By Diane Gage Lofgren & Margaret Bhola
Women who surround themselves with friends and family are 50 percent less likely to die at an early age than those without a social life, according to research from Brigham Young University and the University of Northern California. And the hormone oxytocin, released when women share each other’s company, staves off stress and disease. Friendships are both a release valve and a cacoon of comfort and safety. Sharing our lives with women who care about us gives us a feeling of belonging and understanding. A definite “must” in most women’s lives.
If we want someone to connect with, we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Going from acquaintance to friend means moving beyond surface talk and delving deeper into our feelings, frustrations and desires. It’s impossible to create a strong bond until we have revealed who we really are. So what makes us tick or ticks us off? What are we passionate about? What do we stand for?
When we let ourselves be real and transparent, we give others permission to follow suit. Someone has to go first, though. Once your friend has proved herself trustworthy, you will discover rich rewards when you share your truth because it opens a door to honest conversation and deeper connection.
The great news about sharing our vulnerabilities is that we can maybe prevent others from making the same mistakes we did and vice versa. Gaining wisdom from someone else’s experience is priceless. We’re all ignorant in certain areas, so why not be enlightened before we step into something we could have avoided?
The beauty of sharing our lives with other women is that if we fall or falter, we have someone to pick us up and encourage us to go on. It’s a beautiful thing to know we are not alone…that someone else has had that same feeling of relief or viscerally relates to the pit in our stomach or that sleepless night. And, having friends to share the joy of an accomplishment or a miracle that occurred in your life makes it all the sweeter. We all need cheerleaders in our lives, and there is no one better at it than a committed friend who is not afraid to say, “Well done! You did it! Congratulations!!”
When we let them know they are fabulous, one of a kind, worthy of praise, we give a gift not only to them, but all the lives they touch! So go ahead, find another soul sister. Reach out. Spend time, Share dreams, hopes, disillusions and disappointments. The more you do, the closer you’ll grow, and soon you’ll blossom into women you each want to grow old with!