One of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts‘ wonderful life coaches, Richard Seaman was the professional advice behind this article, written by Ashley Macha, from AZ Central. Here is some helpful information we would like to share on behalf of Richard, who so graciously volunteered to offer his professional life coaching advice to all.
How important is friendship at any age?
Friendships create a unique, safe place for us to be ourselves and more importantly to have a place we can be seen, heard and know that what we have to say matters to someone else – there is a witnessing of another person’s life. I once heard it said that relationships are the classroom for the Holy Spirit, meaning that having relationship at any age is what prepares and helps us understand ourselves, and how to fit into the world.
Does it become even more important as we age and our social life downsizes?
As you age, nature begins to take its course and unfortunately people move on by getting married, having kids, move to different cities or even die in our lives. Those of us who are left behind may feel a sense of abandonment or had a calling to move on with our lives are now faced with the possibility of recreating ourselves. We used to be able to call a friend who we have known for many years to go have some fun. Then one day we look up and realize our circle of friends and family have downsized. This is where stretching ourselves into uncomfortable will be necessary for us to cultivated new friendships. The Internet is a great way to find like-minded individuals for outings and social events that are aligned in what you like to do. It is important to create new relationships because the opposite side of this could show up as isolation.
What do you think is the hardest thing about making new friends as we age? What about keeping old friends?
The older we get, the more life experiences we have had. Some of the things we experienced may have not always been the most pleasant. Many people who I have coached in my practice tell many stories, but the most common story is the one about, “I don’t trust people. I let myself be seen and I became vulnerable and I was burned in the end.” Yes, this is more than likely a common thread, which runs through most people’s lives. However, we have to come into each and every new friendship with a clean slate. If we drag our old stuff into new friendships, then we come into them carry the energy of – I don’t trust you. You have an energetic fortress, a moat with a drawbridge that can be shut and slammed closed the minute we get scared or threatened. We are asking the people in our lives to climb over our walls and to prove to us you can open up and trust them.
What specific tips can you give to someone looking to make new friends or get in touch with old ones?
1) Volunteer somewhere that makes your heart happy, brings you joy, and leaves you feeling good about what you did for the day – did you make a difference? When you’re happy, you’re releasing positive, attractive energy and people will be drawn to you.
2) Get a pet from the human society or dog pound and start walking daily with him or her. Go to the local dog parks, or start walking in your neighborhood. Pets have a way of teaching us how to have unconditional relationships, and people are more aped to talk to you when you have a pet or even a baby.
3) Take a class you have always wanted to take, but were too busy or afraid to take. Dance, yoga, Spanish, cooking cuisine, wine tasting classes?
4) Become involved in a community event or charity that lights you up and you have a real passion for. When you are being proactive and doing something you love and believe in, you are demonstrating positive, healthy, attractive energy and people than are drawn to you.
5) If you have the desire to re-cultivate old friendships, Facebook.com and Linkedin.com are amazing ways to find old friends. The best part about these social media websites is once you find one or two friends, they have a built in system, which sends you friend suggestions of people you may know. This helps you find people you may have totally forgotten about – what a surprise!
How would you suggest people make friends if they are immobile don’t know how to use a computer or cell phone or are low on cash?
Network and make friends with friends of friends, think of what is of interest and find activities to match – a church group, a choir, a talk at the library, activities at schools, etc. People are everywhere – make yourself available. Volunteer somewhere – not only meet new people, but also add experience to your resume. Wherever you go – smile, say hello and start a conversation.
If immobile, use the Internet! If you don’t know how to use a computer or cell phone, you can be taught. If you have no money, go out and volunteer somewhere. You’ll meet people doing that, it costs you nothing, and you’ll feel good helping someone else. If you have a dog, visit a dog park. If you have children, mingle at the playground. Each month a newsletter comes in the mail for each city; view the articles and see what is nearby that month. You can find a lot of great volunteer opportunity with free events and shows that way. I make new friends all the time. How? Socialize everywhere you go and talk to people, say hello and just talk.
On the other side, what are a few tips for people who have too many friends?
It is ok to sometimes just use the word “No.” I love you, but right now I really need some “me time.” If you have a harder time saying no, then see it has creating healthy boundaries. Friends are wonderful, but if we are always giving to others then what is left at the end of the day for ourselves? The lesson here is to find balance and moderation in our relationships. Then when we come together again we are full, whole and ready.
What is some advice for them to juggle friends, work, family, etc.?
We have to realize how important it is to have balance in every part of our lives. If we are spread too thin we are unable to be good for anyone else. We end up showing up in our relationships as drained, overwhelmed, tired, and not fully present with those people who mean the most to us. We have to put ourselves first, nurture ourselves with enough sleep, eating balanced foods, exercise, mental and spiritual practices i.e: yoga, meditation, coaching, counseling, church. Love ourselves enough to take care of us first. It’s sort of like when you’re on a plane and the flight attendants announcement says, “Please put on your own mask first before assisting others.” If you need to save someone else you will need air first – right?
Richard Seaman is the founder and director of Seattle Life Coach Training and one of the nation’s top spiritual authors. A native of Seattle, Richard is now bringing Life Coach training back to the city he loves. He has been a Master Life Coach and motivational speaker for more than 17 years. With his wise and intuitive knowing, and uplifting and straightforward approach, he has coached and guided thousands of people to a more powerful, passionate life. He continues to grow a very successful global private coaching practice.
Richard currently teaches at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA), Arizona’s award-winning, private holistic healthcare college, and Seattle Life Coach Training in Seattle, Wa. Richard was recently awarded the “Best Teacher of the Year 2011″ by the Arizona Private School Association. Richard is the main Life Coaching instructor teaching the 100-hour program and he has developed and written the Advanced Life Coaching program. He also hosts the popular Internet radio show SWIHA Radio on blogtalkradio.com.
Richard is the author of the books, It’s All in the Sharing and It’s All in the Sharing – The Companion Journal and Spiritual Reliability (to be released summer 2012), which helped secure a spot for Richard as one of America’s Next Top Spiritual Authors.
To learn more about Richard, visit: www.seattlelifecoachtraining.com
FYI – Seattle Life Coach Training upcoming 100-hour Certificate program is starting again January 27, 2012. And, the upcoming SWIHA Life Coaching 100-hour Certificate of Excellence Program starts January 13, 2012 (on-campus) and January 2, 2012 (online)!