A note from Jennifer...
I grew up in a small, West Texas farming community, population 1967ish. I am sure many of you can imagine what that could be like.
There were the usual cliques where I learned, like most kids, that you were either “in” or “out.”That label was based almost entirely on what you wore, how you behaved, and the activities you chose to partake.
Mostly, I was "middle." Middle meant you didn’t belong anywhere, yet belonged wherever you were at any given moment. I had a lot of people around me but was lonely because I lacked close relationships. I had acquaintances who thought I was kind and thoughtful, but not close enough actually to befriend. I didn’t have a BFF or an inner core of people I could be vulnerable with or count on consistently.
Fast forward to adulthood, I've spent my entire adult life studying human development and families. I’ve investigated the ins and outs of relationships at the most foundational core level. I had an early desire to know why people did what they did, why they made the choices they made, and how they could choose to make different ones. 
This month, I’m talking about friendships and love - perfect for February, don’t you think? Specifically, loading up on love from your inner core.
Load Up On Love From Your Inner Core
Community and friendship can shift and change. We all have different types and levels of friends, but our more intimate friends are considered our inner core
We Need People Like We Need Air.
In Western society, independence is valued more than interdependence. This means we value self-love over loving and being loved by others . We’ve become accustomed to trying really hard to be superheroes who do not need anyone in our life. We have become super lonely in the process. Dependence has become a dirty word. 
Depressed and anxious people are lonely because many times they lack the deep, emotional, vulnerable relationships needed to feel connected. Loneliness looks a lot like depression, and if you think about it, you can understand why there are a lot of lonely people in the world. We are a hectic society and make less deep connections. Instead we choose to connect through social media, a less personal point of connection.
The antidote to loneliness is a deep connection. 
Without an intact, stable inner core, you’ll stay mostly surface-level when it comes to relationships, lacking the vulnerability and self-disclosure needed for deep friendships and love. You remain stuck in a position that is primarily superficial. You won’t show up fully and 100% to anyone at any time. Your inner core provides an opportunity to show up in the raw, baring your soul, spirit, and heart. Your life remains intact and cohesive because of the connection you have with the people in your life with whom you are the most vulnerable, yet continue to feel unconditionally loved.

Want to learn more? Here are more articles on this topic:
Stories of Success:
Learning from Kayla's Story
Kayla grew up much like I did, which is one reason I was instantly drawn to her. Outside of the counseling room, I’m sure we’d be friends. She is a no-nonsense, take no prisoners, tell-it-like-it-is, softie . You wouldn’t know she was a softie until she let you in. The problem is, when I first met her, she let no one in. 
Kayla had immersed herself in her kid’s lives, and, frankly, lived day-to-day in problem-solving mode, leaving no time or desire for close-knit friendships. She didn’t depend on anyone because she learned she couldn’t depend on anyone, including her drug-addicted, verbally-abusive husband. It wasn’t until she went through a nasty divorce that she actually found her inner mojo. 
The year I met Kayla, she was, a mess. But I watched her push herself out of her comfort zone again and again and again. Throughout her divorce, she had to find friends, hold on tight, and let them see her through one of the most challenging times of her life. And, to her amazement, they did! 

I watched Kayla transform by trusting others to carry her through some very difficult times. Kayla has worked hard over the past several years to find her inner badass, by being open, vulnerable and trusting of people around her in a way that helps her trust, love, and build deep, lasting friendships. Because of that outside support, including that of a new life partner, she is more grounded, less anxious, and not at all lonely or depressed.
She has developed a solid inner core that she feels she can be her true self with who have helped her overcome the obstacles she faces.
What the Research Says...
Don’t take just my word for it...
This is an from an article from the Mayo Clinic.

What are the benefits of friendships?

Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too.

Friends can also:
  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise

Want to read more, click HERE to read the article.
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Also, I want you to feel supported every step of the way. I encourage you to join my  Facebook Group as well as follow my  Facebook Page . In both of these places, you’ll see me post information to help guide you through  The New Mental Health Care Model.