By Sunny Simon
The day I met Carol I knew I wanted to be exactly like her. Approximately twenty years later, I’m still aspiring to emulate the many loving characteristics my friend shares with the world. Although I will probably never reach the level of a Carol clone, I am humbled by the immense blessing of her friendship.
Everyone needs a Carol in their life. She is the type of person who never gives up on me. When discouragement drags me down, Carol lifts me up me with sincere words like, “I am confident you will work through it.” So I take another swing at whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish because, trust me, when you have an encourager like Carol on your side, you don’t want to let her down.
John Donne was right when he wrote, “No Man is an island.” Connecting with other human beings is essential to living a happy balanced life. By cultivating a close circle of friends you are awarded numerous perks. Obviously someone like Carol inspires me to reach my goals. I connect with my friend Alex when I need a reality check. Jeanette, who entered my life when we were toddlers, is the person I talk to when I need to draw strength from my roots. When I’m in danger of veering off-course, these friends keep me grounded.
There are compelling reasons why friendships are vital to our well-being. According to scientific studies, people who develop strong social relationships are less likely to die prematurely when compared to individuals who live isolated. Friends are stress busters. Researchers at UCLA find women often reach out to a BFF while working through upsetting issues. Connecting with someone you share a close bond with can actually help reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
How flat and dull the good times would be without friends who rejoice in our triumphs. When you ace that primo interview, announce your engagement or buy the new home celebrating with people who care makes the occasion so much sweeter.
Bottom line – friendships are a two-way street. Long ago you were taught to have a friend you must first learn to be a friend. In keeping a Carol, Alex or Jeanette in our lives we must give as good as we get. National Friendship Week is supposedly sometime in August, but who cares? Let’s celebrate it this week by letting our peeps know how much we value them. In gratitude to for all the friends (too numerous to name) who have entered and enriched my life…hats off to friendship!
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog www.lifeonthesunnyside.net