They say that the relationship we have with ourselves sets the tone for every other relationship we have in our lives. Gulp. My inner critic is an as$%&@#. I don’t need friends like that in my life!
Yet, it does make sense. As I adjust my goals and become more honest with myself, I have noticed that some genuine friendships have blossomed that speak to the newly emerging parts of me.
I made one such friend just this week. Well, I sort of already knew her because I read her book, but it was the first time we met in person. We were only a few minutes into our conversation before we were discussing family history, body image within gymnastics, and Brene Brown. There was no need for small talk. I felt like I had known her all my life. She listened and inspired me with her own story and advice to “trust the whisper.” Her theory is that you always know when you meet someone else with “the spark.” She was right.
When you know, you know.
My daughter recently asked, “Why are you always going to coffee with [new friend]?”
“This is the first time I have ever been to coffee with [new friend].”
“Well, you just met her and you seem to be spending a lot of time together. It’s weird.”
My daughter was reacting to another new friendship in my life. She felt things were escalating too quickly. How could I be so comfortable with another person in such a short time?
This new friend, a fellow writer and CrossFitter, definitely has “the spark.” We have similar personalities, quirks, behaviors, and acts of rebellion, and we both lost our moms way too soon. The very first time I spoke with her, we dumped our brokenness out on the table. With that out of the way, we jumped straight to the heart—our purpose. We both had a story that needed to be told. Sparks flew.
If I am not going to stay stagnant, I can’t expect my friendships to stay that way. This year I have seen my old friendships strain, pull and grow (sometimes painfully). I wear a cuff on my arm that is engraved with the saying, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” Truth. It has been important to surround myself with people who share my desire for honest reflection and self-improvement.
But I couldn’t stop there.
Some of my greatest gains have come not by simply maintaining friendships that I already have but by broadening my circle—one is silver, the other gold. An ever-evolving version of self can benefit from new friends who I would have overlooked in my earlier years. Different perspectives challenge me to see myself in a new way.
Training my eye to “look for the spark” has literally led me towards the light. I can find new friends quickly, much to my daughter’s chagrin. They might not know and embrace past versions of me—my old friends handle that part—but they can pick up with the most current chapters of my life.
The first step was getting to know myself— the real me. Now, I can seek out and nurture relationships that help me to become the best version of myself. And as for my soul fighting, passionate, truth-talking, authentic, magic-bringing friends, I am eternally grateful for the push towards my purpose and all the times you serve as a mirror reminding me that I carry a spark of my own.