Who’s Your Tribe?

As we ascend into the holiday season, some of us are filled with dread as we anticipate close quarters with family members and friends. Not all family members & friends of course, but certain ones (you know the ones I’m talking about!) The aunt who asks you how much weight you’ve gained, the cousin who makes snarky comments about what you’re wearing or even your mom who ignores you while she dotes on your sister. Every year you ask yourself “why do I put myself in these situations?” but yet you continue to do it. I know what you’re going through; I’ve struggled with this my whole life! Doing what we think others want, not what WE want! Hanging out with friends we grew up with even though we no longer have things in common with them or don’t even like them! Continuing to attend family functions with family members who treat us worse than a stranger would. Attending functions that you feel forced to attend, not because you actually feel passionate about them. The question I’ll ask you is why are you continuing to spend time with people who detract from your energy and your focus? What would your life be like if you didn’t do this anymore? Imagine that: spending time only with the people you love and look forward to seeing! Spending your precious time doing things you love, not what people think you should do.

Perhaps now is the time to peer closer at those we surround ourselves with: affectionately called our “tribe” by some people. I love that word! It represents those who “get” us, who like what we like, who believe what we believe, who support our goals and dreams by being our biggest cheerleader! Who is your tribe? Now is the time to begin weeding out those who aren’t in your tribe: the fill-ins, the substitutes, the second bests. That person you dread returning their phone call? Stop doing it. The woman you’ve known for 30 years but don’t look forward to seeing? Don’t see her anymore. That parent that always condemns you and doesn’t uplift you? Pull back from seeing her/him regularly. The sibling who is never there for you no matter what happens? Stop reaching out to them. What would happen if you began taking baby steps towards building a life you love and can count on? What if you let go of obligations and expected outcomes and instead began honoring yourself and your desires?

I believe when you do this, your axis will shift and your life will become more radiant! Whatever you believe, this life is the only one you have at this moment. Why waste another precious moment on someone that doesn’t think you are magnificent? If you’re struggling with this, struggling with boundaries or how to say no to what others expect of you, now is the time to seek additional support from a therapist. Don’t waste another moment on a life that you didn’t completely plan. The life you deserve is waiting for you and we are here to help you get there!

Please visit our website for more information, empoweredconnections.net.

DEBORAH DULEY is a licensed social worker in the state of Maryland. She has a BS in social work from Bowie State University and a Masters of Social Work from Howard University, Washington DC, as well as thousands of clinical hours and continuing education. She is a certified Stepfamily Foundation Counselor and is ASIST trained in suicide intervention. In addition Deborah is trained in divorce and custody mediation. Deborah is the founder and owner of the counseling practice Empowered Connections LLC, located in the heart of Leonardtown Maryland and the facilitator of her new therapy program “10 Sessions to Better Self-Esteem.” Deborah has over 25 years of experience working with women in many capacities such as activist, domestic violence counselor, and crisis interventionist. As the “women’s therapist,” she is passionate about working with women and teen girls. She integrates her knowledge of mental health issues and her life experiences to assist them in increasing their self-esteem, decrease anxiety & depression symptoms and tackle a whole host of personal issues that women struggle with.