Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Roses and Fish
"“Put a rose in a sack of fish and soon the rose will start to stink too. Be careful of the company you keep.” – The 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje
I love this quote! Are you the friend who is the rose being the fragrance of the earth or are you the rotten fish? Are your friends really your friends? Are they supporting and enhancing your life or are they teaching you to think and behave in darker ways that you never thought you would?
The company you keep is so important. They will change you in more ways than you know. Eventually, and inadvertently, you will mimic their behavior, words, and even physical gestures. We spend hours online with friends, on the phone, face to face and in professional circles with friends who indirectly influence us. Your friends are the most subversive influential group of people in your life next to the people who raised you (i.e. parents) and perhaps your romantic life partner. This is why we have to watch the company we keep.
I find friendships to be miraculously healing on many levels. I have mutually agreeable relationships with friends where we can come to each other in times of amazing joy, deep sorrow, for fun, to bounce ideas around and extend copious amounts of infiniate grace to one another. In my friendships, we have the freedom to hold each other accountable..and sometimes very directly at times. For those of you who are my friends, I want to thank you for having the relationship we have with one another. I have friends in which we share a natural sister and brother like connection with on a soul level and I am blessed with friends of mine who are like family as well.
In life, however, we all have choices. And in these choices we have friends who we may outgrow or cut out of our lives when we feel they are no longer an emotionally healthy choice for us to continue down a relationship path. I am a huge advocate for healthy relationships in all aspects of emotionally living well and with meaningfulness. I extend grace to all my friends past and present. I know people who are VERY unhealthy, some who even are emotionally dangerous for me, some who are diagnosible crazy who I still really care about --- but you won't catch me buddying up to them and being close friends with them at all anymore..
A healthy relationship should bring more happiness than stress into your life. Every relationship will have stress at times, but you want to prevent prolonged mental stress on either member of the relationship. This tension is unhealthy for both members and may lead to problems in other areas of your life.
Here's a life story I want to share with you that taught me a very valuable life lesson.
Back at the end of 2007, I had a sister like connection with someone I respected, trusted and even admired. We had many things in common and were able to spend a considerable amount of time together under the same roof. We got to know each other's quirks, dreams, desires and those little things that both annoyed us...but we were ok with pushing past it. That relationship blew up and the very last day that I saw her, she exploded on me in a rage and told me I was a 'fraud and "a liar" and all sorts of other things that really left me wondering what I did to deserve that kind of treatment.
That experience was one of the most valuable learning experiences I have had in my life.
You know why???
Because she was right! In MANY ways but not in ALL ways.
I was transparent to her and she was transparent to me. She and I saw through each other's pain (and Bullcrap!) so well that we ran each other off as friends. I can't say that she was 100% correct ...but I can say about 90% of it was the truth coming from her perception of me. She and I both hurled insults at each other saying to one another we were both crazy, insane, emotionally unwell and a litany of other terminology that is best saved for a therapist's couch! I tried to change her mind, she tried to change mine. It got worse...we parted company to never speak again because of our inability to take what we were saying into consideration for each other.
The bottom line is: she made me realize those aspects were in my character more than I thought they were and I couldn't admit it!
It took a few years to dig down deeper into myself to evaluate her opinion of me...which was truth to a large extent. I questioned myself, "Could she be right about me and her perspective of me". I finally got myself together enough to own those aspects and emotionally grow and move forward: leaving emotional unwellness in my past. It's like I was a snake that shed an old skin. I left that old nasty skin behind for something more healthy!
Everytime we have a friend in our life who has a certain perspective about us, that is hard to take (especially when they tell us such things and then disappear out of our lives forever in anger).
I look at it, though, as a great opportunity to become introspective about ourselves and question our reality if what that other person is saying is really true. Practicing personal emotional accountability and behaving in an emotionally mature fashion is a key to living authentically.
The "accused" (for lack of a better term) is wasting their time if they try to change their accusers mind! This person who has a certain opinion of you has an emotional right to feel that way!
People seem to forget that they cannot control people, places, or things. The only thing a person can do and control from that point onward is themselves: concentrating on self improvement is the best action plan going forward!
I understand what it's like to be on the other end of the stick when a person says I am "bad", "awful", "horrible" and a "fraud". I have been on the receiving end of all these messages but I deal with it differently than I used to in my past.
The first question I ask myself after my hurt feelings subside is: "is there truth to what this person believes about me". Second, I then seek higher awareness of myself with keen intent to change it if their assumptions are even the slightest bit valid.
If an individuals has truth in our own hearts and can back it up with facts, it doesn't matter what our friends think about a situation. BUT if a person is accused of something, I encourage them to give it some thought: NO MATTER WHAT. It might help us become better people in the long run.
With all this talk about unhealthy friendship and introspection on their opinions, the natural reaction is not wanting to give up on your friends, right? Good. That is normal. It shows you have a heart.
Only you can decide if these people are worth adopting their habits, their slang, their language or the way they gossip about other people. It's up to you if you want to adapt and adopt their positive outlook, grace and other positives that make your life better.
Or ~~~ you can sit down quietly and dig into yourself with intent for more insight into living emotionally well, own up to the reality they may be speaking truth and go on living a better life by gaining self awareness.
Sometimes sacrficing friends or those friends who leave you for what you feel is "no apparent reason" can be a heartbreaker...but on the other hand, in many cases I see it as a blessing in disguise.
These views are wholly the views of the author of this blog and are not meant to intentionally harm or offend those who may miss the message.