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On Friendships: Staying the Course with Ourselves & Others…

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“My primary relationship is with myself- all others are mirrors of it. As I learn to love myself, I automatically receive the love and appreciation that I desire from others. If I am committed to myself and to living my truth, I will attract others with equal commitment…” Shakti Gawain

Friendship begins with us

How can we be a friend to another if we categorically deny ourselves our own friendship? Call it self love, self respect, honor, commitment to our goals or knowing when to draw the line in the sand, we start all friendships with Us in the front-line. As we journey through the seasons of our lives, we come to recognize that friendships are not just about the connections we make with others but  about the commitments we make to honor ourselves.  Friendship is often viewed through the lens of  “other.”: Other people outside of us who fulfill our needs, support our dreams, engage us in our daily struggles, and march with us defending us from the machinations of enemies, imagined or real. But what about the friend we must be to ourselves? Where are we in this frame of definitions and discourse?

Consider for a moment what draws you to become friends with another person… Is it really the qualities they possess or the qualities you have that are enhanced in their company? Do you have a friend who sometimes does something that really irritates you? Yes we all do and when we stop to think about it, the irritant is something we dislike in ourselves or something we want to deny about ourselves… I wonder about this too because my friends come in all shapes and colors of  the friendship kaleidoscope; each friend represents an aspect or facet of myself that glows or dims depending on the day. At any moment, the kaleidoscope reveals its secrets and I glimpse something bright or blunt in my friends and they in me…  we talk about it, tackle it and press on; that is real friendship.

My friends are not namby pamby or fly-by-nighters; I know a few of those but they are not friends. My friends encourage me as much as they challenge me to stay true to my goals and I do same. But it all starts with me or, in the case of the collective, with Us.  As I challenge myself to be a friend to myself first and then to others, my friends champion our collective course; ‘You must be a friend to have a friend’ might be a classic cliche but it rings true in life, like it or not. I can turn to Di, Esme, Ade or any of my friends and in that moment, we re-connect with our mutual history, our quirks and the back story of what has kept our friendship going. As my friend Barb says, we show up. We have our share of flaws and we don’t ignore them. We reconvene for things that matter and then we press on.

Above all, we challenge each other to stay the course, to be fully our quirky, zany, brilliant, silly selves. That’s what friendship is about. Being a loving friend to ourselves first and then a friend to others… The rest is up to us. What are your thoughts? Have you looked in the mirror today and said: Hello my friend, I love you? 🙂

Could fate and friendship be on your side for an exotic vacation to Hawaii? Head to JustLuxe [“Trips of a Lifetime”] to enter.

What are your thoughts on friendship? I would love to hear from you: Please leave me a comment. Thank You!
Positive Motivation Tip: The seed to all friendships is within us; plant it, tend to it, water it and it will grow.

PHOTO CREDITS: Orange Summer Flowers samples via National Geographic

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

14 Comments leave one →
  1. 23/01/2011 12:33 am

    Outstanding friendship article. I believe we are all to be In love with ourselves and to Be our own best friends. If we do not do that first, then we cannot give what we do not express to others. Like the saying goes, if you were on an airplane and it was to “go down” and the oxygen masks were told to be put on, would you put one on to YOU FIRST or the baby in your lap?

  2. Bree permalink
    23/01/2011 12:42 am

    Excellent points! Friendship must start with self love.
    Often people who are possessive and hurtful think they are
    friends but because they haven’t resolved their demons,
    they can’t be grounded in friendship.
    I love this. It starts with us.

  3. 23/01/2011 9:27 am

    a friend is someone, who helps me, to accept myself more than before, who helps me, to form my identity sharper, who helps me, to trust myself, my opinions, me decisions: a friend shows me, how to accept emotions in our hearts. I’ve written about such a friend. And I hope, I was a friend to him too.

  4. 23/01/2011 12:05 pm

    Many of us were taught to think of others before ourselves…however, without “self-love”…if I don’t love, respect and truly believe that I am a person of value and worth, how can I reach out and uplift someone else? What did Michael Jackson say about the “Man in the Mirror”…it starts with the one whose image you see there.
    Beautiful post, Elizabeth!

  5. 23/01/2011 2:29 pm

    Well said Elizabeth. Self love and self respect are critical in all relationships, including friendship. The love and respect that we have for ourselves enable us to more clearly evaluate relationships and choose those that are healthy for us.

  6. 23/01/2011 4:44 pm

    The best way to discover who our true friends are is to see who shows up when you really need a friend.
    Thanks for the post!

  7. 23/01/2011 7:18 pm

    It’s funny how your “priority” of what determines a friend changes as you grow older (and wiser!) In high school, it was the quantity. I had a lot of friends (or who I thought were friends) but most of them you really wouldn’t trust with your life. It was just people that you hung out with while passing the time during the school years.
    As I get older, and people’s lives change, their job/location/circumstances change, it’s the ones who are still there for you through everything, no matter if they live right near you or cities and cities away that count as a true friend.
    I used to love that I had “so many” friends, and now I truly treasure the few best buds I have. Quality over quantity. 🙂

  8. 23/01/2011 8:11 pm

    I think friendship is about loving and accepting someone, (including yourself) warts and all!

  9. Rosa permalink
    23/01/2011 10:14 pm

    I love this post Elizabeth! It’s my favorite one so far! I totally agree that we look for qualities in friends in we like in ourselves. And that we like to have friends that make us feel good about ourselves, and bring out the qualities in us that we like! I am continually challenging myself to be a better friend, but I had never thought to include being a better friend to myself in that equation. How can I be a good friend to others if I’m not first a good friend to me? Thank you so much!

  10. 24/01/2011 12:45 pm

    Another beautiful post – thank you.

    I have a real variety of friends from all walks of life, each of whom reflects a different facet of my personality. I hadn’t consciously sought out such a varied group and it is only as I get older that I have started recognise and value what each person brings to my life.

  11. 25/01/2011 2:37 pm

    Thanks for the post – really makes you think about what friendship means and makes me go back to Deb’s post about friendship – I you have to love yourself first before you can love others.

    I have recently weeded my friend garden and I find that while it was hard – I’m really better for it.

  12. 26/01/2011 4:33 pm

    Once again, an amazing post! Again I didn’t consider the thought of being a friend to yourself first and foremost before being a friend to anyone else. Although I always hold it true that you can’t love someone until you learn to love yourself.

    As ever, thanks for the insightful thinking!


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