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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor

How to Keep Your Friends

As we get older, not only do we have a harder time making new friends, but we lose a lot of our nearest and dearest along the way. We tend to grow a bit more suspicious and become disappointed easily. In short, we expect more from our long time friends. And since they know us better than anyone why shouldn’t we? Except that we might also consider that our friends:
Many times we are harshly judgmental of our friends because we need them to validate us. It’s as though we ask them to do something for us to test the relationship. “How much do you love me?” When they can’t do what we ask, because they have their own personal stressors and emotional needs, we are ready to pounce, “Aha!” We condemn their right to exercise the word, no, and cast them into exile.

Prompting this need for proof is our need to feel mothered. No matter how old we are, when we are lacking in nurturing, we lack self-validation and self-actualization. We feel disconnected and alone, so we seek our friends to make us feel empowered. Perhaps, we expect too much from them.

Because friends are necessary to our health and happiness, they are our therapists, nurses, bankers, designers, chauffeurs, delivery men, messengers and cooks; we need to find ways to keep them predominantly in the credit column and not the debit side. Here are some tips:
Worthy to note:A wonderful physical and emotional exercise to help us feel nurtured and empowered is belly dancing. The belly is where our true creative center, where our energy source, resides. Belly dancing will release the full range of our emotions while we shake down our inhibitions. Belly dancing with other women creates a bond of celebration. After all, belly dancing has been around for over 5000 years and was not created as a dance to seduce men, but rather as a dance for women to connect with and teach other women about life, love, birth and death.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com

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