I was thinking this week on the topic of friendships, what constitutes a good friendship, and what the balance really is between telling a friend how it is (for their good) and putting them down. Where is the line between healthy competition between genuine friends and then competition where one seeks to sabatoge the other’s success?
What is a frenemy? It is a difficult definition for sure… and I’ve honestly never wanted to keep such an oxymoron in my life. Some may say, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” but I’ve found that philosophy to be a set up for back-stabbing and major disappointment. A person who desires, or who constantly plays the role, of being your “enemy,” really has no valid place in your life right now, and certainly not in your future. I’ve always held the position that “frenemies” should also see the door as soon as possible in one’s life.
What is a friend?
Someone who supports you in life, who is there for you. Someone who is joyful when they see you celebrating a real success in your life. I recently had a close friend try to shame me for posting on social media (and here on my personal blog) about my journey in weight loss after the baby, trying to teach other women how it can be done, to encourage them to not gain over the recommended weight from the doctors, and to provide my personal workout routine and advice for how I was able to lose the weight… twice! Instead of being happy for me like most of my other friends, this girl felt upset when she saw my post… instead of sharing in my joy, she felt negative feelings inside that were her own. “It doesn’t help” to see someone lose it fast,” she said, and insinuated that I’m shaming the women who can’t lose the baby weight for whatever reason. We talked about it for about an hour, and eventually I learned her insecurity over my success was coming from her mother telling her growing up that she and her sister were the reasons she had excess weight – that having children ruined her body forever. She was viewing my success through a lens of fear & scarcity mentality, a false premise that people can’t control what happens to their bodies regarding pregnancy weight gain/loss. The truth is that we can control the majority of what happens to our bodies, pregnancy or otherwise. We control what we eat, if we are eating the correct foods that our bodies react well to, how much we gain, and even our hormones can be controlled when they are out of whack. We control how much weight we gain in pregnancy, and we control if we decide to exercise during it or not. We control how fast we lose the weight afterwards, and in no small part, that is directly related to how we treated our bodies during the pregnancy as well.
There does need to be caution that we aren’t causing people to stumble, but losing baby weight after a pregnancy is something most people are proud of, and rightfully so! It is hard work, and takes dedication through either having a very healthy-minded pregnancy, making sure your body is staying strong, or doing the hard work of getting back in shape afterwards. I already know what I’m going to do for my next pregnancy in regards to controlling my weight and strength and health in general. With each pregnancy it gets easier because I have more knowledge of what works for my body, and how my body responds. I’m able to draw up a plan in my mind of how I’m going to better deal with the difficulties next time, because each time I learn something new.
A big part of my success in things like losing the baby weight, or parenting kindly or gently, is making sure I surround myself with friends who are supportive of my goals, and with me in my journey of life. I learn from other mommy friends what worked for them, or we share how hard pregnancy is – how hard it is to just get yourself off the couch, let alone try to go for a walk or a run! One mommy friend I have was running regularly up until the very day that she went into labor – and hearing her share that success, filled me with awe and joy for her! Her success motivated and inspired my own success. That is a good friendship.
When it comes down to it, we all have to make critical decisions of who we really want to hold close in our lives. Do you want that person to be close, who cannot share joy when you lose your baby weight fast? Or who makes rude comments about your furniture mismatching in your house, and then turns around and pretends that she is Miss Etiquette and tries to teach you how to behave when you’re her guest? Do you really want someone that two-faced close to your heart, where they can conveniently stab it?
My answer is always no.
Friends are not your enemies, and they never should be.