True Blue Friends, Self-Love & Growing Up 

By: Erin Telford

When I was growing up,

having a Best Friend was like the Holy Grail. I was a serious book nerd, so dedicated to reading that I would ride home from the library with a book propped between my handlebars and the basket. All of my girlhood literary heroes had a very special confidante and fellow mischief-maker to hang with and I aspired to find my one true blue friend. There was a type of blood-sister level support that I was seeking, someone that I could count on, tell all my secrets to and be unconditionally accepted by. 

As much personal work as I have done, where I really get tested is in relationship. It’s where you can clearly see what you have integrated and put into practice and where you still need more learning and healing.

The sacred and deeply intimate experience of sisterhood is where I have felt so incredibly held and supported and also where I have learned to assert myself, trust myself and create healthy boundaries.

I have been blessed to have a woman I’d known for 30 years catch me when I got the call that my sister died. Another group of women to guide me through numerous relationship confusions and breakups. Girls to smoke cigarettes and drink beer and experiment with psychedelics in my high school and college years. A pack to have my back when I was starting my healing practice and had no idea of what I was doing. 
I have experienced heartbreak with some of these same women, as we have grown apart in our values or in our evolution. One of the big pieces of learning about self-love for me was recognizing that some of my relationships had been created on the foundation of how I learned to get love from my parents. We are such high vibrating antennas as children, picking up on every single cue in our environment. We learn instinctually and intuitively which qualities will earn us love, attention and affection and which will receive punishment, dislike, or being ignored.

I learned as a child that I needed to be a little smaller and quieter and not rock the boat in order to get my needs met. This created friendships where the power dynamics were off and my closest friends were my literal lifelines (aka umbilical cords) in a way that a lot of my love was being sourced from them rather than internally.

As my personal power and sovereignty grew, I needed women in my life that could really see me and that I could be my full self with. When I got bigger and started to assert my true needs, the apple cart was upset. My hugest fear was speaking up about my boundaries and the depth of my darker feelings-my grief and my anger and my real naked vulnerability-and losing love when I showed those parts of myself. 

The love did end up leaving when I got more honest, stood up for myself and pushed back on things that weren’t working for me and it hurt very badly. Three very long-standing friendships with women I considered to be my very closest friends ended quickly over a period of a couple years. The conflicts were perfectly orchestrated to push everyone involved to a higher level of growth and tested our ability to be in integrity even when we were activated. Even though I can say that two of them were consciously uncoupled, a breakup with your best friend can be as bad if not worse than the end of a romantic relationship. It is a very unique, sweet pain that rocks the entire foundation of your life and can leave you feeling like you are missing a limb. What hurt worse was staying in those dynamics and hustling for love. Doing the dance with the frantic jazz hands of I'm okay, I'm good, I'm happy, I don't need anything. 
After these friendships ended, I had to walk the road alone for way longer than I wanted to, craving and yearning for intimacy and being witnessed. Many of us have this experience of feeling exiled as a break is created for us to go deep inside. Having many of my external support structures removed really allowed me to find a well of self-reliance. This can be a time where we reckon with our belief systems, find ways to become self sourced with love, and become more true to ourselves. It was the beginning point of where I realized I needed fall in love with myself, stopped self-abandoning and decided that the required entry fee into my life was kindness and respect.

The more I grow and get right within, the more I call in my soul family. At this point, I have found some of the truest, most beautiful friendships of my life. Women that keep me big, hold space for all of my emotions and my growth, celebrate my success, and feel nurturing and regenerative. 

Of course, as my cauldron of intention swirled around this piece of writing, another woman very close to me chose to change her relationship with me. A little victim-y piece of me was like, “again??” After much heartache and walking through the fire with this lesson, I can find a little space of acceptance when people come and go. I have seen people weave in and out of my life. Some are bright, brief flares. Some dig in and stay awhile. They all contribute. They all bring love and teachings. They all stay for exactly the right amount of time to share something of great value and drop off a gem of wisdom. I can finally breathe and release, trusting that all of the timing is divine. More importantly, I know that I can trust myself, my standards and my heart to keep inviting in an even higher caliber of exchange in love, trust, integrity and support.





Erin Telford, L.Ac.

Erin Telford believes your light is just as informative and valuable as your shadow and holds space for both.  Her mission is to help people heal their relationships with themselves through lifestyle/spiritual counseling and integrated bodywork.  She is a healer, acupuncturist, herbalist, Reiki Master, writer and leads individual and group Breathwork sessions.  She was recently featured in Refinery 29 as one of “6 Women Who Are Redefining Wellness in New York City”, as well as Nylon, New York Magazine, and The Numinous.  Erin’s private practice is located in Manhattan. 

Acupuncturist | Herbalist | Reiki | Breathwork

146 W. 29th Street, Suite 6RW-3 | NY, NY 10001