Friend [frend] –noun; 1) a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; 2) a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter; 3) a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile.
Yikes – “a person who is not hostile.” Really? I don’t think I’d include that in my definition of the word friend. Would you? But it’s a question that is worth asking. How do you define a friend?
We have so many friends in our lives that fill myriad roles. There are those that we can call when we want to go out for all-night dancing, and those that we call when we want to chill in a coffee shop or living room for hours discussing the many facets of our lives and the lives of others. There are even those who we simply like to jog or bike with. And then there’s everything in between. There’s a saying I think many of you are familiar with: People come into our lives for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime.
Our friends can pretty much be categorized in this way. Some are always in our lives, others come and go, as they are needed – or we are needed. And still others are passing through our lives like trains in a station. And the best thing is – it’s always perfect.
I was recently reminded of the perfection of friendship, and I am filled with gratitude for this loving reminder. In high school and college I referred to my friends as my family. And just like families, relationships grow, change and evolve over time. Nobody is in the same place at the same time, especially as we grow older. When we’re younger, we’re pretty much going through many of the rites of passage together. But as we get older our challenges and experiences become more varied. We may not always understand one another as well as we once did – and that can, at times, feel disheartening. But it’s natural (and perfect) in its own emotional complexity. The beauty of friendship – and having friends with different backgrounds and experiences – is that we almost always have someone to call on for the different events in our life, which is the greatest blessing. And often times, we don’t even need to pick up the phone, because our friends know when to reach out to us when we need them. How great is that!?
Now here’s a question: How good of a friend are you to yourself? Do you regularly sit down with yourself and chill in a coffee house, or go biking, or go dancing? What about calling on yourself as your own best friend in times of despair or difficulty, or celebrating with yourself when you’ve achieved something? I know many of us don’t do this on a regular basis. We don’t make “dates” with our Self. I also know many of us don’t know how to do this, because we haven’t necessarily been taught that we can be our own friend. A “friend” is, by definition, “another person” – someone else.
But I’d like to challenge that idea. I would like everyone to take a look at themselves today, whether passing by a store window or looking in the mirror, and when you do I’d like you to say hello to your closest confidante, your bosom buddy – your new best friend. Why? Because there are times in our lives when we need to know that we can truly be alone, truly rely on ourselves, and truly be alright just as we are.
Friends are a blessing. They are a gift in our lives – one that can be nurtured, cultivated, and treasured. And, if we are blessed, we will always have our friends with us in one way or another. But sometimes life doesn’t go as we planned, and it is also a blessing to know that you can be your own best friend. That you can take a walk alone in the woods, or sit in a movie theatre or coffee shop by yourself, and know that you are with the best company in the world: you.
As I mentioned, this week I was reminded of the blessings of friendship, and I am so grateful. In writing this, I had planned only to discuss the gift of that reminder; but I detoured, and was also reminded of the joy of knowing that I am also my own friend. The peace and comfort that comes with that realization is immeasurable. So, I’ve received two huge reminders this week – and I share them now with you. My wish for you is that you will always be surrounded by your friends, you will always be open to new friendships, and your list of friends always includes You.
In Love and Light,