I’m going to be 35 soon, which to me feels absolutely ancient. Don’t you remember being a kid and your parents were 35 and you always thought, “oh my gosh my mom is so old?” Yeah. I’m about to be that old mom at 35. And it scares the you know what out of me. Mostly because I still feel like I’m 20 in a lot of aspects of my life. Yet before I know it I’m going to be 50. Shit. Thankfully mom jeans have made a comeback. Not that I ever wear anything but sweatpants because I’ve slowly morphed into that mom, but whatever.
If there’s one good thing that’s come out of this old age I’m entering into (and let’s be honest, I have a LOT of good things in my life to be thankful for), it’s the coming into my own that I’ve experienced over the course of the past few years. The final realization that I just don’t give AF about other people’s opinions (mostly, or at least I try not to). The embracing of a this-is-who-I-am mentality and being comfortable enough that if someone doesn’t like it, it’s no sweat off my back. (Is that the saying?) Sweat off my brow? Shirt off my back? No, I don’t know. You get the idea. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve finally realized this is my life, and I’m going to spend my time doing what makes me happy, and not focus on what others are thinking about my life.
And something else I’ve learned as I enter into middle age is that life is too short to spend your time surrounded by people who make you feel like crap. You should be seeking out a tribe that understands you, listens to you, loves you despite your flaws, isn’t afraid to call you out on your bullshit but accepts you for who you are no matter what, and ultimately – who claps and cheers for you. If you’re finding yourself in situations and relationships where people are doing nothing but bringing you down, why are you still continuing to spend time in that circle?
You should be spending time with people who continuously lift you up. But, it’s important to remember that you should also be doing the same for them. Friendships aren’t one sided. Even casual relationships shouldn’t be one sided. If people are cheering you on, and you’re just expecting it and accepting it and moving on, what are you bringing to that person that uplifts them?
Here are three simple ways you can instantly lift someone else up (and in turn, feel pretty dang good about filling your own bucket:
- Compliment Someone
- Believe in them
- Be available
When you see a friend or acquaintance doing something amazing (or even doing something simple), call them out on it in a GOOD way. Tell them you noticed what a good job they did. Find something positive to say about them, instead of critiquing or letting them know you think they could have done something differently. I used to be part of a circle where jealousy was at an all time high. We didn’t congratulate one another on a job well done, or offer a compliment when we saw someone excelling. Instead, we pointed out the flaws because we were so insecure that we couldn’t just genuinely be happy for another person’s success. I say “we” – because all of us in this circle were guilty of this behavior at one point or another. Circles like that are toxic. If you find yourself in a circle like that and the behavior doesn’t change collectively, get yourself a new circle.
Show Someone You Believe in Them
How does it make you feel when someone encourages you and tells you that you are capable of doing whatever it is you set your mind to? It’s amazing, right? Do that for someone else. Show them you believe in their abilities, in their passion and in them in general. Sometimes just telling someone, “you can do it!” is all it takes to make a difference in their day.
Make Yourself Available
If you are someone who constantly is venting to your friends; needing advice or wanting to talk about your problems, then you need to make sure you’re doing the same for them. Make yourself available, truly available, when someone comes to you with a problem. Listen to them and truly try to understand their point of view, and be supportive with whatever they’re going through. This can even apply to just taking an interest in the other person. Shutting up about yourself to listen to what’s new in their life, and being truly invested in their interests and what they have going on.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.