Mojo Monday ~ The Good Places of Friendship

A friend of mine gave me a copy of this very powerful article about friendship by Belinda Recio.  It appeared in the November-December issue of a publication called Spirituality Health.
I love the deepness of the following passage:
“In such friendships, the friends understand and accept the imperfections of the relationship, themselves, and each other.  They accept the risk of betrayal because they understand that the seed of forgiveness is contained within the betrayal.”
Here is a copy of the entire article. 
(Note if the text appears too small you should be able to click on the image to see a larger version)
Recently I had a friend contact me to talk through a situation she was experiencing with another friend.    This friend has done the same for me in the past when I was working through and processing some difficult terrain in a couple of friendships.
I am not a friendship guru and I have made my own mistakes for certain, especially when I was going through some tough times and in a depressed state of mind.  
I didn’t want to give “advice” so all I shared was something along the lines of this:
1) we can own our part of things 
2) we can sincerely apologize if we know we have hurt or offended a friend
3) we can make efforts to express our desire to continue to be friends
4) we can do things that make us feel good about our friend and the friendship – such as sending cards, emails, little gifts.
There are also things that we have to realize we can’t control though.
1) we cannot control how they take things (we all have our own perspective that will color how we respond to situations)  
2) we cannot control if they accept our apology 
3) we cannot control if they will accept us back into their heart 
4) we cannot control if they treat us differently  
5) we cannot control if they do not wish to remain friends 
My friend wondered – what if this friend won’t take her apology to heart?  I said that is the hardest part about relationships, not having any control over how someone takes something or if they don’t want to remain in a relationship with us.  I shared that if her friend had been in another mind set and was perhaps in a better place in her life that the comment made would not have fazed her one bit.  I added that her reaction is more about her friend than what she said.  I also knew that what she said was done with concern and love, not with an intent to hurt or criticize.  There is a big difference between the two I believe. 
What do we do if a wall is built and a heart is closed to us?  We can either hang in there hoping things will change.  What if it doesn’t?  Is there ever a time to walk away?  I don’t know the answer to that.  Sometimes the answer may be yes.  I recently saw this quote “Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.”  ~Author Unknown.  Perhaps as it proposes there are times when it best for one’s own happiness and mental health to walk away and just let it be. 
What are your thoughts regarding traversing difficult times in a friendship?  
Do you have any words of wisdom to share?

Mojo Monday ~ Best Friends

A Toast to Isaac Newton by Barbara Lavallee



“I am noticing that one of my gifts is to be an anchor for friends.”
~Mary MacDonald
The August 2001 issue of “O” featured the topic Friendship and this is how it was introduced:

“It has been said that there are two kinds of friends: friends of time and friends of like mind. The first—pals from the old neighborhood, summer camp, our first job – give our lives continuity; the second – soul mates who share our interests, values, goals – give our lives possibility. Both stir our capacity to care and connect, or as the writer Anais Nin once said, Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.”
I think we can all look back to our past and make a list of friends who touched our lives. Inevitably we may have considered some of our friends as “best friends.” My first best friend at the age of three was also named Michelle. She moved prior to us starting school and I didn’t make another real “best friend” until I met Audra in fifth grade. Audra would move a year after our special connection was made and a new best friend named Tanya would enter the picture in sixth grade. I moved a year after meeting Tanya but we somehow managed to keep our friendship very much alive throughout our teen years and into our 20’s. I didn’t really have another “best friend” until my second year of college. There were always other friends in my life, some close and some not as close, but not everyone met fell into that “best friend” category. 

What I have observed throughout the years in my relationships is that there is a bit of magic that just seems to make certain people click with one another. Sometimes one can know a person for years but never get super close and then bam a person walks into your life and you feel as if you’ve known them for years and you find yourself easily opening up and sharing the most intimate stories of your life.  With some individuals there is an extra special connection and in some of these situations we find ourselves considering her or him our best friend.

I feel these excerpts from The Illustrated Discovery Journal by Sarah Ban Breathnach captures the essence of why some connections stand out from the rest:

“Every moment of every day, consciously, or unconsciously, we all seek our people.” Our people are our spiritual family, the kith, kin, and kindred spirits we’ve unconditionally loved and been loved by since the beginning of time. Sometimes we’re connected by blood and lineage. But not always.”

“Consider the different ways you feel about the people in your life….Which of these individuals represent your own inner circle—your people—the friends of your soul with whom you truly belong and feel safe? The ones with whom you feel that your Authentic Self can emerge, be appreciated, and be loved? Which family members and friends have cared about you, stood by you during difficult days, and were genuinely happy to see you flourish? These are your sacred connections.”

“There is also such a thing as friendship at first sight. You meet someone at a party, and you immediately enjoy the way they naturally include you in the conversation. You see a new employee stand up to the boss, and admire his or her spunkiness right away. Often such connections are very real and very deep…The Irish writer John O’Donahue reminds us that ‘the real mirror of your life and soul is your true friend. A friend helps you to glimpse who you really are and what you are doing here.’”

“You can learn a tremendous amount about your Authentic Self from your soul-friends, both passionate and platonic. The psychologist Carl Jung believed that ‘the meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: If there is any reaction, both are transformed.’ A soul-friend is someone who not only sees the real you, but helps you to see her as well.”


Here are some questions to consider:

Who was your first best friend? How old were you? How long were you friends? How many “best friends” have you had in the course of your whole life?

Do you still have a best friend or best friends? Who is the friend that you have known for the longest time and still consider a close friend? When and how did you meet? What has made the friendship “stick”?

What does being a friend mean to you? How could you be a better friend to others — and to yourself?

What qualities do you value in a friend? Do your best friends embody them? Do you possess them yourself? Ask someone you trust about the qualities you’re known for.

Which of your friendships need improving? What action could you take today to mend a torn relationship or revitalize one that’s flagging?

Nearly every friendship has its ups and downs. We grow at different rates or just need space. Are there any friendships that you need to let go of – temporarily or permanently?
Have you ever struggled through a period of time where you felt alone and friendless? How did you get through it? Do you have any recommendations to others who might also be struggling?

Lastly, do you have a favorite movie or book about friendship that you enjoyed and that you would like to recommend?

 


Resource Recommendation ~ If you are ever seeking answers on how to deal with challenges or difficulties in a friendship I recommend a book called Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend by Irene S. Levine, PhD. While the book does offer up stories and thoughts on how to handle the end of a close friendship, the author also offers up a lot of reflection on female friendships and how to strengthen and heal them too. Dr. Levine also has a web site called The Friendship Blog and you can find it here: http://www.thefriendshipblog.com/