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This week has been pretty up and down for me. Lots of good things have been happening in nearly every arena that I participate in, to one extent or another. There have been a couple of happy surprises as well. But there’s been some darkness on the outer fringes, too. More than usual. This, naturally, got me thinking.

Thinking for me is a dangerous thing. I can over-analyze the smallest detail of the shortest conversation and create a life-altering conclusion that may or may not (likely not) be based in reality. It’s a skill I’ve unwittingly sharpened over the years. So, I try to temper my thinking a bit, but things got out of hand this week and some old “friends” reared their ugly heads. However, I’ve managed to reteach myself an important lesson or two from it.

One thing that just sucks is mistrust. I struggle with trusting people often, but it’s been getting better over time. The more you trust and people fulfill that trust, the easier it gets. And most people are basically trust worthy. That doesn’t stop me from throwing it all out the window for no real reason or, worse yet, any reason. I did that this week, to no real harm thankfully, and (re)learned an important lesson about friendship.

It matters less how the other feels about you in a given moment than it does how you feel about them. People can treat us like crap and we can choose to take it or not and return it or not. That doesn’t mean we don’t let them know when they hurt us, but it does mean that we view the friendship from a different perspective. I’m not friends with people necessarily because of how they feel about me, though that certainly helps. I’m friends with people because I like them, enjoy their company, and want them to be a part of my life.

Allowing friends to be where they are and giving them a safe place to be there while still gently letting them know when they are hurting us or are in need of a shift in perspective is a difficult thing, but is the role of a friend, I think. For some people, feeling like a particular friendship is “safe,” whatever that may mean for them, can be an incredibly powerful thing.

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