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Why Stay Connected? 3 Reasons to Build & Keep Good Relationships

On the back cover of the magazine that we handed out at the Lovely Experience, a statement was written. It said, “Becoming <3ly is just the beginning.”

The Lovely Project One Day Experience has come and gone. During that day, many hands were shaken, hugs were given, and more names than we could remember were exchanged. We laughed, cried, texted, Instagram-partied, ate, cheered, sat in silence, sang, danced… We learned about how infinitely valuable each and every one of us is, how we have a powerful voice that can change lives, and that we, too, can stand up and ‘volunteer as tribute’ for others in our lives once our valor is ignited. To put it simply – it was an awesome day.

So, shall we all just continue on with life, letting this weekend become just a memory we occasionally chat about? “Remember when we went on that Lovely One Day? That was nice…” “Oh yeah, they served Subway right?” “Yeah! Subway is so good. Let’s go get a sub now!”

On the back cover of the magazine that we handed out at the Lovely Experience, a statement was written. It said, “Becoming <3ly is just the beginning.”

What we experienced on Saturday was just the beginning. I hope that you don’t let that beginning become an ‘end,’ and that you’re looking to stay connected with those of us who were there alongside you at the One Day.

I believe that staying connected is the key to a happy and fulfilling life. My life has been forever changed (in a wonderful way) because of the good, healthy friendships I have. Once I connected with people who inspired me, who had a VISION and goals for their life (that they were actively pursuing), I started to become like them. More of my goals became realities. I accomplished things that no one person could do by herself. On top of that, I laughed more. I smiled more. So my conclusion is this – life with friends > life without friends.

Even if you weren’t at the One Day, this topic is important. (And I don’t think so just ‘cause I’m the one writing about it.) I know that, deep in your heart, you want connection. That aspiration may manifest itself in the desire for a best friend, for a ‘soul mate,’ or just someone who will always BE there for you. I feel ya. I’ve been there.

Let’s look at the three reasons why it is important to build and keep good relationships.

1.       Loneliness kills.

“Social isolation has many well-documented side effects. Kids fail to thrive. Crime rises. Politics coarsens. Generosity shrivels. Death comes sooner (social isolation is as big a risk factor for premature death as smoking). Well-connected people live longer, happier lives, even if they have to forgo a new Lexus to spend time with friends.”*

Loneliness does crazy things to people. And if you’re like most people who have felt lonely at some point in their life, you know how horrible feeling alone is. At one point in my life, I remember how much heartache I felt when I realized that I had no one who I felt comfortable calling whenever I needed to vent. The friendships I did have were empty and without substance. And because I felt alone, I turned to the only comfort that I saw readily available – which, at that time, was alcohol.  Because of how depressed I was, I couldn’t focus in school, and I failed out of a couple classes. All I thought about, all day long, was how alone I was, and how sad it made me. I was constantly under the influence of some sort of substance to try and drown out the feelings that were suffocating me.

Loneliness was slowly but surely demolishing my self-worth, my confidence, my potential, and my hopes for the future. If you can identify with me, and you’ve felt the effects of loneliness, I want to let you know two things. One, you’re not alone in feeling alone! Others have felt what you have felt. And two, you are not a lost cause. You do not have to suffer in loneliness for the rest of your life. There is a way out.

What totally demolished the feeling of loneliness in my life was not necessarily surrounding myself with just anyone. What rescued me was getting connected with a lovely group. If you’ve been reading any of the stories that were posted this past month, I’m sure you noticed the pattern – almost every single girl saw growth and healing in their situation once they had the camaraderie of a lovely group around them. If you’re a girl in Orlando, looking to get involved in a lovely group, then please, contact us! And, if you’re not a girl in Orlando, I challenge you to find a group in your area that you can become a part of. It may seem scary putting yourself out there at first, but I seriously have never been happier than I am now in life, and that is due to the incredible relationships I’m in.

2.       Friendships fill.

“Friends are like an elevator – they either bring you up, or take you down.”

Learning this lesson changed my life – you become who you hang out with. So, look around you. See your closest friends? See where their lives are at? Consider this – when you’re looking at them, you’re pretty much looking into a mirror! So, put some serious thought into who you surround yourself with. “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future…”

There is such a thing as bad friends. There are people who don’t make wise decisions. A wise person once said, ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Look around at your company. Are they bringing you up, or bringing you down?

Good, healthy friendships are so fulfilling. And I’ll give you two ways they are. First, good friends boost your self esteem. They are there to encourage you, to motivate you, to help you get up and keep going when you don’t have enough strength by yourself. It is such a good feeling knowing that someone believes in you and trusts you. It pumps you up. You feel like what was once impossible is now child’s play, because you’re not facing it alone.

The second way is that a good friend will give you their honest opinion. If they see you doing something silly, they will say it. If you’re about to go jump off a cliff, they are going to tug on your sleeve and say, “Don’t go there, girlfriend.” Someone who has done this for me more times than I can count is Aslinn. I know I can count on her to have my back. And sometimes, that means she had to say really hard things to me – stuff that isn’t comfy-cozy to chat about in the moment. But I look back on each of those conversations with fondness and appreciation. If she would have just sat back and let me continue on in certain trains of thought or actions, I would not be the woman I am today. Her friendship has definitely brought me uphill. (You rock, Aslinn!)

3.       ‘Connectedness’ thrills.

“Having fun is not a diversion from a successful life; it is the pathway to it.”**

Seriously, being connected in healthy relationships is SO. MUCH. FUN. Ridiculously fun. Laugh-until-you-cry fun. I-can’t-believe-my-life-is-this-good fun. We-have-way-too-many-inside-jokes-that-confuse-other-people fun.

Some things just aren’t fun by yourself. Like dancing around to a crazy song. (See below)

I read an article recently about faux fun vs. real fun.** One point that stuck out to me was that faux (fake) fun helps you ignore problems, while real fun helps you overcome problems. For example, when I used to drink every single day, I thought that was what ‘fun’ was, and that drinking would solve my problem of feeling alone/depressed. That’s what my ‘co-drinkers’ said it’d do for me. But really, by the next morning, I was still depressed, hated my life, and I also had to deal with feeling sick from the mass amount of alcohol I consumed. (And drinking never solved their problems, either.) Real fun doesn’t leave you with a hangover. It’s not a fake charade or cover-up. It doesn’t have negative consequences. It makes you (and others) feel better.

What kind of fun are you having with your friends? Is it faux fun, or is it real fun?

Being connected in good friendships is awesome. I hope that you choose to stay connected with us! And if this is the first time you’ve visited our blog, I hope you decide to become connected with us! The more friends we have the merrier.

And remember, dear friend – you are so, so very <3ly. Anyone would be blessed to be your friend.

CONThana

*Read more: Time Magazine 

**Read more: Why You Need More Fun in Your Life