“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” - Thomas Aquinas
When we have a friend we are no more alone, we can share our difficult and beautiful moments, we can learn to help others and let others help us. Let’s take some time to think about how important friendship really is.
“If you have nothing in life but a good friend, you're rich.” - Michelle Kwan
In times of need, it’s pleasant and comforting to feel that we can rely on others, that we can share some of the burden on our shoulders. Without a friend, it would be really easy for us to become immobilized by all that is required of us to accomplish our dreams without help, and being crushed under the pressures of modern life. No wonder there is more depression and anxiety around the world than ever...there is a lack of “friends” in our lives.
So we need a friend...someone that loves us enough to make an effort for us. Someone that will use his time, physical health and resources in order to give us a hand when we ask for support. Usually, the first friends we have can be our parents, our family, the people close to us that help us grow up...and it would be difficult to live without them.
As much as having a friend is important, we need balance for if we always ask for help than we become a burden to others and that will lead to us to have less happiness and satisfaction in our life.
“You’ll never regret being a good friend.” - Emily Giffin
The more we understand the true gift of having a friend, the better we become at being a friend for others. To be a friend requires effort, understanding of others, knowledge of others’ struggles and needs, but more than anything...it requires first to have compassion for others.
We can only be a friend to someone when we have genuine compassion for them, when we wish for them to have less suffering in their lives. To be a good friend and help someone else, we need the motivation to do just that...to forget ourselves for a moment in order to think about the suffering that others have...and have less of a self-centered agenda.
To be a friend to others we need to be a friend to ourselves first. If we don’t understand who we are and how we function, we can’t understand others because they function pretty much the same way we do.
“We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.” - Maya Angelou
For a sense of friendship to grow, there needs to be an understanding of each other’s goals and hardships...and that understanding can only grow when we can see how much similarity there is between us and that person.
Really, the bond between friends grows with the similarity and reduces with difference. And we all know that fact, we prefer the people who are more similar to us, have the same goals, the same problems...because they can help us and we can help them...much more easily. So there really is nothing wrong in forging friendships with people who are similar to us...but in order to make better use of friendships we should go further.
This feeling of similarity with one another is directly link to how much we understand ourselves first. The more we look at our bodies, sensations, thoughts, feelings, goals, fears...the more we can see how others can have as much hard time as we do...as much suffering as we do. From this suffering that we feel in us, we can relate more easily to people around us...and from there stems the true practice of friendship.
“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” - Anton Chekhov
If having a friend and being a friend are two vital aspects of our life, it’s by growing our sense of friendship that we can develop more happiness in our lives. Here are simple exercices that we can do to grow our friendships.
Like I mentioned earlier, friendship requires compassion for it is by understanding that someone else is suffering that we can act selflessly while keeping that person in mind. To develop compassion, you can do the following:
Let’s not forget ourselves in the process. Yes it is good to think about others, but it is also good to understand ourselves better. We need to take the time to understand our sensations, thoughts and feelings if we want to understand how others feel and how we can help them. We see others the way we are, so it is good to have a clear picture of ourselves. To understand yourself better, you can do the following:
At HeadPause, we organize activities that will help you build a stronger sense of friendship for others. We have a free meditation group every week to help you practice meditation while making new friends and a mindfulness workshop to help you stay in the present moment and appreciate more the relationships that you already have.
19 February 2018