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Light in the Laughter.

Friendships & all that is good for the soul about them.

Oh how I have laughed with my friends, looked to them for inspiration & connection, got over grief, depression & dealt with many affairs of the heart.

Finding happiness in friendships can lessen anxiety, relieve feeling isolated & help you live happy.

Social media is full of snide memes about "fake friends" & the like, let's, for a change, celebrate all that is good about friendships & what they can give us.

I have had many a gut - pulling, pee your pants chuckle (or cackle in my case) moment with friends from all walks of life.

Finding happiness in friendships can lift you & give you much needed connections, something we all have a basic human need for.

More & more studies are proving the benefits of strong friendships & how it can be a direct link to our health, but I don't need a scientist to tell me that!!

Journey back with me to 1999 & the Beauty Counter I was working, trying to piece together my emotional life & the wreck it was. Desperately figuring out where my place was in the world after discovering one of my bridesmaids had an affair with my ,then husband of just 6 months. Friendship in that moment at it's worst. I felt so lost with who I was, what had happened & where I fitted. None of it made any damn sense to me at all. I was having a hard time processing the friend that had betrayed me, the husband that had let me down & all the other friends that knew but didn't tell me. All I wanted to do was to run away from the world, but on that beauty counter I found the strongest of friends & the funniest of times.I met Miriam at my weakest, darkest moment, when I felt like I had nothing in me left to give, she saw past that & my very sorry for myself, hate all men attitude & lifted me out of that darkness.

We were two newly single ex- marrieds that now just wanted to laugh again, buy great shoes & Chanel make-up!! I still laugh at our Visa Bills, they were an itinerary of our days off & weekends, consisting mostly of restaurant trips, Selfridges shopping trips & bar bills! We were buying our way through what we were both processing, never a good way to deal with a trauma. We both learnt a huge lesson in budgeting very bloody quickly!! We both knew we were hiding away from what was going on, but what remained after all that processing was laughter (cackles!) Oh so much laughter. We would sit, invariably hung over, eating our way through Pic 'n' Mix, giggling at various shop scenarios. People often mistook that we had known each for years. I found in that friendship laughter & love, two things after the bridesmaid incident I was seriously lacking. What always strikes me about our friendship is the ability to stay friends even after many a difficult time. We lifted each other up- not just physically after falling off tables dancing- but emotionally as well. Miri's family lived in Oz & I was just hiding away from anyone that was from my old life, we had created a support network for each other. Sometimes just meeting up for a coffee is all that is needed to lift you out of your own darkness& she definitely was there for many of those times. She was there for me as well in the real time sense when I had my son a few years later, his Dad's gambling habit had meant no money for even the essentials & although I never told Miri how bad things were, she instinctively knew & turned up with baby bits, a dinner for me & some beauty products, that lifeline meant the world to me & after the rawness of what I had gone through, I felt so humbled by that gesture. When Miri decided it was time to go back to Oz, I was devastated, selfishly, I wanted her to be there like she always had been, I was so fearful we'd lose our bond, but the distance has never got in the way. Both of us have tried to put into words what our friendship means but we can't convey what we both had gone through & the connection that got us through it. I know that those laughter moments was a huge part of the glue that kept us together. It's a friendship that has stood time & distance & one I know I can always cherish.

Having the bonds of those silly, girly moments, laughing at life, kids, husbands, situations has given both of us strength & a memory bank of giggles.

We all need connections, even the seemingly strongest of us need the perspective & love friends can give us.

Another group of girlfriends I cherish are the friends that I made from my daughters school, each so different in looks,lives & tastes, but bought together by a school situation. It's a solid group of friends that have experienced a husband suddenly passing away, breast cancer , a house re-possession & a battle with anxiety. We all bring out the strength in each other, we are there for a chat, a group message, a night out, a cry , a moan, & most definitely the laughter. Laughter once again the tonic that has lifted us & glued together.

Those moments of all us laughing together has freed each of us from the demons of the day.

Group chats about wigs from China that looked so dodgy, Hot Dogs ,or shenanigans from a night out, definitely gave our friend something to laugh out midst chemo treatment, lifting her spirits with our laughter was such a strength for her. Not to talk cancer but just to focus on being the same friend to us that she always was with the same amount of fun. That gave her strength & us comfort , that in our own way we were helping.

Likewise for our beautiful friend that lost her husband so suddenly. Her strength has been such an inspiration to us, although to this day , she doesn't see that in herself. She weathered a tornado that ripped trough her life & left her stripped bare, everything she knew & trusted gone. She says our nights out saved her, giving her love, connection & strength. We all saw the raw pain she was going through, but again our laughter in these dark times shattered the unbearable moments & to see her find strength to laugh will always stay with us forever. To share that laughter through those moments is a true friendship love, & indeed testament to the power of friendships.

Don't ever underestimate the connections in your friendships.Don't cut yourself off when life is sucking the essence out of you, go out & find something & someone to laugh at & lift you. One friend is all it takes to do that with, & if you can't face leaving the house , pick up the phone or facetime a friend. That small moment can give a large feeling of connection back to us.

I recently have made a new friend in an 80 year old lady , I give her giggles & she gives me wisdom, laughter even in her 80's is still so important to her, her nuggets of wisdom on relationships are something , that despite our age difference resonate with me.

When a client came to me recently with a harrowing story of how he slashed one of his wrists, it was the love of his friends that actually were there more for him than his family had ever been, that gave him his strength back. He realised he had so much love for the friends that had become his family that he was able to let go of the toxic childhood story he had carried for years & focus on the good he had around him. That was a huge breakthrough moment for him. Recalling in the second session laughter & who had given it to him spurred him on to carry on with life, more on his terms, with more of the love from his friends.

Truly a heart smile moment to witness.

My advice, along with shed loads of giggles is to nurture your friendships, accept yourself, don't compare, don't worry about your job compared to your friends, or what your house is like compared to theirs, just enjoy what they & you bring , laugh & let go. Watch your friendships flourish when you take judgement out & replace it with same wave length fun, love & laughter.

I know through every journey I have yet to make, the laughter of my friends will always carry me through & I hope the same for all of you xx

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