On Friends & Friendships

imagesSocial media has made it possible for people to become friends to anyone around the globe merely through the click of a button. I think it’s generally a good thing. My need for friendship isn’t too much but once I decide to build one, I intend to make it genuine as much as I can. Somehow, maintaining friendships can be hard work but so worth it at the same time because our friendships are one of the most influential and essential parts of our life. Recently, I’ve been pondering quite often about my friends and friendships. The friends worth keeping and friendships worth saving. The fact of the matter is that, my social circle is quite noticeably shrinking. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I actually think I quite understand now what they mean with “less is more” and “quality over quantity.”

images (1)I first arrived in Kuwait on the 1st of March, 2009. I have a variety of friends back home but very few real ones. They’re some of the best people I’ve met. The kind of friends for keeps. A few weeks since, my friendships have changed a lot. I’ve met different people of different nationalities. Most of the friendships/connections built were situational. Most needed context to make sense. Some stayed longer while some had a shorter shelf life. I still do wish them well now but I don’t intend to reconnect. Luckily, I also get to meet a few that didn’t need any context but exist in any given situation, people who are always there during my ups and downs, stayed during my best and my worst days, the type that lasts.

Several times, I let go of a few friends while a few others let go of me as well. I didn’t think I was being selfish to let go of them just like that but mind you, it wasn’t always easy to put an end to it. However, given the world we live in and the values instilled in us, I knew it was necessary.download

A couple of years afterwards, two of my closest friends abruptly ended our friendship. I first received a message from one of them telling me never to call her again and a few days later, I received pretty much the same message from the other. Sure I’ve made mistakes and dealt with things the wrong way. We had misunderstandings at times which is pretty normal in any relationships but why they suddenly wanted to end the friendship, until now, I still don’t fully understand.

Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did.

My heart ached. It really did. Breaking up with friends is just as painful as any other relationship break-ups there is. So after months of failing to know how I’ve wronged them, I stopped. I thought maybe knowing the answer may not satisfy me just the same and I don’t want to drive myself crazy thinking why. I just finally allowed the hurt to help me grow. It was sure a painful way to end an almost decade of friendship but I’ve decided to just let go and move on. I still sometimes think of them though and wonder, did they give up easily on me? Or did I give up easily on them?

downloadI love my friends, really, I do. Friends are one of the most beautiful gifts of being alive. They help shape our lives one way or the other. They cheer, support, help and see the best in each other. Friendships that have depth and true understanding is one among the essential elements of a blessed life. And I feel blessed to have a handful of them. Interestingly enough, some of us drifted apart at some point for some reasons, both inevitable and necessary, but later found each other again and our bonds became stronger. Sadly though, not all our friends give us that good effect. Some lie. Some betray. Then it’s difficult to rebuild trust and loyalty once again. So sometimes it’s better that they end. And a lot of my friendships are meeting its end nowadays.

Whichever and however way we choose our friends/friendships, I think it’s vital that we offer a meaning in each other’s lives. It’s nice to think that we fulfill them and they fulfill us. My friends mean something to me in different ways and play different roles in my life. I do appreciate, value and respect each one of them. Be that as it may, I personally don’t find any reason to work on a friendship that leaves me unfulfilled. More so, friendships out of habit or obligation. That’s just not fair and friendships are voluntary so I think there’s nothing wrong in ending friendships that doesn’t suit you in a positive way anymore.

5e833fe87a8c01614aff165d433a3c29Sometimes, too, we just outgrow our friends. At some point we realize that they’re not good for us because they bring us down or whittle at our confidence every so often. Some friendships evolve with us, but some do not. I will not apologize for evolving closer to my true self and evolving past their comfort zones. We change as we age and grow. So I think it’s just right to let go of such friendships and accept that it’s over.

