The Sweetness of Systergy

There are so many wonderful women in my life that I suppose I sometimes take them for granted.

Which is why I think I had the dream I had this week.

Here's the redux:

A group of women I'm friendly with, all of whom have children my daughter's age, had organized a playdate, one to which all of the mothers and daughters in our circle were invited, except my daughter and me.

I was devastated at having being excluded, and needed to tell someone.

But when I sought out those who were mother/big sister figures in whom I hoped to confide my grief, each was genuinely concerned for about five minutes, and then had to run off, being ‘late for a very important date'.

And so the devastation continued.

Having to dash off to to an investor meeting in midtown Manhattan helped me shake off my early morning sadness.

I'm grateful, however, for the lingering reminder…


…that we sometimes need to taste the bitter in order to prize the sweet.

The sweetness of systergy.


I do, I do, I do prize systergy — but perhaps it is too abstract.

Which is why I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin's post 12 tips for acting like a true friend over at The Happiness Project.  This post provides great helps for getting into our systergistic groove, including:  1) Be supportive when your friend has good news; 2)  Be friendly to your friend's friends; 3)  Show up.

My favorite tip is… Well, actually take a look at her blog.

Any recent experience that brought into relief the importance of systergy?

Which of Gretchen's tips do you think is my favorite?

Which is yours?

Any difference between what you give as a friend and what it's important for you to receive?

Related posts:
The Dark Side of Systergy
Of Pineapples and Friendship
Celebrating Systergy
Three Cheers for Oxytocin

Getting Gratitude

I have not been able to get Anna Kerr's comment that “we are desperate and depressed because our society encourages us to be dissatisfied” off my mind.

It was a reminder that we need to not only look up and ahead, but down and back, and that as we dare and dream, and then ‘get', if we aren't grateful for ‘what we get', we'll still be desperate and depressed.

With a nod and big thank you to Anna, here's a list of things (and their respective categories) that I am grateful for:

1) God's grace — God's grace is something we don't deserve, but are given anyway, unfettered and unconditionally. For me, it is the fall foliage in New England. It is glorious to behold.

What providential gift, or gift of grace, are you grateful for?

2) Gift of another's self — This is a gift that comes when people play to their strengths and give us something we very much need or want, but can't give to ourselves. Because it is generously given, it is systergy at its purest, but certainly not the exclusive domain of women, as my friend Aaron demonstrated this past week.

LaNola Kathleen Stone is a superb example of this ‘gift of self'. Kathleen has taken our family's Christmas pictures since Miranda was a baby. Because she is willing to play to her specific strengths and intelligences, every year Kathleen sees magnificence in my children that I certainly couldn't, and dare I say, few photographers could, as seen below.


What gift of another's self are you grateful for?

3) What I'm good at — This will likely be the hardest one to come up with as it requires us to do precisely what Anna Fels' research and the Bem Sex Role Inventory indicate that feminine women don't do — pull attention toward ourselves. Even after months of ‘soapboxing' about this, I would have readily deflected had my friends Brooke and Stacey not gently encouraged me to stiffen my spine. And so…. I'm grateful that I am good at coming up with an idea or vision for a project AND that I can then execute against my vision; take Know Your Neighbor, for instance.

What are you grateful to be good at? What are your strengths? Is there a way that your ‘good at' can be given as a gift of your self?

4) Simple pleasures — This is something that makes us happy. Period. Like listening to Earth, Wind and Fire's Can't Hide Love. I loved this song as a 16 year-old. And I still love it. Every time I hear that magnificent horn introduction on my iPod, I am happy. A simple pleasure.

What simple pleasure are you grateful for?

P.S. Just this morning there was a terrific article in the NY Times titled Let us give thanks. In writing., and includes a quote from Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project.

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