Who is Your Mrs. Barbara?

I'll have to admit, when I was in college, I was a little mortified when Facebook opened up its platform to parents…da da DUM!  I was too concerned with Spring Break disownment to see the benefits of their inclusive measures.

But today, is a new day - and there is a lot of safety in age 30.  It's not that I'm not as scared of my parents (let's be real, I'm scared of mom), it's because at this point, I'm too far along to disown.  They've invested too much in me at this point to turn back.  YOU ARE MINE.

So, one of the enjoyable features the wide world of Facebook has bestowed to me is getting to know my mom's friend circle.  Dear ole' mom still can't stomach Facebook, but her friends sure get down with it!  I've gotten adds from all her buddies and can enjoy in their girls dinners, trips and scrapbook yesteryear shares.  Even though I haven't physically met some of them, I seriously delight in knowing they are apart of my mom's life and love her enough to seek out her daughters…and on top of that support them!  I'm always getting all kinds of positive reinforcement from her clan.

One of my mom's friends who I actually do know personally, is my childhood neighbor, Mrs. Barbara. When I was running around the yard in either a Dorothy or Snow White outfit, climbing trees, playing fort, or making my playhouse the "Adoption Agency", she was a fence away from every girly laughter shriek, "LAURA DON'T TOUCH THAT!" battle cry, and Disney ballad I wanted to perform.  Lord bless her.

But when I was younger, she was "Mrs. Barbara".  She was the mother of 2 young men, the wife of Mr. Woody and the pup-mom of "Skipper".  I could always count on her to be a solider when our elementary school made us sell holiday wrapping paper.  I would have never made a field trip without her purchases.  Many thanks.

But now that Mrs. Barbara has integrated me into her Facebook world, I see pictures of her way before she was MY "Mrs. Barbara".

Take this one for example:
Isn't she a looker?  [Insert whistle here].

But when I saw this picture, it really touched me.  Because in her, I saw MY friends.  The girls I'm having girls dinners with NOW.  The gals I'm making road trip and vacation memories with as we speak.  The homegirls who I take pictures with at parties and I can call when a call is needed.

It's a "wow" kind of moment.

I realized that all my friends who have lil' ones (you know who you are!)  may one day have a Facebook account (if it even exists by then) and will see all the pictures I have of their mamas.  (Because you KNOW I'm going to complete the Circle of Life and add their children.  It will happen.)

So, today, let's thank our many "Mrs. Barbara's" in our life.  Look around at your friends.  Their "now" picture persona will one day be like the one above - a snap shot of them…before they add your children on Facebook.  But in all seriousness, it is such a privilege to share our friends, with the children who will be in their lives.

I sure know I'm thankful for the presence of my mother's friends in my life.



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When A "Friend" Just Can't Be Happy For You

I'm a workshop warrior and not only present them, I attend many of these day-semester of love series.  One of the many reasons I love a workshop setting is how a small group of people will open up the "real" questions in us all.  Those inquiries we've been itching to ask suddenly have a stage to present themselves.

One particular question was asked during a recent workshop and the number of head nods and "Yes!" responses that abounded in the room let me know people were DYING to talk about this… the query:

"How do you deal with 'friends' who can't seem to be happy for you?" 

Maybe you gave a head-nod and a "Yes!" at your screen just now. 

Here are some examples participants gave of when these 'friends' revealed their begrudging colors:

: You are giddy-style happy in your relationship - be it dating, engaged or married 
: You take fun trips
: You earn a promotion or land a big career boost
: You moved into a nice pad or got a drool-worthy new car 
: You get lots of positive feedback/attention from others (be it a Facebook post or an outfit you wear out).
: You commit to a new healthy lifestyle and obtain body karate status (maybe after the birth of a child or just because you wanted to shed some pounds). Physique envy. 
: You inherit money from a loved one who passed or happened to marry into funds
: You raise a good set of kids who excel in whatever they put their minds to (AND they have manners)
: Your significant other receives a major step-up in salary and encourages you to quit a 9-5 job to pursue your passions (basically, they support you while you develop your speciality)
: You are pursued in the dating field more than they are
: You were selected for a certain group, team or program and they weren't 

While I could give a workshop style run-down of this matter, I'll give you a befitting blog briefing: We're talking about jealousy, people.  Plain, and not-so simple.  

The interesting thing about jealousy is, it likes to hide…but it sucks at hiding.  Just like the cousins who would hide behind your granny's living room curtains - whispering, giggling, and moving with their very neon sneakers, jealously is also not-so talented in the camouflage department.

Usually it exposes itself through passive aggressive comments,  down-playing or downright ignoring major stepping stones in your life, glare episodes or behind-the-scenes bitter talk.   Everyone has dealt (or is even currently dealing with) this kind of corrosive behavior.  It grinds away at the friendship stone till anything of solid substance is now dust in the wind.  

You know the saying, "You find out who you're real friends are when life gets low?"  Well, actually, you can find out that same valuable information when life hits its peaks.  Some people can't stand the rain, others apparently snub the sun.

Here are 3 ways to analyze and amend a jealous friendship gap:

1.  Study Your Material: What life "homework" could this friend be stepping into the professor role for you to master?  Perhaps you could use some more experience in releasing your people pleasing tendencies.  Maybe you need to embody and own your self-worth more, and the hater vibe will really strengthen those self-love muscles.  It could be a case of you needed some training in the acceptance arena.  Acknowledge all your potential learning curves.  If you ignore them, they'll just show up later. 

2. Craft the Carefrontation: Forget confrontation, that's an old and busted model in the realm of solution seeking.  One-on-one (not at the next friend gathering) ask your "friend" if something specific is bothering them.  You never know if they will break down and confess that things are falling apart for them and they're hanging by the seams - this supreme unhappiness being the root of their non-supportive behavior.  Most likely though, you will receive the, "No, everything's fine.  Why do you ask?" line.  This is when your carefrontation skills need to embody some serious compassion.  Open up and be heart-sleeve honest about how you've perceived certain behaviors or reactions from them.  Note saying how you've "perceived" their actions is key.  Otherwise you make stiff allegations where a viable explanation might stand. (For instance, you announced your engagement on the anniversary of your friend's father's passing and you just didn't know it.  The lack of genuine excitement, or "Seriously?" vibe on that particular day is thus explained).  Compassionate and clear communication is THE prerequisite for results. 

3.  Release the Reigns: As much as you'd love to guide your friend into co-existing happiness harmony, the truth is they only get there if they want to go there.  As off as it sounds, some people are not in a stage in their development where they can actively participate in a joyous manner for others.  Their stage might solely consist of the drinking buddy/ vent session partner/ or other join the misery party escapades.  They simply do not have the tools to accompany you into your new growth grounds.  It would be like toting a 3rd grader to prom.  The 3rd grader thinks dances are stupid, hates dressing up, and thinks the opposite sex is gross.  You on the other hand, don't exactly want to get down to the Harlem Shake with the Cheeto-fingered Kool-Aid king who wore Spiderman shoes and has to be home by 7 PM.

The reason, season, and lifetime terms apply 100% here.  Whatever friend (or friends) you have to release, you will no doubt attract other more like-minded personas to balance your friend circle in the future.  When you allow people to grow at their own rate, they will ultimately (even if only subconsciously) thank you for it.  



Like trips to perspective paradise more often?  Join one of my upcoming workshops (also offered online) or subscribe to my monthly MagaZEN

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