I’m writing this on International Friendship Day. It has me thinking of past friends, some gone by mutual consent, some, as the wonderful Claudia Shear put it, are ‘location specific’, and some died too young. The rest still bring me laughs, tears, and meaningful moments either with posts, texts, emails, or on a rare visit.
I have hurt friends in the past. I wasn’t always trustworthy. I wasn’t always able to set limits until it was too late. Or I just didn’t understand when to speak and when to keep quiet. I have run into previous friends who I must have upset because, though I have been happy to see them, they don’t share that sentiment. I may not know the specifics of their interpretation of events, but I recall not really understanding how to relate to others.
However, the friends who stuck by me, the ones who forgave me, or who didn’t feel upset by my actions taught me so much about friendship. They taught me about the imperfect, human connectedness that is key when relating to others. They taught me to appreciate the differences and treasure what we share in common. I’ve learned about new musical artists. Books have been exchanged, topics seriously discussed. There’s been a lot of theater and film, and meals shared.
Friendship is a gift. Sometimes I squandered that gift. Not on purpose, but by not knowing my value, thus not appreciating that my actions impacted others. Nevertheless, I now value those gifts from the past and in the present. I’ve internalized each and every one with whom I’ve shared an alliance. I have learned from great generosity of spirit. I’ve enjoyed shared belly laughs, and poignant moments. Most importantly, my friends have taught me, and continue to teach me the importance of seeing beyond our imperfections. I have learned to celebrate happy times with friends. And my friends have comforted me when things have been tough. I am so grateful as I continue to learn and grow thanks to dear friends.
- Reach out to an old friend. If you can get together, great. If not, send a note.
- Send a cartoon or meme with a friend. Nothing like a shared laugh.
- For times when you need more energy, take a few breaths through your nose, then quicken those breaths. Repeat three times, First take regular breaths through your nostrils, then quicken the breaths for about 3 to 5 inhales & exhales. Stop if you get lightheaded. Best to do this sitting.