You are not a drop in the Ocean......You are the mighty Ocean in the drop -Rumi
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    Connecting with other human beings is one of the most important things to keep you feeling good and healthy. 

    Connecting with someone who understands, likes and admires you is one of the most fantastic things. It makes you feel happy, safe and valued. Hanging out, laughing and just talking nonsense releases endorphins and raises our serotonin levels - the feel good hormone which is responsible for wellbeing and happiness.

    Relationships need not just be with friends, they can be with family members, mentors, team mates, colleagues, neighbours, teachers, club members.  Even creating and building a relationship with your local shop and restaurant owners can all contribute to your wellbeing.  

    Just one human interaction a day can alter the way you are feeling. Speak to someone - the more face to face in the real world, the better. But FaceTime and telephones are brilliant to maintain and enhance your relationships and friendships. Pick up the phone and call your Grandma today!

    Get out there today and connect with those around you.  

     

    Friends

    The fragility of romantic love and the permanence of friendship is the food of poets. Emily Bronte was well aware that a good friend is with you through thick and thin, and all the seasons of the year.

    Love is like the wild rose-briar,
    Friendship like the holly-tree—
    The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
    But which will bloom most constantly?

    The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring,
    Its summer blossoms scent the air;
    Yet wait till winter comes again
    And who will call the wild-briar fair?

    Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
    And deck thee with the holly’s sheen,
    That when December blights thy brow
    He still may leave thy garland green.

    Friendship though is not so easy to find. Sometimes you meet someone and it is an instant connection, other times it takes a while to develop. Sometimes you find yourselves without anyone close, and other times you find you surrounded by the gang. In all aspects you must remain true to yourself and find friends that love and respect you for who you are. If you are trying to change yourself to fit in with a 'friend's' expectations of you, you will find that you begin to depart from the true and authentic you and when you loose that anchor, things start to get difficult. It is better to learn to be with yourself then to be in a friendship where you feel uncomfortable. And in trying to 'fit in' you usually find yourself doing things that you do not want to be doing.

    So work on the friendships that make you feel good, feel yourself and where there is mutual respect.  As the saying goes, 'Nothing in life worth having, comes easily', so you have to work on it. The more you work at it, the better your friendships. So make that phone call, arrange for a catch up, go out of your way, see your friends.

    Friendships are the cement that binds your experiences. They make you feel good and happy, valued and appreciated, and the right friend can be life changing.

    The pleasures of friendship are exquisite,
    How pleasant to go to a friend on a visit!
    I go to my friend, we walk on the grass,
    And the hours and moments like minutes pass.

     

    Alain De Botton, philosopher and author, has outlined six ways you can tell if your friend is the real thing.

    1. They like you for the real you

    Everyone has their own bit of craziness. And a true friend will like you because of it, not despite it. They like all of you - your mad pranks, the funky clothes you wear, the fact that you are always late - whatever is your personal craziness, because that is what makes you, you. 

    A good friend is not judgemental and as Botton says "They don't come down harshly and critically on our weaknesses."

     

    2. They Trust You

    True friends trust one another, and this trust enables you to be vulnerable with each other. With a true friend you feel safe in confiding your secrets and concerns, knowing that they will not be shared. They make you feel safe.

    “They show how much they trust us by confessing failings and sorrows which would open them up to possible humiliation from the world beyond,” de Botton says.

     

    3. They give you space 

    Good friends give you the space to off load when it is all too much and you feel frustrated and flustered and annoyed and irritated and sometimes just want to freak out. A good friend is there for you.  

    “They don’t just flatter; they understand how easily we lose perspective, panic and underestimate our own ability to cope,” de Botton explains.

    They are there to smooth over the aches and pains of life and to help you when you need it.

     

    4. They remind you of your capabilities

    When your self confidence is low, a true friend sees "the potential in what we’re saying, when we can’t,” de Botton says.

    You may doubt your abilities, feel that you are not good enough or question your capabilities, be it writing exams, applying for a job or completing a project. A friend is there with the comp[assion, tough love and support to push you to do what they know you’re capable of.

