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The Power of Friendship

Life is… something else.

While it can be an incredibly fulfilling, adventurous, exciting journey, it has its share of tragedies, sorrows, and pitfalls. No person, regardless of how much money or education or fame they have, can escape the difficult aspects of life, and no amount of money or access to resources can make some life experiences easier or more pleasant. In life, we will all have to face difficult things. The ease with which we face them and the condition we are in when we reach the other side of them can depend largely on our friends and the people we keep around us. There are few forces in life more powerful than friendship. They make the hard parts a little easier, a little more bearable. Friendship is a powerful life force that every woman needs to live a balanced, successful life.

First and most importantly, friendship is beneficial to your health. Being around friends increases your sense of belonging and purpose. Spending time talking to and being around close friends increases the serotonin levels in your brain, which makes you feel happier and improves your mood. Friendship boosts your happiness and reduces stress levels.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the current U.S. Surgeon General, recently declared loneliness a public health epidemic. Lack of social connection poses a significant risk to health and longevity, resulting in premature death, increased risk of disease- including depression, anxiety, and dementia, and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections and illnesses. The isolation and decreased social interaction we experienced during the pandemic have had devastating effects on people- so much so that the government is providing resources to help people combat loneliness. Scientific studies have shown that friendship and social interaction can quite literally save your life.

Friends help you cope with the traumas of life. All of us will experience something in life that sucks- the death of a loved one, divorce, losing a job- and having friends around you to carry you through those tough times is necessary. Your people will show up for you when you can’t show up for yourself. They wipe your tears and give you the encouragement you need to move forward. They offer you advice and different perspectives on problems and issues. They call you out when you need it (with LOVE) and provide accountability when you’re trying to make life changes.

I can name a million more benefits of friendship. It helps you grow. Gives you a sense of confidence and community. Makes you happy. The list is endless. What I know, though, is that I often say that proof of God’s love for me is the friends He sent into my life to love and support me. My circle is small, but it is mighty. I have chosen people who love me through mental illness, through my bratty only childness, and even though almost everything makes me cry. These people love my kid and my cat and my parents and show interest in every area of my life. They buy me turtles and laugh at my jokes. I am not sure what I would do without my friends- they are truly the best parts of me. Shout-out to my starting three- Baiyina, Yaya & AI- Life is an adventure and the best part of it is living it with you.

Friendship is a powerful life force. If you don’t have your tribe yet, I would encourage you to create one. Surround yourself with people who bring you joy and fill your cup. The decision to make friends and be a friend and to do the work to have healthy relationships will change your life. If you are blessed to have good friends around you, tell them how much they mean to you. Celebrate them often and out loud. Good friendships are priceless, and the power of friendship is undeniable.

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