Women yearn for intimate friendships.
I’ve seen one obstacle more than any other, stand in the way of beginning the road towards cultivating friendships.
That one, single-most blind spot is. . .
Focus on Self.
Think about it. Have any of these thoughts ruled in your mind?
- Why don’t people want to be my friend?
- Why don’t they come over to me and talk with me?
- Why don’t they invite me?
- Why don’t they include me?
- I’ve done this and this for her. What has she done for me?
- My house is not big enough to invite her over.
- She wouldn’t possibly want to be my friend.
- She has more money, possessions, talents, skills… I don’t measure up.
- She already has a lot of friends. There’s no room for me.
- She might not like me.
- I’m scared.
- I’m insecure.
- I’m not good enough.
Did you catch the focus of each of those familiar thoughts?
The problem isn’t that you think too highly or too lowly of yourself, it’s that your focus is YOU.
On you being the RECEIVER.
Most likely without realizing it, you’re consumed with self. And this continual filling of the mind with self, what others think of you, and comparing yourself to others has caused you to not make a move towards being a giver…an investor in others.
This consumption of self-focus that has ruled in your heart and mind has left you paralyzed, causing you to completely loose sight of our calling to be about others.
The solution to winning the war of the mind is quite easy in theory, yet it takes a concerted effort to bring captive wrong-thinking. The strategy is simply this:
Put off self. Put on others. In other words…
Focus on Others.
- When entering a room of people, rather than cower to insecure thoughts, realize you can be the one to have initiative. Go rather than wait. Ask her name and find out about her interests.
- When in a new situation, rather than wondering “Here I am. Why doesn’t anyone greet me?” change your focus to “There you are. I will go meet you.”
- “Why doesn’t someone see I need help” can be turned into seeing others’ needs. “What can I do to lighten that young mom’s load?” Expect nothing in return.
- “How can I (or my family) be a blessing to the neighbor?” Make it a lifestyle of seeing needs and helping. Being kind…just because.
- See some established friendships that you’d love to be a part of, but you’re intimidated? Catch that self-focus in the form of insecurity and stop it in mid-thought. Instead, tell them they seem so fun or nice or whatever you truly admire, and that you’d love to get to know them better. Invite them over for coffee, a play date with the kids, or their families over for an easy dinner and relaxed game night.
- Rather than be intimidated by impressive skills that you lack, express a sincere compliment. “Sally, your gift of flower arranging is amazing.” There is great freedom in seeing beauty in others vs finding their strengths a threat. This freedom truly puts off jealousy.
- Ask for help. “Sarah, your home is so orderly and I struggle so much with that. Would you help show me some things that I could do to get my home organized?” You’ve given sincere praise, shown transparency, displayed a humble and teachable heart. What’s not to love about that?
- Notice your conversation skills. Do you unknowingly take attention off of the person speaking and put it on yourself? This comes in the form of interrupting, one-upping, bragging, and basically not listening because, get this… your story is more important than theirs. The remedy for this self-focus is to listen intently and ask follow up questions, showing your interest in her life.
My desire is to help each of us to notice ways our minds are continuously consumed with self so that we may bring captive this self-focus and in its place be intentional to build into others.
And, in this very process of being friendly, guess what happens. Cultivating friendships begins.
To have many friends, we must show ourselves friendly.
Rhonda whocanyouinvestintoday? ellis
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