There’s a very elemental, raw part of being human that beckons worthy acknowledgement. It’s the need to be touched; physically and socially. We are undeniably social beings. We were created that way. I’ll go so far as to say that touch is encompassed in a conversation, in eye contact, in a shared laugh. The proverbial shoulder on which one cries. Entire lifetimes vulnerably lived amongst special few, sharing the good, the bad, and the inevitable ugly.
The vision of life without my closest is suffocating. I’m so fortunate to have strong bonds with my sisters and mom, and a handful of amazing women, some of which have seen me through life since elementary school. Half of which I talk to daily. All of which are an element of me.
Girlfriends are family by choice. The bond thicker than blood. Because we choose them. No DNA designs this familial tie. At some point, a seed is planted in our souls engraved with the name of each girlfriend. Each friendship feeding us; spiritually, holistically. Sometimes the girlfriend is the reason you stop and breathe. Sometimes she’s the reason you’ve laughed for the first time all day. Maybe it’s the comfort you know with her, that allows you, superwoman; to come undone, and she quietly puts you back together, never shying away from the task. Sometimes, you go to her, because she might actually see you better than you can see yourself. She’s the one who holds your hand. She’s the one that says good morning… and sweet dreams. She’s the one that your daughters know as “Auntie”. The one that gives you an “atta girl” when you’ve accomplished that taxing feat, celebrates your discoveries, encourages your dreams.
Girlfriends are necessary for our health. We need each other. According to Stephen S. Ilardi, Ph.D., psychologist and author of The Depression Cure; social interactions have profound psychological benefits, from reduced risk of depression to enhanced immune function. Levels of toxic stress hormone cortisol drop significantly when are with our friends. One hug elicits increased activity of the feel-good brain chemicals dopamine and oxytocin. Elevated levels of these chemicals aids in memory, and keeps disease away. (Which means more years with your bestie). However, Ilardi suggests that Facebook friendships do not qualify for these benefits. “About half the brains cerebral cortex–where social cues are processed–is devoted to visual input. So, from a health standpoint, reading an email or text message is not nearly as powerful as spending time with that person. Technology is fine for keeping in touch, but it can’t replace the real thing.”
So, say YES to girls night out (and a glass of red wine). Or that coffee date that imposes on a routine Tuesday. Or that walk on a rainy day. It’s good for you. Make life rich beyond measure, and connect with your girls, and remember you are a blessing, too.