Last Friday, our youngest went to the emergency room after falling and thwacking her head on our hardwood floor. It was a true parenting fail kind of moment—a simple mistake and a split-second distraction led to what was likely a mild concussion.
On the way to the hospital, I group texted some girlfriends to let them know about the fall, my fear, and the fact that we may need someone to pick up our oldest daughter who happened to be off school that day. Not only did I instantly have people lined up to help us, I also had a group of women who held no hint of judgment or criticism over the accident. Not even a little. The guilt and shame projected on me that day was my own, but when I put it out in all its ugliness, somehow it got smaller.
Every woman needs a girlfriend who can hold some shame for her. She’s not there to fix it or one-up it or make light of it. She’s there to listen to your story, and says, “I hear that. I am for you. Thanks for sharing the messy parts with me.”
We root our friendships by being vulnerable enough to share our shame and insecurities.
For a long time, I thought I had to find a friend whose messes looked just like mine. If we didn’t struggle with the same things, she wouldn’t understand. But that’s simply not true.
It’s not about what mutual category we put our shame into, it’s about finding safe friendships with which to share it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we also must find close friendships with which to share our successes.
If you finally lost the last five pounds after the holiday thickening, share that! If you nailed the job interview, call your friend and let her know. If you tried a new class at the gym, didn’t yell at your kids for a solid day, saved up for a beautiful handbag, or closed on your first house, share your accomplishment! Girlfriend, if you just potty trained your last child and no longer have anyone in diapers for the first time in eight years, you’d better find a friend to celebrate that!
After you’ve been brave enough to share your accomplishments, support her success by letting her know she is loved, seen, good, safe, and strong. Ask her what is making her more confident these days.
Shining a spotlight on her doesn’t diminish what you have to offer.
As a woman, your success is my success because we’re all in this thing together.
///Photos via Unsplash///