Recently I have come to wonder about who we surround ourselves with in our lives and how that impacts the life we live.
This life is short. A tribe makes that time a whole lot nicer. Finding your tribe is a hard task at times. It’s a sorting process. At first a tribe may seem like anyone who has a common interest, life stage or age. But spend a little more time with them and perhaps you’ll become a just a tad more discerning.
For example, presumably when you get together with other mums with children the same age as your child it should be an instant tribe? Mmmm perhaps not. When you weave into the tapestry different opinions and approaches to parenting, when core values clash and the competitive one upping what seems a tribe can start to feel more like a chore.
Sure a tribe needs variety and colour but more importantly it needs to resonate with you. Your tribe needs to reflect the things you hold dear to your heart. People who have seen you at your most vulnerable and instead of turning away they lift you then cheer you on.
I am blessed to have a tribe scattered all over Australia who are drawn together by our common bonds. We hold our pow wows online and every now and then we even get to hug each other for real. It’s crazy that someone you share a long painful journey with can become a treasured friend without having ever met. Yet when you finally meet it’s as if you’ve known them your entire life. The mutual links are so powerful.
The day to day tribes are harder to find. A small tribe of women with whom you can be yourself and be accepted is better than a huge tribe where your cries for acceptance bounce echoing off empty walls.
What message do I send Miss Bee by spending time with people who judge me against values I do not hold? Even if not for myself I should for her surround myself with a network that buzzes with contentment. Those who encourage, those who genuinely welcome you, those who make your heart sing along to the songs they sing, like mirrors of familiarity you glimpse your own self. People who make you smile even after you part.
A friend is one who helps, gently guides, sometimes insists when you need a push and celebrates along with you. Some tribes are very small. You and one other friend. It’s OK to have lots of small tribes.
I think of friendships like a target. There are only a very few who are in that inner bullseye circle. Those who know the inner secrets and workings of my life and mind. As you move out the rings of the target you know less and less about me. I do think there is a place for those on the outer rings. They pass through like ships. Imagine what life could be if that inner circle were larger? If the tribe were larger.
Critical is the old saying
To have a friend be a friend.
You can hardly expect acceptance without accepting. Support without supporting. To confide without listening. To be invited without hosting. Perhaps that is the key to finding your tribe? Extend what it is you would like to others and see who responds in kind.