Other times, too, we have this friend who always swings the conversation back towards him/herself and has no interest in what we have to say. I’ve met a number of them kind and I just avoid them as much as I could and luckily, they themselves stop talking to me, too.

b9cf3e4b311dd4d5e5f3366375bf2c20Moreover, there’s betrayal. As it is with all kinds of relationships, nothing could murder friendships faster than betrayal. It hurts a lot to be betrayed. It hurts all the more to end a friendship because of betrayal. I no longer see any point of saving a friendship when one betrays the other.

From time to time, psychological or emotional issues also become reasons why friends drift apart. It’s important that we maintain everything balanced in our friendships. Support for each other. Will to help in making each other better. Give and take. Trust. Unfortunately, there are times when these factors shift its balance and no longer serve one or the other in a worthwhile, beneficial, balanced or positive way. One typical example is a change in fortune among friends. The manner how we deal with situations like this isn’t always the same, thus, causing friends to drift apart. Where envy or jealousy didn’t exist before starts to gradually emerge. It’s nice to have friends who are always there when we are at our worst but I just don’t get them when they leave us in times when our fate changes for the better. (More of this on another entry.) So I suppose, it all boils down to who we pick as friends in the first place.

I’ve also met a lot of people who just befriend you because they need you. We don’t usually see this right away at the beginning of friendships but eventually, it shows. They take, take, take. And you give, give, give. Then they leave you. They build it when they need it, and break it when they don’t.

Here’s the thing, it is important to always try our best to see things from different perspectives before we make rush judgments whether to still keep these friends or completely cut our ties with them. After all, we all make mistakes. Some of us (myself included) don’t like to rely on anyone for anything to get us through life’s hardships but perhaps there’s nothing wrong in giving the friendship a second chance, be a bit forgiving and understanding maybe, because throwing away a friendship can’t be that easy. Every kind of friendship adds something to our lives, good or bad, it’s just up to us how we are going to let it affect us.

Mental Detox, My Way

There’s so much hype everywhere on how to detox our body from the food we eat or products we use that harm our health. Detox could probably be the most popular word in terms of wellness these days but to be quite honest, I don’t do any body detoxification thingy. Really. I know it’s essential to our bodies but I’d get to that some time later. I find detoxing my mind more necessary. Our brains construct what actions to take so I find it very important to take care of my mind.

I am blessed to have had the pleasure of living a carefree and adventure-filled childhood. By adventure, I don’t mean magic carpet rides and stuff, I just mean exploring the beauty of the vast outdoors. Hiking, boating, kite-flying, bicycling (though I only hitch with my dad because I never learned how to!), horseback riding, name it and I’ve probably done or tried it. Then life happened. Adulthood started to loom over me quite a bit early.  The stress caused by sudden life changes at that time almost had me lose control of my mind. I’m a girl who overthinks things way too much. It’s just me, that’s just the way I am. So I got used to working my ass off no matter what it takes whenever I want to achieve something or get things done. I have always been that stubborn, hard-working but still happy-go-lucky girl in my world full of chaos.

Fortunately, I’m able to learn and take better control of my mind soon enough instead of falling into the trap of overthinking and stress. I’ve developed doing a mental detox from time to time and I find it is just as important as a body detox. Here’s what I usually do to release toxic thoughts that cloud my mind…

Taking a break from social media.

Nowadays, whether you’re into twittering, or photo-sharing or simply sharing everything worth-sharing (or not) to the public, there’s just the right social media application right for you. That’s just the world today. (I don’t have a Facebook account. I’ve just very recently signed up with Twitter and I’m inactive most of the time. I occasionally post on Instagram which I’ve also set on private.) The thing is, social media is associated with lots of bad stuff BUT it is associated with lots of good stuff as well. However, people these days consume a lot more time on it.

I strongly believe that we need to take a step back from social media once in a while. Shut down. This gives us the chance to connect to ourselves and to the people around us more. I really miss going out for lunch or dinner with friends without a mobile phone on the dining table, having in-depth conversations with them, asking questions and thinking of answers without searching the internet. Connecting to the real world, creating memories, experiencing things for the sake of experience and not for the purpose of posting on social media.

