Finale: 5 Next Steps for Strong Friends

In today’s season finale, Taylor explores the concept of the strong friend and its implications on personal well-being and relationships. She also offers five encouraging next steps for the strong friend recovery process, such as self-reflection, taking small steps, and finding a celebration buddy to bring more joy and support into the journey.

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Episode Transcript

Taylor Morrison  
You're listening to Inner Warmup where your inner work begins. I'm Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator and author of Inner Workout. And you as always are our expert guest. Thanks for being here today. We've come to the final episode of the season.

And this is the last time you're going to hear me shout out the companion resource we made for you, The Strong Friend's Inner Workbook. This workbook expands on the three strong friend archetypes we've explored this season: the intellectual, the caregiver strong friend, and the picture perfect, strong friend. Inside you'll find 40 reflection, over 40 reflection questions to help you explore your strong friend tendencies, focus your inner work, and identify the relationships that you could use to support you. And you get all this for just $4.99. You can find the link to get it at the show notes, or go to Bitly slash strong friends, that's b i t dot l y slash strong friends plural.

Let's get into the final episode of the season. It flew by, didn't it? So I chose this topic of being the strong friend because I saw a strong friend tendencies show up in my interactions with the Inner Workout community and honestly, I saw them showing up in my own life too. So in this season finale, we're going to talk about what actions you can take based on all the reflection we did and all the conversation we had with amazing guests the season.
Let's start by grounding back in to what we mean at Inner Workout when we say strong friend, you know, we love a definition here. From our point of view, a strong friend is this person who is walking through the world. And they've got a shield up of projected strength. And this metaphorical shield creates barriers between themselves and others, which hinders their ability to really give care, receive care, and to do their inner work. So that's the definition that we've been using for strong friend. And I wanted to share some more examples of how I've seen it show up in interactions with the Inner Workout community. And like I said, also in my own life.

So it might be in a coaching session where we are brainstorming ways to approach a situation. And I've seen it happen where the idea of asking for help just does not come up. It is not a possibility that's on that person's radar. Because maybe they don't want to show any cracks in their perfect facade, or they don't want to admit that they don't know something. Or they don't trust people to show up for them in their time of need, even though they're doing it over and over again for other people. Or it could be a situation where someone knows all about a concept. And for this example, I will call myself out here. I know that movement is important for me, I've talked about that on the podcast before. And I could tell you about not just how it benefits me personally. But I could also point you towards research about all the benefits that movement has for your physical well being, for your mental health, especially how it can support you with ADHD. That's been something I've been exploring more recently. It's all up there. It's all in my head. Hello, intellectual strong friend. I've got the knowledge, but there can still be a gap between me knowing something and then me actually prioritizing it in my day, I know how good movement is for me. And I'm just coming off of, I don't know, maybe a three week season where I was not prioritizing it and I felt the negative impact in my life. Another examples I hear people getting so caught up in what others might think that they deprioritize their own needs, their own wants, their own desires. So that's why we did this season because I kept seeing patterns like this show up. And we got to together, through these episodes, we started the strong friend recovery process.

In episode one we introduced the three strong friend archetypes: caregiver, intellectual, picture perfect. And then throughout the season, we explored the three strong friend tendencies with incredible guests. We talked about how intellectualizing can both help and harm our healing. We offered up three new ways to think about people pleasing, and you were encouraged to start valuing your emotional labor. That episode in particular created such a paradigm shift for me.

And then in the second half of this season, we started to build the skills of vulnerability, of self advocacy and embodiment. If you haven't listened to the episodes this season, I really encourage you to go back and listen. Someone told me that this new seasonal format for the podcast feels kind of like a book for them. And that was the highest praise because we are so intentional. We're handpicking guests, we're putting episodes in order, to really create an experience where you can reflect, and hopefully start to integrate this knowledge, these insights into your own life.

And also, as a fellow recovering strong friend, I know how easy it is to listen to content like this. And then to just kind of add it to your mental knowledge bank, or added to this laundry list of things that we theoretically should be doing. And we should be doing all on our own. Let's not leave it there this time okay.

What we're doing for this final episode is sharing five potential next steps that you can take to further your strong friend recovery process. Don't overload yourself, don't try and over achieve here and do all five, choose one or two that resonate okay?

