February 11, 2008
It occurred to me today that life is too personal.
In order to really get into a deep relationship with anyone (except in the case of really exceptional people), you have to be eternally patient. It takes most people a long time to get personal. After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the three (or four) steps I usually see in most of my relationships.
1. The feeling out phase when people just meet and listen to each other without voicing to much opinion.
2. The opinion phase is the time for sharing opinions on not too sensitive topics. Humour usually comes out in this phase.
3. The obnoxious phase where one or both people in the relationship loses inhibition and shows their true colors. This
phase is often marked by embarrassment in public, random singing, fights and various other loud activities.
4. This optional phase is marked by the sharing of deeply personal thoughts or experiences. It develops with trust and
the realization that your friend will love regardless of anything you did in step 3.
Of course, friendships don’t really follow a definite pattern. People are too complicated to be textbook, but when you’re in a relationship you can usually tell where the relationship is and is headed. You can tell where “the line” is, how much physical contact is okay and how much you are willing to tell, but in the case for “willing to tell,” it often depends on the confidence of the person in his or her identity and past. It shouldn’t have to though. I think maybe the reason people have to wait so long to get personal is because human beings tend to be insensitive. We treasure the deepest friendships we have because we have finally found people who are willing to listen and act with what we tell them in our best interest. Most of us are raised to not trust anybody because apparently a lot of people out there will hurt us or only find utility in us. But even those people, may them most of all, need someone to reach step 4 with.
That should probably be the task of human beings. That should be our measurement of progress. How many of us are willing to bear ourselves all the way to the last step? School shootings, murders, theft and suicide are very dependent on the fact that people who committed these crimes against others and themselves were at the last step all by themselves. How many of the people in our lives, regardless of what they appear to be on the surface, would like someone to take the time to reach underneath and pay all attention to the man behind the mask.
Life is too personal. We make it that way. I make it that way. It takes throwing away pride and becoming comfortable with my reality to make it more available to other people. To let other people know the complete truth and to let them share their own life with mine. That’s a very tough conclusion to come to.
February 9, 2008
What is the best type of friend? The better question: what makes a good friend? The generic answer usually involves traits that affect the other member of the relationship. Friends are often measured against values of trust, kindness, honesty and communication. But these qualities are not enough to create and maintain the deepest of friendships. Of course, these traits are very important in all relationships, but there are not enough to be the best friend a person can be; there is something missing. The quality most consistently left out is self love. Without it, our best relationships never realize their full potential. They are left to function on the surface of human action as opposed to the more personal meaning behind action. Although many of our deepest friendships are earned by the previously mentioned traits and almost always provide a place for very personal thoughts and feeling to be expressed without judgment, our friendships have still not reached their greatest potential.
Within the friendship, a friend is someone who acts and thinks in what he believes to be our best interest, who we are able to have conversations with, who shares our sadness and happiness, who enjoys spending time in our company and who recognizes our strengths and weaknesses without exploited either. The best friend, in addition, feels all of these things for herself. She wishes the best for herself and her life, she enjoys and respects her thoughts, she feels comfortable with her emotions, she finds great pleasure in her own company and she handles her strengths and weaknesses so they may be kept in the balance in accordance with the decisions to better her life. In a sense, she has a friendship with her “self” and her friend is just another “self.”
If our friend loves himself so deeply and completely and we live with the same self love, then our friendship is able to turn all of its potential into reality and thrive through the infinite love that remains its base. Friendships no longer become a place to find a person who fills missing pieces of our self-esteem with compliments and who we can hurt with words of misdirected insecurity. The friend a part of a friendship based in self love does not ask of his friend because he has the confidence to will and attain the need or want he has, though his friend out of her own self love may unprompted help him achieve his goal. And when she loses her temper in a moment of weakness, she will recognize this as a moment of weakness and seek to remedy the situation and her feelings. But because she is in this friendship, her will recognize her desire to modify this aspect of her emotion and he will aide (for her best interest) in the goal she seeks to complete.
Therefore, it is not trust or kindness or honesty that are the foundation of a good friendship, it is self love. Self-love minimizes the need of insecure human beings to belittle their neighbors, it causes individuals to desire a remedy of ignorance of culture, it makes possible to recognize the best pieces of the human being, it allows to experience life as freely as possible through our own self confidence and it provides the foundation for the most valuable friendships in our lifetime.
Love yourself. Every part. You’re worth it.