I bought the wooden plaque in the photo when I visited Liverpool a few years ago. The words, of course, come from a Beatles song, but how true is it? Do I really only get by with a little help from my friends? I hate to disagree with the Beatles, but I think that I do far more than just get by thanks to my friends. They really do bring out the best in me, but how?
Acceptance and Love
Most importantly they accept and love me for who I am. They don’t try to change me to be more like them. They know I’m a bit of an introvert who struggles with anxiety/Imposter Syndrome, so whilst they may encourage me to do things outside of my comfort zone, they know that if I say “No” then it’s best not to keep pushing me until I say “Yes”. This gives me the freedom to know that it’s ok to say “No” if I feel that something will be too much for me.
If you’ve read my blog post, “When It’s Time To Get Out Of The Boat”, you’ll know that there are times when I have stepped outside of my comfort zone. At these times my friends have been fantastic at giving me encouragement, as well as hints and tips that might help. They have checked in before an event to let me know they’re praying for me and also to assure me that I’ll do well. They will also check in again afterwards to see how it’s gone. It’s so good to have people who believe in you, especially when you don’t always have much belief in yourself!
Now, this may seem to be a strange addition to the list, but there have been times when I have been grateful to a friend who has nagged me to do something that has needed to be done. Admittedly, the nagging has to be gentle and done with love otherwise, I will just dig my feet in and refuse to get the task done! One of these times was when I was struggling with my mental health. One of my best friends suggested that I should go and see the doctor to get some help. Initially, I didn’t listen, but after about six months of gentle nagging I finally went to see the doctor. As a result I was put on medication and my mental health is pretty good these days. Nagging can be good when it’s about the important things, like your health!
I think I’ve lost count of the times that my friends have just sat and listened to me. Often it’s when I’ve been going through a tough time, but not always. There’s never been any judgement on what I’ve said, they’ve just sat and listened. They may then offer to pray for me or give me some advice, but so often just the fact that they’ve been prepared to listen has been such a great help.
One of the most precious things my friends give me is their time. This can be coming with me to an event, meeting up for a cuppa or letting me visit them at home (or them coming to visit me). Spending time with them gives me time to chat with them about what’s happening in my life, as well as listening to how they are. It’s usually a time of much laughter too, which also helps my mental health. The fact that they’ve made time in their busy lives to spend some time with me always makes me feels valued!
Another important way in which my friends help and support me is by praying for me. Whether it’s because I’m speaking at an event, struggling with my mental health, got a bad back or just prayers for my general day to day life, I’m so grateful for their prayers. Knowing I’ve got friends who I can message when I’m having one of those days is so reassuring. I know when my mental health wasn’t great, I would message a few of my friends to ask them to pray if it was a particularly bad day. Within minutes, I would have messages back reassuring me of their prayers. It was such a blessing to know I had friends standing beside me in prayer! Their prayers were also vital when we felt God telling us to move churches a few years ago. It wasn’t an easy decision to move on as we’d been at the church for many years, but being supported in prayer by friends helped enormously.
So the Beatles got it partly right – I do need help from my friends, but I do a lot more than just get by with their help. They really help me to be the best person I can be by supporting me and believing in me. I’m really grateful for each and every one of them. I just hope I’m as good a friend to them as they are to me!
Who are the friends who encourage you to be the best version of you that you can be? Who accepts you for who you are and supports you when times are tough? Why not get in touch with them today to say “Thank you” to them?
Image rights: © Author’s own