Got Friends? 500 Facebook Friends may not be enough.

I like to teach about resilience, the capacity to spring back, rebound, and successfully adapt in the face of adversity.

Having one or two good friends who care about us and will not judge or try to fix us is one of the keys to maintaining healthy resilience. My colleague, Toni Daniels writes about friendships and joy. It fits right in with gaining resilience.

Toni explains: “Joy means someone is glad to be with me no matter what. It is the sensation you get that makes your face light up when you see someone you love. It is laughter and giggles, smiles and hugs.

“However, Joy is also being glad to be together even when we are sad and grieving, or angry and hurting. It is the ability to look into someone’s eyes, see their pain and yet, still want to be there. It is quietly sitting together when there are no words or hugging when there are tears. Joy says, “I don’t care what emotional state you are in, I am just glad to be with you.”

“Joyful interactions with our mothers, fathers, those who feed us and our primary caregivers shape the structure, chemistry and function of the brain.

“The foundation of joy that is built in our first year of life profoundly influences our identity and relationships throughout our life span. Without joy as a foundation many of the…capacities we receive at birth will not develop, not become strong and will not be retained.

“The capacities and chemistry that we use as infants become the dominant systems for our brains. If we start our life in fear we will feel anxious about almost everything. But the brain is biased toward joy. Joy is our most powerful desire, and we are designed to see joyful interactions automatically from birth. If we cannot find joy we may try hard to bury our desire, but we can never escape joy’s power.

Toni concludes, “The most fascinating finding in all of the joy research is that it is grown principally in twos and threes, being passed on through eye contact and non-verbal communication!” (Toni’s full post)

So,  it may not be about how many people like you or how many you like. It may be how real and sincere we are with a few, even just one or two others.

These two phrases in Toni’s article really bought me joy:

  1. Joy means someone is glad to be with me no matter what.
  2. Joy is also being glad to be together even when we are sad and grieving, or angry and hurting.

I want to be that kind of person. I also want to be around people like that.

Please email me with your reflections about joy, friendship, and resilience—or anything else.

Best re-Arghs! John