Everyday we are bombarded by song lyrics, television sitcoms, movies, commercials, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and the like that I am convinced contribute to the anesthetization of our ability to truly connect with another human being on an organic level. This prompted me to examine what organic friendship means to me.
Once upon a time, we would have died for loyalty of friendship, honor, country, religion, code of ethics. Today, we surround ourselves, and prime our children, with the bandy of sycophants and fair weather friends. Today, we are so alienated from the truth within ourselves that we disband with anyone who just might mirror the dark shadow of what we have deeply buried, sometimes unconsciously for fear of acknowledging its existence and doing something about it.
I used to scoff at my elders who always started a sentence or conversation with ‘back in my day’, or ‘in our time’, or the other dreaded, ‘when I was your age’ prelude. Now, in my not so older years, I find myself beginning my sentences, thoughts, and feelings with the same.
When did we get away from friends who told us the truth even though we might not want to hear it at the time? When did we get away from seeking out those who represented substance and maturity and a quality way of living? When did we morph into a instant gratification culture discarding quality friends at a whim just because they have a difference of opinion, or share with us something we don’t like or want to hear? When did we get away from teaching our children the effects of their actions and allowing them the blessing of suffering the consequences of their bad actions and choices?
How did we end up only wanting to be around those who make us ‘feel’ good? Nevermind whether they have our best interest at heart, or truly do the hard work of supporting us and helping us to grow into stronger, wiser, more disciplined beings. We just want to feel good. All the time. But we’re not feeling good. And the pain that is caused from not wanting and seeking the naked truth doesn’t seem to be enough to focus and refine our vision.
I recently had a personal revelation. What was revealed to me, I could hardly stand to see. I’ve always prided myself on not judging others because no one knows what they’ve been through and what kind of work they’ve had to do to get where they are today. A recent interpersonal experience exposed how decidedly blind I was to to specific realities I did not want to see and how adamant my version of who I thought they should be crippled my ability to enjoy the reality of who they ACTUALLY were and vice versa.
Now I’m a pretty pragmatic person, so it started me to thinking. We all play a dance in our friendships and relationships (career, school, family, romantic). When one person changes the station or the script that has been played for so long, it can cause a ripple effect. It then causes us to pay attention. All relationships change, transition, end, and begin. It is up to each one of us to decide whether we are up to the challenge.
It is said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. None of us wants to admit that someone we’ve invested in emotionally, financially, or psychologically, may have served their purpose in our lives, and us in theirs, and that it may be time to let go. Nor are some of us willing to change with the inevitable tide called life to transition the relationship to a different dynamic. Instead, we fight reality, blind to the damage and wreckage we are creating by denying the reality of our fellow brother or sister because they no longer subscribe to the script or role they’ve played in our lives.
How willing am I to put aside ego to embrace a new journey with an old friend? How willing are you? Are you so stuck in what used to be to appreciate what can be? Or are you so stuck on being right that everyone loses?
I had a wake up call. While I’m by no means perfect, I tend to forget, like many of us, that no one else is like me. We are all decidedly and divinely unique.
When we have a discussion with a stranger that doesn’t agree with us or align with our ideals, we are quick to admit that they are who they are, and are different from us. However, the closer people are to us, the less tolerant we become about who they are as separate from us. Why is that? Why do we find it difficult to accept our friends as they are instead of who we would like them to be?
We ALL do it. Don’t pretend it’s just me. It’s these roles, scripts, and expectations that sometimes have us missing out on incredible friendships – old and new. Yes, it’s great to have friends with whom we appear to have a lot in common, but what about those that don’t APPEAR to have as much in common. Isn’t that what getting to know people is all about, or is it that once we know a FEW things, we now convince ourselves, we know EVERYTHING. What a narrow and limiting life.
I’m challenging myself to look at all of my relationships and evaluate whether I am free to be myself, or whether I play a role expected of me, and if I change the script would I lose a ‘friend’. This is the mark of developing organic friendships and relationships that last the test of time in my opinion.
Is it really any wonder why people are feeling more and more alone surrounded by “networks” of “friends”?
Who are you to those around you (being decidedly dangerous and destructive is not an option)? If you can’t be you, then what do you really have?
Life is too short, start being an organic friend and maybe you’ll earn one in return.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.