I recently came across a quote that read, “Your vibe attracts your tribe”. I’m not sure who penned it, but for me, it really resonated. Here’s why.
As far back as I can remember, I have been the person who tries to get along with everyone. I’m not a big believer in confrontation, and thus, avoid it whenever possible. I have been the recipient of many “fake” friendships; surrounded by people whose sole purpose was to get something from me, whether it be time, money, or support. I’ve spent years in a state of emotional exhaustion in my effort to try and get along with others. I find, however, that I’m reaching a point in my life where I can no longer stand to be around such “life-suckers”. Not wanting to come across as a heartless bitch but desperately needing to provide an “exit here” sign to a handful of people I currently associate with, I explained my predicament to a friend on the eve of her fortieth birthday. Without skipping a beat she handed me my first initiation into the “fuck-it forties” club. “It’s totally a thing” she explained, “I started noticing it in my late thirties; I just couldn’t tolerate certain people’s BS anymore. I was like ‘Seriously, get your shit together, I have my own to deal with.’” At that moment a light from the heavens shone down on me and I instantly felt liberated. “So what I’m feeling is totally normal?!” I asked, with a hint of way too much excitement. “You bet, it’s all part of separating those that enrich your life from those that keep sucking the life out of you. At least, that’s how I see it”, was her straight forward and wonderfully honest answer.
While I am still just over a year away from my own fortieth birthday celebration (or total avoidance, haven’t decided which), this truth-be-told conversation left me taking a hard look at some of those with whom I surround myself; which, ironically, is exactly around the same time the above quote magically made its appearance. I have had many friendships in my life, some closer than others, but definitely a large enough group to know the difference between those which involved genuine, respected exchanges versus the “what-can-you-do-for-me” ones. Sadly, in more cases than I care to admit, many fell into the latter category.
Gratefully, I now have three people in my life who I proudly label as my best friends. Each of them has seen the worst of me and the best of me, and each has stayed by my side despite various periods of emotional lunacy (that’s a story for another time). They are my biggest supports, my most honest critics, and my own personal cheerleaders – and I love each dearly. They make up my personal “tribe” as each reflects and respects my “vibe” just as much as I do theirs. While recently reading yet another self-help book I was blind-sided by a moment of self-reflecting “uh-oh” over the fact that I focus the least amount of my attention to these three super important people. The reasoning? Because I’ve started to take their friendships for granted. Each lives a great distance for me, so it takes a bit of effort to stay connected, even more to see them in person. I had another moment of clarity shortly after my “fuck-it forties” conversation that made me take a closer look at some of those with whom I was devoting most of my time and energy – and the three people who I love and respect most were not near the top. My immediate tribe was becoming overrun with self-depreciating people who looked to me as their perpetual talking-post; a medium in which they could purge all their negativity with the hopes that I would be the one to apply the emotional Band-Aid. After years of this “verbal terrorism” (to quote bell hooks), I’ve become tired and bitter; and I very much miss my three besties.
Being consciously awake to the fact that I’m in the midst of my own transitional life journey, I know that those who will see me through it will be the three people whose friendship I value most in this world. T.W. J.S. & J.L. – know that I plan to concentrate much more effort in staying in touch, seeing you whenever possible, and just plain enjoying my life with you being a part of it. And also know that shared tribe members watch each other’s back, so I’ve got each of yours…always.
Do yourself a favour and phone your friends. Like, legitimately, pick up the phone, dial their number and TALK. The people in your life that matter most are the ones that have shown you what love, respect, humour, and fun not only look like, but feel like. They see each as a verb, not just a noun; where actions not only speak volumes but an unwavering truth.
Go old school and phone a friend today.
Reconnect your tribe.