I’m experiencing.”

I’ve been through all of this before myself so of course I have to ask each of them “As you’re noticing some folks falling away or distancing or even just cutting off ties with you, are other people showing up?”  Consistently the response has been “Yes and totally out of the blue!”  Yup, see just like the old saying “God never closes one door without opening another,” I don’t believe you’re ever left with loss without some form of compensation for that loss showing up.  This is especially true since we as human beings are just not intended to be alone.  So of course other people are going to show up in your life…and they will probably be so much better for you since they’re showing up in a season where the value of their presence is beyond measure.  Accept it as time for new fruit.

So what is there to do in seasons of changing friendships?

  1. Acknowledge your hurt: There are so many ways we try to be so strong and so tough and so unaffected by people and circumstances that we don’t let ourselves hurt or at least we don’t think we do. See, if you don’t take the time to let yourself acknowledge that these changes are impacting you, the “dealing with it” will show up in other ways.  You’ll be arguing over something with your spouse that you know has nothing to do with them.  You’ll be short-tempered with the kids.  You’ll give your coworkers some unrelenting side-eye and it really has nothing to do with them and all to do with the fact that the change, especially if unexpected has really dampened your spirits.  Let yourself acknowledge it especially with someone who can give you perspective.
  2. Decide to move on: Don’t let yourself get stuck in acknowledgement. Once you’ve made note of what’s happening or happened, give yourself the gift of moving on.  Start by treating yourself to a party for one….may be a day of catching up on Essence reading, a day at the spa, just a mani and pedi…something.  Focus on you, even if just for a bit then…..remember…..NOT EVERYONE IS GONE!  You’ve still got others in your life.  Shift your focus from what’s changing to what’s…who’s staying the same and reach out, engage, move on.
  3. Accept the beauty of change: When you’re going through these seasons, always think of fall foliage.  It’s so beautiful and brings so much with it.  It can be hard but look at the beauty of it.  Change is usually an indication of growth, strengthening, progress, forward movement….though it may not always look and feel like it, there’s beauty in it.  Take note of it and accept it.  When you do, you’ll notice how truly breathtaking it and you are!!!!
  4. Live fabulously fierce: Being who you are is not dependent on who is in your life. Others compliment who you are and the best of friends help bring out the best of who you are.  But no on, no one, makes you who you are other than you.  Commit to continuing to live fabulously fierce or however it is you choose to live….fabulously empowered….fabulously strong….fabulously hopeful….you choose and LIVE IT!!!!

Final note: With the whole Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson  scene at the Emmy’s…which I will not get into simply because I know I just  will not stop once I start…..there has been an increase in consciousness of “who’s clapping for you”….who’s in your tribe…who’s got your back….etc etc.  It’s raising our level of awareness that we actually get to decide who comes into our lives and who’s influence we’re going to let impact us.  Know that this is actually empowerment.  You get to choose.  You get to choose.  Be empowered in that and know that you decide through your intentions, actions, and who you attract, who will be in your life.  Accept the change in seasons and engage in facilitating what the seasons will entail with those you allow to be part of your journey.  And…..It. Always. Gets. Better. And so do you!

Soundtrack of the week:  Count on Me.  Be encouraged-your new season of friendships will result in those who can sing this song with you and know that the truth of the lyrics run deep.

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #18-Surrounding Yourself with Good Company

Of all the things that may change in life, a few key things remain the same, including the fact that some days are easy and some are hard, but with good company, it can all be pretty fabulous!

When it comes to good company, I am truly blessed beyond measure!  I’ve got some pretty remarkable people in my life that I truly count as blessings, gifts really, because I never once asked for them and here they all are, playing a role in Farah Inc.  That being said, there are a few key things that are common of those I keep company with that I think are pretty important for all of us.  These include,

1-We’re friends, not because we’re perfect, but indeed in spite of our imperfections.

Not a single one of us is perfect in any way, shape or form.  We’re just right, the way that we are, in whatever season that we’re in, always growing and developing.  But perfect, nope, not one of us.  True friends are those who can look at you and appreciate all that you are and all that you’re becoming with a love for you despite the fact that they know you’ll never be perfect, whatever that may mean anyway.

2-We have real expectations of each other. 

My friend Ivy and I were chatting once about some of the “interesting” people that we come across in this life.

Ivy and I with Zo! from Foreign Exchange

Ivy and I with Zo! from Foreign Exchange

And when I say interesting, I mean….you know…hmmm, how do I say this…well, the folks who if someone gave you the option of either hanging out with for five minutes or running a marathon on a blistering hot day, well you’d go and get your sneakers and start running.  And know that all of us are that “interesting” person for at least one person in this world at one point or another.  It’s all good.  Anyway, I digress…Ivy and I were chatting about one of her “interestings” and she said, “I knew we really couldn’t be friends because she just had absolutely no expectations of me.”  What this was really all about was the fact that this individual did not hold Ivy accountable to be the best Ivy she could be.  She and I on the other hand, however, we have “best-self” expectations of each other and really won’t let the other slip too far from meeting that expectation.

3-We know when to heavy-handed and when to be heavy-hearted, maintaining a balance of both.  

Sometimes, I really have a hard time with this one because don’t we all just want a hug or someone to tell us, “everything’s going to be ok” or “oh, you’ll be alright, you’ll be fine”?  As much of a tough cookie as I can be, sometimes, I really want 90% heavy-hearted and 10% heavy-handed and all I get is the exact opposite…because that’s actually just what I need and fortunately my friends often know better than me.  I will definitely say no one in the Farah Bernier Circle will ever baby her.  What I am grateful for though is that I am never at a loss of the needed “I need you to get your act together” or the needed “I’m so sorry, I’ll bring over some dessert and we’ll cry this one out or just watch a good movie.”

4-Through it all is love

Speaking of good movies, I recently saw Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself again

and at one point Mary J. Blige’s character sings

“I don’t need no one to put me down, I’m on the ground can’t get no lower. And I don’t need no one to hang around an make me frown…”

I think this points to the fact that the best thing for all of us from the company we keep is love. This makes me think of Job, let me tell you, if I’m ever where he was, I’m pretty certain I don’t need anyone in my crew like the friends he had.  They didn’t show him love.  It was really all about pity and the perspective that he must’ve done something wrong to warrant him going through what he was experiencing.  Job needed love and he didn’t get as much as he needed.  Again, grateful that even if they needed to give me a swift kick in the pants, no matter what, it would be in love.

This week, I’m actually going to write, yes actually write a few cards to those in my company just to let them know they’re appreciated and that when it comes right down to it, although I am soooo not a mushy person, yup, I love them.

So, as for you, are you keeping good company? Do the folks in your circle add,
encourage, enlarge your territory, love and have expectations of you? Do they have the same expectation of you and how are you measuring up to that expectation?  Are you sowing into their lives as they are yours?  Answer these questions, just for you.  Finally, this week, in whatever way you choose, reach out to at least three people in your circle with a simple “Hey, you’re pretty fabulous and I’m grateful for you.”

Soundtrack of the week: Mary J. Blige’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself