By Tiffany A. Potter
Here is something I know as truth, that one of the character traits I value most in this world is the ability, and whole-hearted willingness, to “show up” for me. As I’ve gotten older, more specifically since my divorce ten years ago to present day, I have become acutely aware of those in my life that have been constant not only when it has been convenient or easy, but those who show up when convenience of time, energy, or resources have been strained in their own lives.
I went through a purge of sorts when my ex-husband left me. I began a spiritual journey that forced me to look at every single thing in my life and come to terms with what I believed, why I believed it, and what to do with it if I didn’t believe it anymore; and what became a glaring reality for me was the need to purge any drama, situations or people, that didn’t serve me or my emotional well-being and healing. I just didn’t have the room in my life for bullshit anymore. And as with any major life event that brings you to your knees in pain, the rest of the world stops and if only you can put on foot in front of the other then you still have a shot of making something positive and hopeful out of your heart being bruised. My life became less about the quantity and more about the quality from then on.
Case in point, three days after my ex-husband left I was faced with my first Friday night alone. Knowing that he was out on the town and I was left in a puddle of tears on the couch I remember saying to myself “please, please just get me through tonight. I don’t know how to do this.” Minutes later my girlfriend, who lived three hours away, called and sat on the phone with me until I was ready to fall asleep. She got me through. She showed up for me even if it meant giving up three and a half hours of her night to listen to and sooth my aching heart. Ten years later she’s still one of my closest friends and actually married my husband and I six years ago. One of my favorite sayings that often brings me back to center states “no mud, no lotus”; and through the mud of my divorce, I found the lotus whom I now lovingly refer to as Reverend Heidi.
In this time, and since, once I cleansed my life of people that didn’t understand the concept of reciprocity in a relationship and how to be present for those in your life; I have had the pleasure in knowing that those who were left would be standing with me no matter what. My circle became much smaller, I had more free time on my hands, I was grateful, I was overwhelmed with their generosity, and my heart has been eternally full with the love I have for those that continue to show up for me.
And isn’t that what life is really all about? We are each other’s keepers, we are meant to be present for those whom we love. Of course, there are certainly lessons to be learned in finding your “people” and weeding out those that aren’t meant to be with you on your journey (sometimes that’s family members, also) as we learn something for every interaction we encounter; but genuinely showing up for people and having them authentically show up for you is one of the greatest gifts one could ever know.
There are many things I am not, but I do take pride in the fact that I have learned how to be a really great friend. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I do know that I get it right more times than not. And it is through the example of those in my life that have shown me how to be unconditionally kind, compassionate, loving, and present that I know how to show up for others. And it’s not to say that you’re always going to get along with each other, hell, we’re all still human after all, but even if you fight the love and mutual admiration is still there.
So I ask you this, dear ones, who shows up for you in your life? Or perhaps more importantly, who doesn’t? Get honest about those you choose to keep in your life and why you keep them around. Something I have always believed is that you are responsible for the energy you allow in your life; if your life is mostly full of negativity and competition you have no one to blame but yourself. Now, if you are worried that letting some people go will make you look bad I say to that, get out of your own way. Happiness is on the other side of that tough decision you have to make. And if it’s a family member (or two) that don’t serve your growth or make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, give that relationship a place in your world that has its own room (hear me when I say that I have a few familial relationships that are the bane of my existence so I know of which I speak). Put it someplace where it can’t burn you if you get too close. If they haven’t earned their place in your inner circle, if they don’t know how to show up for you, support you, want to know you and love you, release that energy that only goes one way. And then find your tribe. “Friends are God’s way of making up for your family” is also another favorite of mine.
And to those in my life who have seen value in me when I couldn’t see it myself, for those who have taken me in, been in my corner, gotten me out of bed when all I wanted to do was sleep for six months, loved me when I felt unlovable, laughed with me when that was the only thing left we could do, answered their phone at three o’clock in the morning when I needed to cry or share exciting news, and always, always, showed me they’re on my side through their consistent actions, thank you. I will forever work to be as good of a friend to you as you have been to me.
To my mom, RoseAnn Allen, thanks for being the first person in this world to show up for me. I know it hasn’t always been easy but it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Happy Mother’s Day.
Tiffany is a disability consultant, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and change agent. Find her at: www.TiffanysTake.com Instagram: Tiffanys_Take