“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” — Thomas Aquinas
With Christmas around the corner, have the following questions also visited your mind lately?
What is real friendship to me?
Which things should I value most in these relationships?
Which qualities am I looking for in others?
How can I become the best friend I can be?
Am I fulfilling my role as a great friend?
You come across a vast amount of people on your path. Every individual has his/her own opinions, daily habits, beliefs and overall vision about living.
As we are slowly closing in on the end of this year, I want to help you meditate on the meaning of the relationships in your life.
What are the essential elements of a healthy, uplifting friendship?
Who are the people that add to our happiness, or detract from it?
We have to acknowledge the fact that our relationships are one of the major sculptors of our identities along with our present surroundings and upbringing.
With this article, I want to focus on the important aspects of friendship, and how they undeniably impact our lives.
Support Forges The Iron, And Triumph Brings People Together
Our drive to achieve personal goals solidifies when we have people behind us who believe in who we are. You don’t need an endless crowd of supporters. If you have a few people in your life who genuinely care about you and encourage you to face the music, the mental weight of your endeavours reduces significantly.
With that in mind, we should remember that our companions also cherish their personal hopes and dreams. Just like you and me, they could also use some assurance and support. Everyone appreciates someone having their back.
Therefore, be that person. Be the person holding a banner with their name on it. Be that friend who celebrates their wins with them, however small they may seem to you.
Everyone is walking a different path. You may not always understand or believe their goals and motivation, but that shouldn’t withhold you from supporting them sincerely.
Truth And Honesty As The Gateways To Emotional Freedom
I believe that honesty has to come from a place of empathy and goodwill — even if that means cutting through some conventional, theatrical bullshit.
This doesn’t mean, however, that we should voice our opinions in public every time we feel the opportunity arises, nor should we claim the position of putting other people in place. We all know that nobody likes that.
When I’m having an intimate conversation with people I love, I constantly remind myself to value sincerity over ego-fluffing. This means that we both have to be willing to hurt each other’s feelings if that’s what’s required to wake each other up. In other words, starving the ego to feed the character.
Being honest will free you. It will set a clear foundation in your relationships. The people you value the most are usually the people you trust the most. This trust is build upon honesty and truth.
Remember though that, on this path, you will also ruffle some feathers. As refreshing a presence a truthful person may be, there will always be people who get offended easily. They don’t like someone pissing on their pedestals, and they certainly don’t appreciate their egos catching a dent.
No matter. These redundancies won’t weigh against the amount of people who will love and trust you for your honesty. They will know who to go to when they need advice. They will know you will give it to them straight because you love them.
I really can’t understand the value of lying to ‘stay in a happy place’ with friends. If people only kiss each others asses, how can they expect to grow together?
Honesty makes you real. It makes you 10x more valuable than people who only tell their friends what they want to hear. Don’t tell people what they want to hear, tell them what they need to hear.
If you see that your friend is about to make a big mistake, voice your concerns to him. Let him know that you’re on his team, and that you care for his well-being.
If your friend is throwing away her life by drinking too much, make it clear to her that she’s not doing well. No matter how much you love each other, there have to be boundaries.
“Honest conflict has more value than dishonest harmony.” — Joe Rogan
Responsibility Builds Integrity
As we all have our own adversities to conquer, our goals to achieve and our daily nonsense to deal with, it can get increasingly difficult to properly maintain our relationships. Yet, it’s a responsibility we have to take serious.
The maintenance of a strong friendship relies equally on both parties. If your best friends need your shoulder to cry on, you should be there. If they need a safe haven to recover, you should provide them such. If they need help with something important in their lives, you should help where you can within reason.
We have to take our responsibility for those we love.
Love isn’t about going out drinking yourselves into oblivion.
Responsibility isn’t only about the fun times.
You will recognize your true friends in times of sadness and defeat. When you are at your lowest, they will be there. When you’re both sitting on the sofa in your living room, they will stay with you in silence when you’re crying your heart out.
And for goodness sake, defend your loved ones when some idiot is bad-mouthing them behind their backs.
Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest, it’s about who walked into your life and said, ‘I’m here for you’, and proved it. It’s about the people who stood by you when it really mattered.
You’re not, however, responsible for anyone else’s happiness, just like nobody is responsible for your own. But at least try to be an addendum to it. Be the good influence. After all, making others happier is the best feeling in the world.
Mindsets And Habits Are Contagious
If you spend a lot of time with any type of person, chances are you become that type of person. Their vision will become your vision, their fears become your fears, their self-imposed limits become your limits.
In short, their sense of reality will force itself on your reality.
I’ve experienced this truth multiple times. Throughout my teenage years, I spend the majority of my time with some people who had a habit of binge-drinking. We would complain about everything and not give a damn about anything. This might seem cool when you’re 16 years old, but it becomes destructive and tiring when you’re in your twenties.
I left that culture more than a year ago and, to this day, it’s still among the healthiest decisions I’ve made for myself. Sure, some are still angry and offended, but I can’t allow myself or others to sabotage my life.
I have goals to achieve. Drinking myself into the gutter doesn’t fit in that narrative.
Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. We need to grow out of our comfort zone and we need to be challenged frequently. We should reach out to those who share our interests and care about the same important things we care about.
Your social environment has a big impact on:
- The way you experience life as an individual, and as a part of something greater.
- Your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
- Your feeling of self-worth.
- Your habits; both good and bad.
- Your focus and level of determination.
- How you take care of yourself physically.
- Where you live and where you work.
It goes without saying that people who hurt you, disrespect you and ridicule you aren’t worth your time and energy. Those who bring negative energy into your life will only make it harder for you to feel happy and get things done.
Get rid of them. Holding on to the wrong relationships will make you more miserable than just about anything else. If you’re focused on improving yourself and, therefore, your life, you will outgrow certain people. This isn’t only inevitable — it’s necessary. it’s a sign of you becoming more self-aware of who you are, who you want to become and who you don’t want to end up like.
“A true friend accepts who you are, but also helps you become who you want to be.” — Unknown
Gratitude Nourishes The Soul
One of our deepest human desires is to feel valuable and appreciated. We want our lives to have meaning, to be a positive entity in someone else’s life.
That being said, we also have a tendency of taking things for granted, which contradicts with the fact that we hate being taken for granted.
People are amazing.
Cherish those moments of laughter and adventure. Be grateful for that friend that drops everything to be at your side when you need him. Call that other friend today and thank her for what she did for you last week.
Remind them of how much you love them and how grateful you are to have them in your life. Companionship truly is one of the most beautiful things in the world.
Lift other people up through words and action. Be the person with whom others can shine. Make your beloved ones feel good about themselves.
Be the kind of friend to others you wish yourself to have.
Thank you very much for reading.