Group Therapy

Two years ago I joined a Bible study. (This is not going to be a religious post, so don’t get your panties in a wad. I’ve got a point to bringing this up and it doesn’t involve trying to convince anyone that my religion is the best). Anyway, I joined this group of women from my neighborhood and we meet once per week during the school year to study the word and for Women Unpluggedfellowship. I agreed to join the group when my friend called because I’d just switched my kids to a Christian school where they would be studying the Bible and I thought it would be handy for me to know a little about what they were learning.

I won’t bore you with the details of my religious upbringing, but suffice it to say I had some studying to do. I didn’t know what to expect from this group or how I would fit in. Our neighborhood is very large and pretty diverse—from cultures to backgrounds to personalities—and this group was no exception. To my great surprise, at the first meeting we all introduced ourselves and discussed our experiences and I wasn’t the only one who’d be asking a lot of elementary level questions. I felt instantly relieved and welcomed.

These meetings were long. Three plus hours long. I sit at a computer for most of the day, but never for three hours at a stretch. My ADD and nervous energy won’t let me stay put for that long so those meetings took some getting used to. What surprised me the most about the long meetings (where I left with homework!) was that I looked forward to them every week. I enjoyed unlocking the secrets of the Bible, but more than anything I enjoyed the bonding and fellowship with my neighbors.

I’m a pretty solitary person. I’m a happy hermit with just me and the dogs and my family for long stretches of time. It wasn’t until I joined this group that I realized how much I’d missed being a part of something and sharing in other people’s joys and sorrows. The older I get, the harder it has become for me to reach out and really connect with people—especially women.

Women UnpluggedMaybe it’s just my age or stage of life, but I seem to bear a lot more burdens now, not just mine, but those of the people I know and care about. I know I’m not alone. Now, instead of feeling sorry for myself when something goes wrong in life, I take my troubles to this group of women and feel as if I’m doing something constructive. Sharing things, even intimate and personal things with a group of women I trust, has become very important. I almost forgot how much when I finally managed to make one of our rare summer meetings.

I guess my point in this post is to encourage you to reach out to others. It doesn’t have to be a Bible study. Go out for cocktails, join a book club, take an exercise class. Don’t get so set in your ways that you forget how important it is to share both the good and the bad with others. I wouldn’t have reached out if my friend hadn’t called and asked me to join her. Thank God she did. If you get a chance today, let me know if you have a special group that lifts you up. For your sake, I sure hope you do.

About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on June 25, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Great post, Christy. I think we all need these types of groups to get through life. I have several groups of friends–each diverse and each from a different sphere of my life. These include a small group from my church, a book club of neighborhood friends and a bunco group with parents from my kids’ school. And, of course, my wonderful critique group. 🙂 As crazy as our lives are these days, I really think these types of groups are vital to keeping me sane!

    • Christy Hayes

      Yes, diversity of groups is a wonderful way of not becoming insulated within one group. I adore my writing group 🙂 and book club, also.

  2. I was also blessed with finding the sanity saving connection in the most diverse group of women. I joined a painting class 18 months ago where we were all women with different backgrounds, all from different states within my country (Mexico) but with one core element in common: a true love for ART. I am now moving back home and will be leaving my ‘group therapy/art class’ with a very sad heart but not without recognizing the benefits of being a part of this group. I am going back to work and i thank God i have that fabulous group of people saving my place back home. Even us loners risk becoming lonely, I learned that the hard way. I look forward to reading you soon. Good vibe to you and your bible group, Alexandra

    • Christy Hayes

      I love what you said here, Alexandra, “Even us loners risk becoming lonely.” So true and so glad you found a place with your art group. Sounds like a special group of people!

      • oh yes, they are, if I may quote myself, from a recent post: “These women are incredible… Up to now I had always bashed the concept of FEMALE SOLIDARITY, I’d prefer to call it empathy or even sympathy but not solidarity. My experience had been that when women were together, they were together to one up each other and to leave feeling envious of the ‘friend’… But this group of women showed me that there can be SOLIDARITY among us that would turn into true FRIENDSHIP and be elevated to ADMIRATION” …they are the best gift I’ve received from my time living in Mexico City!

  3. I completely agree on the importance of staying connected with those who appreciate your struggles and triumphs. I play tennis on a team, attend bunco once a month, and maintain contact with you gals in my critique/support group. Women were meant to enjoy a hen house, if only from time to time. I love my husband and kids, but they don’t quite understand my day-to-day like my girlfriends.

    • So true, Susan. Husbands and kids can’t always relate and I’m sure they appreciate the break from mom as well. I know mine do!

  4. “Even us loners risk becoming lonely.” So very true!

    When I worked outside of the home full time, I had a wonderfully supportive group of friends in the workplace, as well as my terrific group of online friends. That’s all I needed and had time for. But now that I’m writing at home full time, I’ve discovered I really miss that human contact. I have lots of online contacts and friendships, but it’s just not the same as getting together for some real live facetime.

    Christy, you’ve convinced me … I need a group. 🙂

    • We all do, Sheila. Good luck in finding one and be patient. Sometimes the first place you look isn’t he right fit, but keep trying. You’ll be glad you did!

  5. Christy, this is a lovely post. Kudos that you have left your hermit’s shell. Being the cusp person, I find the hermit part of me spending long hours trying to talk the extrovert me to sit still and leave her alone.

    I am grateful I only listen to her when I need to buckle down to a job. The rest of the time I find people and new groups what my kids used to call the “bomb”

    There is a singular joy in working with others when there is no cash involved and the sister-hood of my female friends has brought me through some of the darkest moments of my life. Keep reaching out and expand your horizons, you will be so glad you did 🙂

    • Good advice, Florence, to keep reaching out and expand our horizons. It’s easy to get set in our ways and forget about the excitement of something new.

  6. So true. I’m a solitary soul like you and it’s not because I don’t enjoy the company of others. It’s more a matter of time management for me. So many things I want to do In a day, only so many hours in said day. But life is about choices, isn’t it? And I agree, the company of others cannot be overrated.

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