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Learning How to Listen to Yourself and Move On

This is a non food post in case you are only here for recipes, which is fine! But I want to write more about other things important to me and this post just poured out of me last week. I hope you stay and read it. Food is super important to us and it can bring people together and be a huge comfort but it doesn't fill us up like relationships do or love or self care or laughter. Last week I really really realized how lucky I am to have supportive family and friends and to not waste my time on people who don't see how much I shine. So, if you read any of this, know that: you are shining and people love you.

Inspiration to write comes in many forms, some very unlikely or unexpected. Some of the most difficult situations we go through can actually open our eyes and show us everything we are blessed with or may have forgotten during our dark days. This past week I have done some soul searching about relationships and making new friends and I've come to a few conclusions that I want to share and hope they resonate with you.

New York City is exciting and scary and absolutely spectacular; I wouldn't live anywhere else. It is an environment that forces you to take a look at yourself, your life, what scares you and why and how you relate to other people. The city can be lonely and it can often be challenging to make friends and/or form long lasting relationships. People move to different cities, people grow and change and NYC is often a temporary place for people due to their job situation.

When I meet new people, I tend to dive in right away. If I click with someone, I embrace them with all I have. I want to spend alot of time with them, I seek them for inspiration and just generally want to appreciate them for who they are. Recently, one of my friendships ended and in looking back, I realized I ignored myself when I was wrapped up in the newness of this person. And, sadly, realized it wasn't a friendship at all.

I always think about what kind of friend I want so that I can try to be that kind of person to someone else. A friend should be someone you can count on to be there for you when you go through dark times. They should be someone you can be yourself around, someone who supports you and, ultimately, is loyal. I recently tried to be a very supportive friend but there were too many issues that I was trying to ignore.

Some red flags when you find yourself in a relationship with someone, a friend or a lover, that you must pay attention to:
  1. If you are neglecting your own self care to be with this person, you need to reassess.
  2. If you feel like you can't be yourself, say what you feel or show your true personality, this may not be the relationship for you.
  3. If the relationship is one-sided, if you are always doing something the other person wants to do and not what you want to do, you must reassess.
  4. If there is another aspect to the relationship such as you work for the person or the person works for you, don't mix business and personal. It won't work. Don't do it. You must somehow be friendly with the person but also not a friend.
  5. If you are constantly worried what they will think of you, you must reassess why you are in this relationship.
  6. If they say things to demean you or overly criticize you, that's not a friend.
During the reassessment process, you need to ask yourself if any of the 6 points above applies to your relationship. Another part of the reassessment process is stopping and getting back to yourself. Meditation is a wonderful way to listen to your breath, get quiet and refresh your mind, body and spirit. If you have a hard time getting started with meditation (more about that in my next article), turn on some relaxing music and listen to a song or two with your eyes closed, seated in a comfortable position. Breathe in and out deeply 4 times and you will begin to feel more relaxed.

In hindsight, it all seems so easy and something I wish I had practiced. I latched onto this person and tried to be their friend and ignored so many red flags; it did not end up to be the relationship I thought it was and that hurts...alot.

As a woman, my female relationships are so important to me. I find my female friends engaging and stimulating and supportive; my closest friends from college are women who I have known now almost 20 years and who I could never be without. When I moved to NYC, I needed to find friends here. It's more difficult to make friends when you get into your 30's, at least for me, because you become more set in your ways, you don't compromise as easily and you know who you are a little bit more. And as a single woman who is focused on her small business, I look to other (usually older) single women who have had amazing lives as a source of inspiration. I thought I found a friend who embodied this idea of a strong, independent, amazing women and it turned out not to be true. It was my need to find someone to look up to that ultimately caused me to lose myself in this relationship. To make me forget that I'm already a strong, independent woman and that maybe I need to look to myself for inspiration. I put people on pedestals and they always fall off.

We all must find ways to cope with lost friendships, broken relationships, rejection, deception etc and they need to be healthy coping mechanisms. Find an outlet for your emotions; today I poured out all of this here as a way to begin to get over this person. To think about what kind of friend I was and was not to her and to get back to myself. Yoga, meditation, exercise, talking to a friend, crying to a friend, these are all healthy outlets on a pathway to healing.

There is nothing worse than finding out someone doesn't feel the same way about you. You kind of lived in a little fantasy world for a while and then the bubble bursts. But even as you feel hurt, you feel almost a sense of relief. Relief that you can be yourself again, that you are free from the drama (even if you created some of it in your mind), and free to get back to yourself.

Leave the situation behind you as much as can...with love. Think of the other person with love, send them love from your heart and try to leave any anger or resentment behind. And focus on building a relationship with yourself again.

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