Find Your Tribe
Health and happiness is a two-fold journey. First, you must love yourself. I talk a lot on my blog and Instagram about loving yourself, caring for yourself, and un-apologetically embracing yourself for the good and the bad; the fresh and the old; the quirks and the flaws because I believe to love anyone else you must have a solid relationship with the person you can never escape being with: you.
The second part of this self-love journey is surrounding yourself with people who also love you. Now, I know it seems sort of common sense, “Of course you should surround yourself with people who care about you,” but the truth is it can be harder than you think.
Finding friends who support, motivate, protect, and unconditionally love you for who you are is easier said than done, however, I want to talk about how we sometimes actually make that goal…well... harder.
1.If you don't love yourself good luck loving others.
When I look in the mirror, I always do one thing. I nitpick. I rip myself apart if I am being frank. I hate this about myself and I don’t like the way this looks on me, etc. Then I go out into the world and try to live my life surrounded by people who care about me while the entire time, I hate the person I am…. I know this sounds harsh, but think about that.
How in the world can we find true friends or especially partners for life if we expect other people to care for us more, respect us more, like us more than we do? I think one of the hardest things in life is learning that we cannot escape ourselves, but also recognizing that that makes us extra hard on ourselves, as well. For example, have you ever woken up, looked right in the mirror and wanted to cry because you had a huge pimple on your cheek? Because, honey, I have. Then, you go and live your day constantly complaining about it, checking it in store windows, covering it up with layers and layers of makeup, only to have your friend say to you, “I can barely even see it!”
We are extremely critical of ourselves because we live with ourselves every waking moment of our lives. Having a bad relationship with the one person you cannot escape from is not going to work. Take some time before you jump into that boyfriend relationship or beg those girls to be your friends, and really see if you are actually your own friend.
Trying to find your tribe while hating your leader (aka you) is not going to work out in anyone’s favor.
If you do not love and respect yourself, you are going to find yourself with friends who do not truly love or respect you either. Why? Because they can sense that you don’t. If you constantly put yourself down whether it be physically, mentally, etc. then you will find yourself surrounded by people who love to do the same. We attract what we believe. We attract what we put out there. If we are sending signals of self-loathing and sadness then that is the wave that the Universe will return in our very direction.
Do not try to cover up the poor relationship you have with yourself by filling your life with negative relationships you have with others.
“Being a lone wolf does not have to be permanent, but if you are struggling to find who you are, don’t ask others to determine it for you.”
Love yourself first, then try to find your tribe. It can be hard and it can take a long time, but I can honestly say that the moment I was happy with who I was, where I was in my life, and I liked myself for me, I found people that felt the same way, which are the exact types of friends that you deserve.
2. Pay attention to how your friends respond when the rainbow is gone.
Whenever we are really down or have had a bad week, we put out certain vibrations. Have you ever woken up just on the wrong side of the bed and then EVERYTHING that day just went south very quickly? The way we act, think, and respond to situations in our lives is extremely important because it sets a tone between us and mother nature herself.
If you have been in a bad head-space lately or if you’ve just been sad and you really can’t pinpoint why that’s okay! You are allowed to be sad and you are allowed to be down! It’s completely normal and the fact that society tries to portray otherwise is downright ridiculous. You will not, you cannot, always be cheery, sunshine, and filled with not a care in the world! People have bad days, weeks, months, and true friends recognize that!
I have had many friends over the years. I don’t say that to sound like I’m bragging, instead, I’m trying to prove my point here from good experience:) I have been blessed with a lot of friends in a lot of places and I have learned that:
When the going gets tough, the true friends get stronger for you.
I have seen it in my own life. When I went through my eating disorder, when I was really struggling with anxiety, or when I experienced a breakup, my true tribe would hold me for hours, check on me throughout my day, or send me sweet texts when they knew I needed it most. They never expected anything back, but always gave me their all. They were kind and understanding if I was too upset to go to the bars that weekend or if I really just needed someone to hold me while I cried, they never complained once.
Now, all of my friends that I’ve ever had are important to me. However, my point here is that you want (you need) friends who are ride or dies. They love you when you are up and they bring you up when you are down. I have seen friends get angry at one another for being sad over a breakup or being cruel when one friend canceled plans because she was feeling really anxious.
Do not put up with that.
Your friends should treat you with unwavering compassion and support because hello, you would do that same for them!
Never allow people to make you feel bad because you had a sad day. Never call people your friends who don’t want the best for you and are willing to guide you through your storms throughout life, which we all have! Find people that light your lamp during your darkest days instead of leaving you in the pitch black alone when you needed them most.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Find people who make you feel sunshine.” Those are the friends you want and deserve because sometimes our rainbows stray and that shouldn’t change how your friends treat you, see you, or act towards you. We all lose our light from time to time, but true friends help bring it back instead of making you feel guilty for having your candle go out.
3. Not everyone will be your cup of tea; you don’t like all types of tea anyway.
Finding your tribe means finding your tribe, not finding everyone and hoping they want to be a part of your tribe. This was easily the hardest lesson I had to learn when I look back at myself over the years. Growth and change can be painful, extremely confusing at times, but when I reflect on my old self I see a girl who refused to have a single soul on this planet, not like her. I see a girl who never stood up for herself if it meant upsetting someone in the process. I see a girl who would bend head over heels for anyone and everyone (most of whom would not do the same for her). I see a girl who placed her value solely on the size of her circle.
I was never fake to these people! I didn’t want a million followers and friends because that meant I was cool and popular! Quite the opposite actually. I was so insecure in myself that if someone didn’t like me, I thought that meant that no one did or no one ever could again. If someone didn’t want to be my friend, then, I had failed. I was no longer perfect. I no longer could help everyone or call everyone my pal and that broke my insecure heart. This is very dangerous! Your value, self-worth, and confidence do not, and CANNOT, come from others! I’m a prime example. It almost killed me trying to please every single person I ever crossed paths with, and not only that, I lost myself in the process. I really didn’t know who I was or what I believed in when I graduated college because for years I had only cared about keeping the peace, making friends with everyone, never being upset, sad, or frowny. I was the one that everyone loved, but as I said earlier, I didn’t love myself, so none of that mattered.
You are never going to be friends with everyone and you shouldn’t be either! It was impossible for me to be a good, true friend to everyone, which in turn made me a mediocre friend to a lot of people. I want to create meaningful, beautiful friendships with others and those take time and energy!
As well as, you will not be everyone’s cup of tea either! And trying to change yourself is not the way to see if they then will like your cup. Be un-apologetically yourself. If someone doesn’t like that, then you don’t need nor do you want them in your life. Simple as that. You have too many beautiful souls to connect with in this world any way that leaving one behind, who will hopefully also connect with others that are more suited to their lifestyle, is not a crime whatsoever!
Be a friend to yourself. Be a friend to others who support who you are. Love those who support you and reciprocate the compassion and friendship.
That is the tribe and vibe you want to find.
The moment I realized these things, the moment I understood that the way others felt about me was more of a reflection of themselves than of the person I actually was, I found it a lot easier to be happy. I found it a lot simpler to make connections with people and to forget about those that I did not. I didn’t feel the need to be loved by every person that crossed my path. I was always kind. I was always friendly. However, I was not in control if they always were or not. You are only in charge of piloting your own plane. If you live your life the way you want to; if you treat others with respect and love; if you are happy with the person you are, then, your tribe will find you.
Don’t change yourself for others. Don’t question yourself for others. Don’t join a tribe that you don’t belong to because in my opinion that is worse than having no tribe at all.