Have you ever entered the season of life where it feels like no one is in your corner?

I have always imagined that “corner” as the corner of a boxing ring. (By the way, why is it called a ring if it’s actually a square?) When life has thrown a knockout punch, I see myself hurled into the corner of the ring. I’m barely standing upright, grasping at the ropes for support. In these seasons of relationship drought, there’s no coach or teammate to tag into the ring. I either crumble under the weight of life’s punches or I rise to fight another round.

I used to think the best kind of people were the ones who showed up when your life falls apart. The people who hold you up through the storms of life; the ones who wait out the tough moments by your side. These are the people waiting in your corner- when life flings you backwards, they are waiting to pick you up and encourage you to continue the fight.

But the more I live and experience, I realize these aren’t the people I want surrounding me. Don’t get me wrong- I will forever be thankful for their support during some of the most trying times of my life. However, I am done fighting to keep them in my life. The hollow promises made when I’m vulnerable and at my weakest have broken me. Their empty words have filled me with hope and expectations that are never met. Why should I have to wait for life to throw me backwards to feel their support and hear their encouragement? Where are they at during the middle of my fight?

Instead, I want to surround myself with people who stop me in the middle of a boring Tuesday and ask me how I am. I want to fill my life with the people that pick me up late at night for a taco run. I want to build my relationships with the people that surprise me with my favorite things for no good reason.

I want the people who show up during the good, the bad, and the boring.

These are the people that sit in the front row and cheer me on in the ring. They clap the loudest, and their cheers are deafening. These are the people that jump into the ring, no matter the consequence, and fight with me when I am struggling. These are the people that stand in the corner and scream at me to tag them into the fight when life has left me defeated. They pick up where I left off until I am ready to fight again.

I’m not perfect. One of the hardest struggles I’ve faced as an adult is growing my relationships despite my busy schedule of responsibilities. I’ve let friendships slide down my “to-do” list, and I haven’t always been that encouraging spectator. I’ve found myself jumping into the corner when people hit their low points, but, in the good moments and the boring moments, I’m not even in the arena.

I challenge myself to do better and to be better. I also extend that challenge to you. Don’t get caught daydreaming in the stands. Don’t fall asleep in the corner. Make your presence known. Show up for the people in your life. Fight for them. But most importantly, fight with them.