How friendships can save your day

Why I call my friendships my safety net

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Do you ever have those days that you question everything you are doing? Am I having a positive impact on people? Do my kids know I love them? Did I just cut that person off and do they know it was an accident because I am distracted by my thoughts of how I am not perfect yet? Most days I do great. I usually am proud of my work, because I love helping others and I see the positive outcomes for their families. Most days I am confident that things are awesome, but I have days that I just get in my own way and get in my head.  Those are the days I need love and support and what I like to call my safety net and my tool belt. Let me explain: 

A safety net is a group of people who love me enough to tell me when my thinking is off.  They will have my back and tell me what I need to hear. So, when I think I am just the hot mess express but it is only because I am making things a bigger deal than they are – my safety net tells me.  If I am super confident about a decision that I have not fully thought out, my safety net slows me down and talks it out with me.  When I need a push to stop procrastinating, my safety net pushes me and helps me with the motivation to knock shit out.  And when I am fearful, sad, hesitant and doubting myself, my safety net scoops me up and loves on me reminding me that this too shall pass. Just like a safety net is there to catch you if you fall from a tightrope, your friends are there to catch you if you start to struggle in life. 

What is the ideal number of people in your safety net? Great question, I am glad you asked! I always like to have three to five people in my safety net, but my preference is five. Why 5 people? Because life happens and there is a chance that some of your friends could be going through challenges at the same time you are making it difficult for them to be available or present to help you.  It is not likely that all five of your people will be unavailable or unable to help you at the same time. It’s that strength in numbers thing.   I think it is important that these people are positive, supportive and do not allow me to make excuses for my behavior.  They need to be willing to challenge my thinking and help me grow and most importantly only want the best for me.  If they are jealous or have a constant negative outlook, I can’t have them in my safety net.   

I also mentioned my toolbelt and would like to explain that too. My toolbelt is comprised of coping skills, boundaries, safety net and self-care.  I will talk more about my toolbelt in my next post. But for today, I want to focus on what my friend @KarithFoster says, “you can either be perfect or you can be happy™©”, which is one of the many reasons she is in my safety net.  

Dr. Irene Little is a family therapist specializing in addictions, and the award-winning author of The Book on Addiction. If addiction affects your life in any way, you can access her free monthly newsletter

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