The need of deep friendship between people, is an urgent need, one that has always been with human beings, as far back as historians can reach in their accounts of human life on this planet.
More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher wrote: “What is friendship? A single soul dwelling in two bodies”
In Apocrypha: Ecclesiastes 6:16 we find: “A faithful friend is the medicine of life”. Better than medicine, really. Medicine is for those already ill; friendship is basically for the well to enjoy, a joy to keep them well throughout their lifetime.
Life without friendship is like cereal without milk; there can be no sense of completion. Real friendship is subtle, trusting interrelationship whose worth is too great to be measured.
In the word of America’s first President, George Washington, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”
Another great President, Thomas Jefferson, once compared friendship to wine. Yes like good wine, friendship can give you a lift. Like wine, it lasts. Inclement conditions do not destroy it.
And as Jefferson points out, it is “restorative”; it renews a person wrestling with life’s problems, refreshing him so that, given a good night’s sleep, he can call once again upon his resources to go toward the battle of life.
It is sad that many of us become disappointed in the results of friendship that instead of enriching us they leave us wounded, causing us to think less of others and more of ourselves. We seldom think that perhaps we have been at fault. It usually seems to be the other person.
Friendship is not what we take from others, but what we give to others, not so much in material gifts as the gifts of compassion, sincerity, and understanding. It is instilling courage in someone else. It is the transfer of some of our self-respect to others. It is sharing of our confidence in ourselves with others. It is the gift of what we are to others.
“Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them…your smile, your hope, and your courage.” ~ Doe Zantamata
We must remember others, meeting them more than half way, giving the best that we are. Only in this way will we be entitled to receive friendship in return.
We must constantly work at repairing our friendship for others. And we must constantly work at repairing our friendship for ourselves. Because to be friendly to others we must be friendly to ourselves. We must always be ready to repair the damage which our failures inflict upon our self-image. We must rise above these failures to maintain our self-respect, which is basic to our respect for others.
“Love yourself first in order to endlessly love others.” ~ Debasish Mridha
Only then our friendship have true value. Only then can it be humble, free of boasting. Only when we respect ourselves can we feel the gift of humility, to others and to ourselves.
If you know the art of friendship, you stay alive. You put a smile of contentment on your self-image. You look forward, not backward. Every day is a new day in which you focus on life. You concentrate on your assets for the new day, refusing to let fear of failure side-track you.
You have foresight. You are a part of human family; you become what you are in relation to others. You expand in your capacity for love in a vast communal sense which incorporate the acceptance of human fallibility. You understand that your neighbour can make errors that distort his perspective; he can mistakenly feel that you are his enemy, not his friend. You forgive.
“It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.” ~ Steve Maraboli
The whole world is looking for friendship. Everyone seeks forgiveness as ardently as he seeks food and shelter. Yet often we are ashamed to forgive as we are ashamed to make mistake, as if it were a terrible weakness to make mistake or forgive. But this shame destroys us, damages us. It is unhealthy to be ashamed of error in yourself and stubborn not to forgive error in someone else.
The capacity to forgive should be as great as the capacity to survive because you cannot attain true stature in living unless you make as much as habit of forgiving as of eating.
To really get alone with people requires the compassion of forgiveness. To err is human loss; to forgive is human achievement. But, first you must forgive yourself so that you can accept yourself as a human being, as somebody with dignity.
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr