In my new book, The Healing Power of Girlfriends: How to Create Your Best Life Through Female Connection, just released on March 8th, I share many tools and suggestions for how to navigate the channels of female friendship and glean the most benefits for a happier, healthier and longer life. The book shares personal stories from my own decades of treasured relationships with my girlfriends, as well as stories from clients, my research questionnaire, and relevant data from studies at our most elite institutions. One of the topics addressed is how to heal when life deals us hardships and challenges. It is within our female friendships that we have the opportunity to help our girlfriends find their way back from wounds, scars, and hurts that are part of our human experience. Here are my 3 “R’s” of Healing:
Verbalize and validate with a nonjudgmental ear. Let her know she is not alone. Offer reassurance and provide her the opportunity to feel safe so that she may vent, cry, grieve, or express anger or frustration.
This step is about rebuilding and moving forward toward empowerment and strength again. If your friend is feeling fragile, exhausted and tapped out, offer your time and resources to assist her with getting back on track. This may involve being her “taxi” service to appointments, or enlisting the help of her other family or friends. Sometimes just asking her how you can be the most help to her is beneficial, so she can be active in this recovery planning as well, if she is ready.
The last step is about your girlfriend actually returning to her normal state of functioning. In this stage, autonomy and independence begin to show up again. As emotional, mental, and physical healing occurs, female friends play a vital role. During this period, check in with her daily or several times a week, offer her time to talk, vent, or share via phone or face-to-face. Watch for signs of delayed stress and fatigue that may not have presented before. Continue to show support, encouragement, compassion, and be a mentor as she moves through recovery in this healing process.
The 3 “R’s” equip us with the tools to help our female friends heal and leave the brokenness behind. The gifts you bring to the friendship table may be just the exact gifts your girlfriend needs to begin on her journey towards healing. Don’t ever underestimate the power you have to be someone’s Angel and their lifeline back from the stormy seas. When you see a girlfriend in pain and in need of healing, don’t hold back and wait for the right moment to jump in. Offer her your hand, your ear, and most importantly, your heart.