To have someone, or a few someones, who accept you at your worst, celebrate you at your best, laugh with you until your stomach hurts and stand by you through the hard times is a gift.
I’ve been insecure nearly my whole life. Growing up in a small town where I got bullied for my size (from both boys and girls I called my friends), didn’t help any with my confidence. In high school, it very much felt like the girls were in constant competition with each other. I always felt like I had to pretend to be more confident than I was, to hide my true self so I could be more popular and keep my friends. In fact, I wrote a whole book about all those experiences.
I never understood what people meant when they’d say their friends were more like sisters or when people would say, “I love you,” to their friends. But as I’ve gotten older, gotten married, had two babies and my pool of friends has grown a whole lot smaller, I’ve learned a few things about the power of friendship.
True friendship lifts you up.
True friends celebrate your successes and get excited about your life and adventures just because it’s you. My best friends are always in my corner. They are the first ones to buy my books, the first ones to ask me questions about my writing and other business adventures, the first ones to wish me luck when I have an interview and the first ones to congratulate me on wins.
True friendship doesn’t judge.
In a world where it seems like we are being constantly judged for everything from what we wear to how much we weigh to what job we choose to have, this is a big one. I’ve told my best friends some of my deepest secrets. We’ve talked about everything from finances to divorce to motherhood and everything in between. No topic is off-limits and the ability to talk, process and get feedback without being judged has saved my sanity on many occasions.
True friendship accepts you for who you are.
I had the opportunity to go on two girls trips in February, something that in the past would’ve filled me with anxiety about having to go out with my smaller friends. But these women don’t care if I’m a size 2 or 22, they don’t care if I’m sometimes a little bossy or if I snore too loud (OK, maybe they care about that one). They make me feel like I can be me, the real, goofy, sometimes grumpy me without having to worry about scaring them away. I’ve felt like I don’t belong most of my life so having a group of friends that accepts me, all of me, is freeing.
True friendship brings you joy.
Being with friends can make you forget about all the shitty things happening in the world right now, make you laugh until you cry and make you smile years later when you remember an inside joke no one else will get.
About the Author: Paige Fieldsted is the author of the highly acclaimed book Confessions from Your Fat Friend. She is also a Curvicality columnist, blogger and body positivity advocate who believes all women deserve to love and appreciate the body they are in right now, and that people of all shapes and sizes are worthy of love and respect. Paige lives in Utah with her husband John, sons Mason and Logan, and Willy the pug. When she’s not writing, you can find Paige dancing and singing in the kitchen with her boys, doing yoga, hanging out with family or reading. Learn more about Paige here.