If you have ever used any form of social media at all, then I would venture to say somewhere along the way you have found yourself comparing your journey to others.

It’s easy to create a false perception by comparing someone else’s social media post to our imperfect world. I know it can be intimidating and for many, it may hold you back from the freedom of being you.

I don’t build a life “online” that I don’t actually live in reality.

I endeavored to do my best when opening the doors to my home (and my imperfections), to create a safe place for friends to be real, raw and truly themselves. I try to be ok with things not being perfect.

I don’t want my house to be presented so perfectly that it feels like no one actually lives in it. Homes aren’t meant to be museums and when they appear that way – they quickly become a turn off for someone who’s looking to relax and chill out.

It’s ok to want it to look nice and tidy but it needs to appear lived in!  Ladies, it’s ok if the kid’s toys are on the floor in the corner, or you ran out of time to vacuum.

The best gift you can give your guests is to be fully present with them.

When friends come over I am purposeful about putting my phone aside, engaging in conversation finding out about what they’re up to. I like to know where their heart is and to look for ways I can encourage them, speak life to them and make them feel like they are valuable.

Giving your guests the gift of your full attention and presence is beautiful and priceless.  It is easy to be less and less connected in a world where most of our connection is through our phones and other digital means.

We all have the ability to form healthy relationships but it takes practice and hard work to be accomplished. Encouragement and envy can’t coexist,  we have to move past our fears and insecurities. We need to come with a mindset that isn’t screaming “what’s in this for me”, but instead be thinking about what we can bring to the friendship, or the conversation and to what we can say to encourage those we’re with. When we do this we elevate the needs of others over ourselves.

The best friends are the kind who see you for who you really are, they see you in your potential and they are always cheering you on to be brave and live your dreams. This is how I’m where I am today – people saw my potential and they challenged me to be the best version of me. Your friends are a precious gift in your life, they want to be themselves around you. They want to see your imperfections, while you grow in who you are.

It takes work to be the one to invite, invest and host in your home but the rewards far outweigh the work involved. Create the place your friends know they can come and laugh, a place they know they will be championed for who they are – not where they are. A place they can find safety even on the hardest of days.

Kindness is contagious and others will be drawn to it.

It may sound silly but I actually take joy when a friend stops by and my house isn’t all put together, or I cook a meal and it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. In that moment I’m communicating that I am not afraid to let the “imperfect” me be seen. This is how deep friendships are formed so don’t wait for the perfect set of circumstances to open your doors to those around you. This precious gift of doing life together awaits you on the other side!

In what ways do you struggle to be real in your friendships?  How can you be more present with your friends?