Taking long walks.

Walking helps me a lot to clear my head. Whenever I’m stressed from work or had an argument with someone, I try my best to go for a walk. When my longest relationship came to an end, walking has been a vital part of moving on. I’d spent at least an hour walking early in the morning or in the afternoon after work in the exit stairs of the apartment building. When I was left hanging clueless, I can’t bring myself to take a walk to be able to move on and let go. Why? I really don’t know. Eventually though, I was able to pick myself up again and started walking up and down the stairs as usual.

Moreover, walking always changes/improves my mood. After a manic day at work, I sometimes feel stressed so I go for a walk. Sometimes, my weekends are so boring that I feel so homesick, I go out for a walk. Walking does change/improve my mood in such situations.

Saying goodbye to toxic people.

I’ve had my fair share of toxic people in my life. I find it unhealthy when I’m in the company of people who make me feel less than myself. People, even so-called friends, who create drama and act like poison to my mind. Thank heavens, I find it easier now to get rid of such kind of people. And whenever I get rid of them, I’m always happier and drama-free!

Traveling.

This is my  most favoured way of having a total mental detox. I don’t hold back on calories when I travel and I don’t feel guilty about it. Food makes my world go ’round! I taste every possible food there is in places I travel to and that way, I’m able to relax and clear my mind completely! Also, discovering new places is surely relaxing. It rejuvenates my mind and it’s uplifting. It gives me a different view of life, a different perspective. I always come back from a trip wiser, refreshed and happier.

Cleaning and rearranging my room.

I don’t really like routine, I find it lethal. So even in cleaning my room, there’s no specific day/schedule and I rearrange my room any given moment I feel like doing it but most specially when I’m feeling out of sorts. When I rearrange my room in such a way that it makes sense to me at that particular moment, adding or removing stuff, it gives me great satisfaction and lifts my mood. It also helps me to identify what I really love having in my room, what I need and what I don’t. (It’s not always easy for me throwing things even when they’re useless already so I keep them all in storage boxes and just open and reminisce whenever I feel like it.) So even though you like routine, a bit of a change here and there once in a while will do your mind a lot of good.

Reading.

Reading (books, in general) has always been a big part of my self-development and has always been my favorite entertainment. And though there are never-ending distractions due to the world’s advancement in technology, reading is something I can’t remove from my system. Books are very powerful that they’re able to change and transform lives. It still is my favorite entertainment and definitely one of the best ways to relax and calm my mind. Not only do I feel better and relaxed, I always learn something new, too. Reading feeds my always hungry mind, engages and broaden my imagination,  stimulates my mind, expands my vocabulary and a whole lot more.

Taking some me time.

For the past six months or so, I’ve been actually telling myself more often to be selfish. I just thought, sometimes, it ain’t bad if it has to be all about me. Self-care is a necessity so I don’t feel guilty pampering myself. From June last year until early January, I’ve cut my hair thrice and dyed it twice. (I don’t really cut my hair very often and never tried dying it until 2016!) There was also a time when I’ve had my nails painted different colors weekly. I was never a fan of nail polishing until middle of last year and it’s actually fun. So the main idea here is do what gives you joy, either doing what you’ve always wanted doing or trying something new.

Writing a journal.

Though I’ve entirely stopped keeping a journal, I would still recommend doing so. I’ve been writing a journal for years, I loved it and I must say that being able to get all my thoughts and feelings on paper, good or bad. is a very effective way to declutter my mind. Writing honestly about how I feel helps my brain overcome emotional upsets. Scribbling a few lines of poetry like six-word stories or haikus, which I personally do, also helps.

~~~

I don’t claim to be an expert on mental detox but I find this worth sharing with you because I see good effect and development on myself since I started doing a regular mental detox. I get to focus on positive thoughts more each day and able to reconnect with myself more and more.

Do you guys do a mental detox as well? Share your tricks, too, in the comment section. I’d be happy to read them.

Thanks for reading and have a great day, homo sapiens! 🙂