Today, I want to talk about an essential, but often overlooked, component of the heroine’s journey: friendships.
When we look at the role friendship plays in the heroine’s journey, from Katniss and Gale in the Hunger Games to Hannah, Marnie, Shoshana and Jessa in Girls, we see that the heroine’s closest friends gather to help her prepare for, enter into, grapple with and, ultimately, emerge from her unique journey.
As you embark on your own heroine’s journey, you may feel the irresistible tug to shut yourself off from the world.
This is completely natural. The heroine’s journey is, after all, focused on going inward.
During the times I’ve embarked on my own such journeys, I’ve felt the same pull. But do you know what I’ve also found?
My friends played an active role in helping me get to the other side.
During my time as a war reporter and filmmaker in Afghanistan, I cycled through an exceptionally powerful and painful heroine’s journey (which I document in my first memoir, My Journey Through War and Peace, which will be published in March 2016!).
I was coming face to face with painful episodes of my past, experiencing the power of my own body and intuition and finding my voice in a foreign land. I knew then, even at the ripe old age of 21, that no one else could do that for me.
But it was friends who aided me during this process. I drew strength from the friends who slept beside me every night, friends who I wrote to from various corners of the world and whose words of encouragement I carried with me. They gave me a safe container to get messy. They offered solace and support when I was confused. They showed up with encouragement and entertainment when I felt like I couldn’t see a way forward.
In their own ways, over and over again, they told me the only thing I needed to hear: “Keep going.”
So, as you delve deeper into your heroine’s journey this week, I want you to take an honest look at your friendships and ask yourself these four questions:
- Are my friendships healthy?
- If not, what can I do to make them healthy?
- How do I need my friends to support me during this time? (Get as specific as you can.)
- How can I ask for that?
And then, as simple and hard as it can be, ask for what you need.
You don’t need to offer up every single detail around what you’re experiencing or share pieces of your journey that feel too raw and vulnerable. But you do need to be honest about what’s happening and ask for the support you need to keep moving forward on your journey.