So the first one is to reflect and connect. What's great about podcasts is that it can be such a passive activity. You can listen to them while you're doing something else. I know I often do, I listen while I'm dropping my husband off at work or cooking or walking my dog. What I encourage you to do if this one resonates with you is to take some time to reflect on a concept that stood out to you from one of the season's episodes. Maybe it was what Oludara shared about boundaries versus rules. Maybe you too, were struck by the conversation about emotional labor. Maybe you can't stop thinking about conscious and unconscious people pleasing. Whatever it is for you, reflect on that concept and connect it back to your own life. Ask yourself questions like, how does this concept show up in my life right now, how has it showed up in the past? And what would it look like if you made a shift? We made The Strong Friend's Inner Workbook to make the step really easy for you. And you're the expert here, I'm really confident that you can come up with some powerful ways to reflect and connect on your own if you prefer.

The next next step that I'll offer is to turn inwards. I was struck by how many of these conversations invited us to turn inwards before we even thought about shifting our relationship to other people. You have to be vulnerable with yourself for example, before you can be vulnerable with other people. You have to feel safe with yourself before you can feel safe with other people. You have to value your own emotional labor, before you really start to value it in other people. Think of one way that you can foster a strong friend skill with yourself first. Instead of thinking about how you need to transform some external thing around you, think about what you can transform with your relationship with yourself and watch then that ripple effect expand into your relationships really naturally.
The third, next step that you might try is to name your strong friend. Your strong friendness is a part of you. So why not give that aspect of yourself a name? Say hi to them when they pop up. Notice their patterns, maybe notice when they tend to show up. Get curious about what their motivations are, what their fears are. You may have heard the adage that ignoring things tends to give them more power. So if you listen to the season, you're like, Okay, I'm just done being a strong friend, I'm going to ignore that part of myself, you might just be rooting that part of you more deeply into your actions, into your behaviors. By giving your strong friend a name, it's actually one way to take your power back and to notice what this part of you is trying to offer. And to find new ways to give yourself what the strong friend part of you is so desperately seeking. Next up, start safe and start small. I loved this advice from Oludara, so I had to take it verbatim. When I see people in the Inner Workout community who tend to have some over achiever tendencies that can be wrapped up in their strong friend tendencies, we can take a concept and run with it, and sometimes overwhelm ourselves. So I think start safe and start small is great for easing into trying new ways of interacting with others in our relationships. But it's also a great mantra for us to have, as we're building new habits for ourselves. So that might look like finding really small ways to advocate for yourself. It could be something as simple as speaking up when you order a hot coffee, and they give you an iced coffee instead. You might find a small moment during the day where you can check in with your body, or a tiny way that you can practice vulnerability. The other element here to starting safe means also finding safe people. First, like we talked about being a safe person for yourself. But also finding safe people who can be part of this work for you. You might even tell them, hey, this is something I'm working on right now.
Which leads me to the next step. Finding a celebration buddy. Choosing a celebration buddy really serves two purposes. First, you're admitting to someone else, that you have something to work on. How novel to be like, Hey, I'm not perfect, I'm working on something, and how healing. Second, in my experience, unpacking strong friend tendencies can make the simplest tasks feel incredibly intimidating. It can be so useful to have someone who understands what a big deal it is that you asked your partner to walk the dog, or that you actually shared a preference when your friends asked where you'd want to go to dinner. And when we celebrate, and we acknowledge that those seemingly small things that we did are actually examples of us growing and honoring ourselves and we have someone to witness that, we are healing, we're recovering our strong friendness and we're being encouraged to continue this work. Sometimes when we want to go from doing everything on our own, and never admitting that anything's going wrong in our life, to all of a sudden being the most vulnerable person, that can feel like a really big shift. And we might be making progress and not even realize it because we're not ultimately where we'd like to be. So your celebration buddy is your witness to say, hey, that's different than you showed up yesterday, or two weeks ago, or six months ago. And in my opinion, we also just need more celebration so celebration buddies are great to also bring more joy into play, and fun into this human experience. So there you have it, those are five potential next steps that you could take: reflect and connect, turn inwards, name your strong friend, start safe and start small, and find a celebration buddy. I hope that at least one of these next steps resonated with you and that you'll spend the next couple of months working with them.

And with that, that's a wrap on Season Three. We're taking an integration break so you've got a couple of months to work with this, to explore. And we at Inner Workout, have a couple of months to rest and then to work on creating Season Four. If you liked the season, please rate and or review Inner Warmup on Apple podcast, so that we can bring on even more amazing guests in the following seasons. Thank you so much for listening. And as always, thank you for your time and for your expertise. until season four, take care.