I am sure that I am going to break up some friendships with this article.
Life is full of lessons, and one painful one that most of us have encountered at some point in our lives, is that of a need to define the bounds of friendship. It can be painful because in defining the parameters of friendship, many of us have come to the realization that we have been “friends” with people who do not know what that really means, and we have been left feeling hurt and betrayed.
Friendship is a relationship built on trust, loyalty and understanding of each other’s needs. It is not based on greed, guilt or deceit, and yet many of us have had friendships with people we unknowingly formed a bond with, only to discover that the person never really had our best interest at heart. To them friendships are formed based on what they can get from another person, as they live their life using people for their own means.
Some examples of this are: friends who need a drinking buddy so they pressure you to be it, knowing your weakness is alcohol. You find yourself only being called or asked to go out when that friend wants to drink. Another is a friend, who has a life partner and possibly a child, and they’re looking for either free babysitting and/or they like that you are single and available to be their “go to” friend when things need done. You may find yourself constantly being asked to “help” with things like home décor or renovation, shopping, cooking or various other chores that they tell you that they don’t seem to have the time for. At first this type of friendship may seem okay to you, after all helping out friends is important. The problem occurs if that help is hardly ever or never reciprocated back to you. To test this theory, ask yourself, are they suddenly and consistently unavailable to help when you need it? How about when you meet someone? Do they act jealous or try to sabotage your love life? These types of “friends” don’t want you to get a life because then you won’t be available to be the servant for theirs.
So what defines a true friend then? A true friend is someone who is there for you when you need them, and reciprocates that back to you. An example of this is being able to call you at 2am because something major has happened to them and they need to talk to you. If this happens every once in a while and you know that you can call them at 2am if you needed to as well, this type of situation is okay. Now, if the 2am phone call happens every weekend because they are drunk and need a lift home, then that is a problem.
True friends will call you to ask about you and your life. They have an interest in who you are, those you love, and what you are doing. They also don’t try to push you to do things you don’t want to such as drinking, drugs or to be in situations that you don’t want to be in. They also don’t have an expectation that they will get something from you all the time. They are happy to be around you without strings attached.
So what kind of friends do you have? Are they complimenting your lifestyle or creating negativity in your world?
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1. Volume: Begin by examining your vocal volume to determine how you are perceived by others in social situations. For example, do you stutter and stumble upon your words, struggling to communicate? Perhaps you are the opposite: loud and brash, you let everyone in the room know that you are there. The ideal volume for speaking falls in between these two scenarios. Loud enough to be heard but not shouting at a person. Shouting at clients in Hypnotherapy practice is frowned upon! It’s not a relaxing way to communicate and it can scare people. Now, If I whispered and stuttered at my clients they would not understand what I was saying would they? If this is your problem, consider working with someone on self-confidence and voice projection. Joining a choir for example, is a great and fun way to learn voice projection and gain confidence in volume control and public appearances.
2. Tone: Tonality is important in communication. As a Hypnotherapist it is very important that my tone convey a professional, relaxed manner. I try to speak in even tones, with emphasis when required. Many women especially, have a habit of turning their comments into questions by placing the emphasis at the end of the sentence by raising their tone. To illustrate this tonality, I have created a simple question posed to a hypothetical woman named Mary. Question: “what did you do today Mary?” Answer: “Well, we went canoeing on the lake?” (raises tone of voice at end of sentence to create a question) This should be a statement but it has been turned into a question. Why is this wrong? By turning statements and facts into questions, the validity and merit of what you are saying becomes weakened. If your speech tonality reflects that you are looking for validation in what you are saying, it shows that you have a lack of confidence in your own words.
3. Breathing: Many people who are nervous in social situations unconsciously increase their breathing rate often to the point of sounding breathless (which they tend to be) It is important to remember to take several deep breathes if you find yourself becoming nervous or anxious. Even confident speakers can become breathless due to over exertion and excitement in relaying their point. Take the time to pause during conversations. It allows you to hear what the other person is saying, and if needed gives you time to get your breathing to a comfortable level again. Practicing speaking in front of the mirror is a good way to work on controlling your breathing as you can see how you are acting physically. Do you tense your shoulders? Do you hold your breath at any point? Watch yourself in the mirror and see what happens. Another option is to work with a close friend who will not judge you. You can then have discussions on a variety of social topics, while working on breathing and listening skills.
If you take the time to work on these 3 areas, you are well on your way to mastering the art of socializing comfortably and with confidence.
Let Your Spirit Grow.com
In today’s society we have created a Scale of Acceptability. At the top if this scale, rating high in value is a concern for family and friends and their physical well-being. Family pets, those cherished companions of fur, feathers and scales are considered to be an important part of many people’s lives and almost any expense for their upkeep and care is generally accepted to be a certainty.
Now, let us look at our physical health. When a Dr. prescribes medication to treat a condition or perhaps we have to buy a medical device like a support for the back or a brace for the leg, we go ahead and purchase what is needed. These things are often considered a bother and yes, it can be an extra expense but we pay anyway, knowing that it will benefit our health in the long run. Generally speaking, arguing with the Pharmacist over the cost, rolling your eyes at them, or trying to waggle a deal to get extra pills is not something that is done. It is considered rude and not something that most people would do, because the service that is being offered is valued. In addition, the Dr. and Pharmacist have been placed in a high value position on that Scale of Acceptability.
Now, let us look at our mental health. Discussions about mental health often make people feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it triggers memories relating to mental health issues for that individual or someone they know. However when issues relating to mental health are considered “real” that is, a Dr. has diagnosed a clinical mental illness, the mental illness is then placed on the Scale of Acceptability. For each person there is a range where it will be categorized but none the less it is there. Once it has been place there, any treatments and/or medications are considered an acceptable expense that will be paid for without argument.
Now led us look at Spiritual health. When we talk about Spiritual health we talk about the mind-body –spirit connection. This is a cycle that exists in us, and around us, and when it is broken or disrupted in some way, we are limited in physical, emotional, or mental ways. Many people for example, can develop physical pains for which conventional medicine has no answer.
Where does Spiritual health fall on the Scale of Acceptability? For many people it does not even merit a spot. A stigma exists with regards to seeking help for Spiritual health. It has been my experience in my practice, that there seems to be an unwritten and often unspoken rule of silence, shame and sadly, frequently of Ignorance. Tied into this, is a resistance even for those seeking help, to honour the value of the service. I have personally witnessed with clients a strong level of self-sabotage and extreme resistance. The resistance covers all areas from willingness to listen, learn and implement personal change to paying for the services itself! When it comes to value for value, this is where there is a disconnect for many people. I believe it stems from feeling insulted and vulnerable in seeking out and accepting spiritual based services, as in doing so means that a person must not only acknowledge their need for the Spiritual help but also their desire for it.
Now is the time to determine where Spiritual health falls on your Scale of Acceptability. Honour and accept yourself for all that you are and all that you can be by giving it a place of importance. In doing so, you acknowledge all of yourself. You also show respect for the skills and training of the practitioner you seek in your personal journey for Spiritual health.
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Jade is a certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, Spiritual Coach, Intuitive Tarot Reader and EFT Practitioner. LetYourSpiritGrow.com has evolved from offering alternative healing services to becoming an information resource for those who are open to thinking outside the box