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Adapted from the works of
Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Our circle of friends must also include those with whom we can openly and authentically share, heart and soul, the truth of what is going on with us behind our acts. I'll call these soul-friendships.

In last month's newsletter, we talked about the importance of having friends and how to make new ones. This month we want to take that a step further and explore Susan's idea of soul-friendships.

Soul-friendships, as described by Susan in Dare to Connect, are connections made through our Higher Selves. When people talk about having close friends, these are the type that we usually mean. These friends are the type whose company we enjoy, but are also the friends we confide in and find true acceptance and support. Susan described soul-friendships this way:

  1. Soul-friendships are the Safety Net of the Heart. Despite what happens in our family, business, or love relationships, good friends are always there. And the supply is unlimited! A number of soul-friendships guarantees a shoulder to cry on and a voice to remind us that we need never be alone.

  2. Soul-friendships provide the wellspring from which all other relationships in our life can be nourished. With the help of a rich pool of soul-friendships, we can work out our insecurities and fears and gather strength, integrity, clarity and love. We can then carry out these healing attributes to all our relationships - with parents, mates, children, co-workers, and even the "strangers" with whom we come into contact every day of our lives.

  3. Soul-friendships allow us to know ourselves better. In trying to tell our friends who we are and what we are feeling, we explain it to ourselves as well! Good friends also provide a valuable source of feedback. They lovingly demand the truth about who we are. And, most of the time, we take feedback from friends much better than from others, particularly our parents, mates or children!

  4. Soul-friendships provide the school in which we learn to love ourselves (a prerequisite to loving others). Friends are the mirror reflecting the truth of who we are. Through mutual sharing, we truly learn that "you are me and I am you." And, by definition, as we cultivate love and compassion for our friends, we cultivate it for ourselves as well.

Soul-friendships require us to make some major breakthroughs, especially for those of us who need to overcome our fear of opening up and allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to someone else. The benefits of soul-friendships are worth the effort and courage it takes to create them.

Soul-friendships bring out and support the best in who we are. As Susan wrote, "Our friends are a mirror to our emotional state, so it is important to have friends that are positive and loving. Our friends should want to be there because they like who we truly are."

Remember soul-friendships are not to be confused with Lower Self friendships that thrive on shared complaints and commiseration. It is easy to confuse soul-friendships with these types of connections, as both types rely on a sharing of feelings. The Lower Self friendships relate by sharing their anger and hurt, and the sharing is usually in the form of blame.

If you feel that you don't have any soul-friendships, you can work to bring them into your life. Look at your current circles of friends and think about the people that you really click with. Or you can start from scratch and make new friends, as suggested in last month's article. The key is to take it slowly. Perhaps invite the person out for lunch, for a one-on-one get to know each other session. Initially, you will just talk about surface "happenings" in your lives. "Yesterday I did this" or "I just changed jobs" or "My father has been unwell lately," or whatever comes easiest. Only after these stories are out of the way can we get to the deeper levels of connecting. When we get to those deeper levels, it is then we can find the soul connections with one another.

Even friends that have, until now, been Lower Self friendships can be converted into Soul-friendships. You already have an emotional connection, so work with your friend to be more positive and supportive. When friends constantly complain, guide them gently into taking more responsibility for themselves and their life choices. If they continue to complain, it might be time to look for other friends. Friends should be about building each other up. So don't feel bad if you feel you need to move on from those who are constantly negative.

Making deeper connections in your friendships is an important part of connecting with others. It is not an easy road to take, but being there for your soul-friends and having soul-friends who are supportive of you is one of the best aspects of a life well-lived.

Copyright © 2015 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.

Adapted from Susan's writing in Dare to Connect

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