     

    5. They are the light when you loose your way

    True friends are good listeners. They know you and they are always there when you need someone to guide you.

    When you are not sure about anything in your life anymore, or are" agitated or defensive, and we don’t really know why. We find it tricky to pin down our goals. We might have some strong opinions, but it can be difficult to explain really why these ideas matter to us," says De Botton a true true friend, they will be able to help you make sense of yourself and support you in your goals, dreams and wishes.

     

    6. They believe in you

    We are often not very kind to ourselves, putting ourselves down, focusing on our flaws, beating ourselves up with our mistakes, feel that we are not enough, feel anxious about the future.

    We need a friend.  A friend understands us, they care for us and love us. They comfort us when we need comfort, and strengthen us when we are feeling weak. And they are there when we cannot do any of these things for ourselves. 

    A good friend's belief in you, keeps you going, even when they aren’t close by.

    “They continue to inhabit our brain, even when we haven’t been in touch for a while, or when they are far away,” de Botton says. “They are always with us.”

    Light of Friendship

    by Jack D. Marturano

    I've seen the light
    And it's in you,
    In everything you are
    And in everything you do

    It's a perfect light
    That shines for all to see
    It radiates from you
    And has pierced the heart of me

    The light is from a friend.
    It's a light that keeps me warm.
    It lets me know how loved I am,
    And keeps me safe from harm

    To you my friend I am thankful,
    In each and every way.
    For you lift my spirits up,
    With every passing day

    To know that you are there for me
    It makes me feel alive
    Because it is your friendship's light
    Upon which my love thrives

    "Thank you" isn't good enough
    But they're the only words I know
    It is your light of friendship
    That gives my world it's glow

    And remember, the best way to have a true friend, is to be one.

    Share the love of friendship 

    Romantic Relationships

    The most important aspect of being human is the relationship that we have with others. We are connected to our loved one, our family, our friends, our colleagues, our community, our world, through the relationships that we hold with others. When relationships are sound, we are happy. When there is a break in relations, it can eat and eat at us and lead us to feelings of anxiety and depression.

    Romantic relations are one of the most difficult to navigate and the ones that occupy most of our thoughts. As Rumi acknowledges in the poem below, when we are in love, even the most minutiae is vitally important to us.

    “I want to see you.

    Know your voice.

    Recognize you when you
    first come 'round the corner.

    Sense your scent when I come
    into a room you've just left.

    Know the lift of your heel,
    the glide of your foot.

    Become familiar with the way
    you purse your lips
    then let them part,
    just the slightest bit,
    when I lean in to your space
    and kiss you.

    I want to know the joy
    of how you whisper
    "more”. 

    It is therefore incredibly difficult to maintain a balanced perspective and to find the time to do all the work at school and home that we need to do without becoming distracted. When you are with your loved one, you can stay up together all night, and when you are apart you can stay up all night thinking about them too. First love is one of the most beautiful and profound experiences you will ever have. And your first experience of love is one that is likely to colour the rest of your life. So it is important to get it right.

    It is said that one does not choose love, which may be the case, but we can choose how we respond to it - in a healthy manner or in a  manner which is unhealthy in the respect that we loose sight of who we are and try to manipulate the relationship, either for our own or the other person's advantage.

    Often we get so lost in the relationship, trying to be something that we are not, that we become so apart from our true self and find ourselves without an anchor and flailing about confused, and vulnerable.

    In all situations of love and relationships - of which there are thousands - the most profound way that you can deal and manage with them is to be yourself.

    Being authentic gives you the power to work with and on the relationship, giving it the time and the energy needed to be meaningful for yourself and the other person.

    And as Ru Paul says

     

    And if you are wondering how the hell you are going to love yourself - we have this amazing book for sale here:

    How to Love Yourself

    Here is a fabulous book that will help you to first learn to love yourself, and from that strong anchor, you will be able to love others.

    https://oceanred.co.uk/collections/books/products/how-to-love-yourself-and-sometimes-other-people

    Remember though, that managing relationships is a life long endeavour, no two are the same and there are no quick fixes. But working from the place of who you are and what you are about, is the best way to begin.  

    Living to be Me