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Healthy relationship building

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

A note on women friendships and more ...

This blog is about all walks of friendships. They are not all the same. The idea of women empowerment and women's friendships was only recently welcomed and hyped by social media. Growing up in a low income environment, the social norm for women was to compete and not trust one another, especially among women of minority backgrounds. Instead of empowering one another we are pinned against each other, forced to compare, and a lot of us genuinely believe there could only be one of us to get the spotlight and succeed (eg., there can only be one queen per household). But that is not right. There's room for all of us.

Growing up I couldn't get away from these norms and they continued to shadow me throughout school, work, and majority of my adulthood. I almost felt as though I was forced to believe women were all like this and it was normal. I had friends that competed with me, lied to me, and made me feel bad about myself, and in retrospect, I was this kind of friend as well. It is so crucial for all of us women to recognize this unhealthy behavior and hold ourselves accountable for change. I've learned that to be friends with women of all backgrounds, you have to be honest, flexible, and vulnerable – many friendships have been lost because we were unable to hold ourselves accountable for being untrue.

On the other side of past learnings are healthy friendships waiting for you. Make space for it.

I've always been told that I look intimidating, and even had to fight to defend myself from other women and men who were jealous of me. But I never turn down being friends with women of any color. What makes friendships or any relationship for that matter strong, are the shared experiences we can teach one another, and understanding one another for our souls and not the color of our skin. Our skin is simply a shell that is fun to fix up and dress up every once in awhile. It's our souls that crave the connection and love from another human being. There's an unexplainable level of comfort that occurs when you can feel what the other woman or man is thinking. To me that is the undeniable soul connecting abilities we all have with one another.

Being friends or being in an intimate relationship with minority women is not easy, though. At least for myself, I feel as though we have so many social norms to get through. I tend to believe friendships are more complicated than romantic relationships because, we require another level of presence and support. In an effort of building your strong friendships with women get to know them as you would with your intimate partner. Start by learning their love languages, ask them how they like to be supported, and support them in that way. Initiate those difficult conversations too, and set those boundaries. I said to be friends with us women, you have to be honest, and I meant that. It's the most vulnerable but most rewarding relationship you will ever have.

My circle is small but so enriched with amazing women and men, and my friendships with them are all different serving holistic purposes and needs. I believe every friend you have serves a specific purpose. You need that childhood friend to send you those embarrassing photos, that friend you can party with at all hours of the night, and the friend you can cry all ugly with and watch sad movies. You also need that friend who you can do absolutely nothing with and that friend that is going through a similar chapters as you (whatever it might be). All these friendships serve a different purpose, but they all support you and make you who you are.

Healthy women's friendships also help build your self-esteem, help you cope with life's challenges, and encourage you to engage in healthy behaviors. Have you ever had a friend invite you to a yoga class? Ever had a friend that called you just to check-in or a friend that encouraged you to set those long due goals?

If you never had a friend do these things for you, start by being that friend.

It's essential to remember that just because you have been friends with someone for years doesn't mean the friendship is healthy for you or because we are women, we have to stick together and stay in friendships that no longer serve us. Some bonds are lessons and not intended to go on forever. You are allowed to evolve outside of your current friendships and make new ones.

If you had terrible experiences with other woman that differ from your background, and feelings of betrayal persists, this makes you especially vulnerable to open up and build honest friendships with them. I get it. If you can't speak to them to make amends and would like to let go and start anew, I recommend healthy meditation and ocean visits. If you're not the type of human who meditates, I recommend journaling your thoughts / feelings to help heal.

  • The friendship was...

  • The friendship turned into...

  • I am thankful that this friendship taught me...

Please be open and vulnerable to creating new friendships and bonds with all women. Healthy friendships with us require work, but they're so worth it.

We are truly better together, and there's room for all of us to win!

Now think about one of your homegirls that you appreciate and send them a text. Go ahead and thank them for helping you live longer too.

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