Friends of value are not easy to come by. In order to have them in your life you need to value your own life.
Nowadays, since I live my life by constantly reflecting on my actions in order to improve, my first reaction is to always turn inward to see the part I played in unfortunate outcomes.After becoming seriously ill, I decided my only path to true healing and recovery was to face hard truths about my life. If I wanted to develop lasting friendships on the new path I was blazing, I had to look at why certain patterns kept reoccurring.
The most valuable gift you can receive is an honest friend.
– Stephen Richards
Here are a few priceless lessons I learned about self-acceptance and creating friends of value:
Be your own best friend first
When I was younger, my mother often said that, in order to make friends, I must be my own friend first. Over time, I came to understand you cannot create valuable friendships with others if you are not willing to be your own best friend.
We cannot expect from others what we are not willing to accept (or expect) from ourselves since it is only by facing our vulnerabilities that we become stronger. Whenever a person you thought was your friend disappears without a word, look within first. The only person you have control over is you, take the time to delve deeper; to seek the answers and follow your truth wherever it takes you.
Trust your instincts, know the signs
After friendships disappeared, I frequently obsessed over the reasons why. How could I let it happen again? Why did I let it get so far? Why did I ignore the signs? Nowadays, this pattern is changing. Bit by bit, I am beginning to reclaim my power by realizing I am enough. And by doing so, I am finally trusting my intuition and nipping troublesome friendship issues in the bud.
On the other hand, whenever I skedaddled from a friendship without notice, I constantly felt a heavy burden. Yet I remained unavailable, never sharing my frustration. Looking back, I realize my behavior was unacceptable because, no matter the situation, a person you once called ‘friend’ deserves better treatment than a disappearing act.
Today, finding myself in a better place, I am more capable of bringing closure to uncomfortable situations. If the situation has not escalated beyond repair, it is better to spend time thinking about better, and healthier ways to solve problems that arise with friends. However, if the relationship has grown to be too toxic, it is important to acknowledge that and to take the conscious decision to walk away. If this is the option you must choose, don’t beat yourself up–be gentle with yourself–everyone will go through it at one point in life.
Be authentic and claim your drama
In daily life, I am a highly functioning individual, therefore my internal angst goes unnoticed by the casual observer. However, my life has never been free of drama; drama is drawn to me like lint to a sweater.
A product of my environment, I was born into and raised under domestic violence. As a result, my life was shattered from the start. Consequently, I careened through life broken–feeling ashamed and anxious about everything. Nevertheless, the swirl of drama is easily detectable by those who come closer and has cost me dearly.
One long-gone acquaintance said her husband wondered why my life was so drama-prone. It was sentiments like this, often more unspoken than spoken, which caused me to run – to hide in shame and panic. I felt embarrassed by the constant flow of ‘heavy’, which always streamed from my life.
Many times, I walked away from friendships because I felt my life carried too much weight. It is only now, after much self-analysis, that I have claimed my drama-filled life. By doing so, at the age of 54, I am beginning to live a more peaceful and authentic life.
Growth requires that we are honest with ourselves. It is best to be genuine, brutally honest with yourself and unashamed about your drama. Claim it. Own it. Appreciate the valuable lessons and opportunities it offers on your journey to wholeness while working to annihilate it at the root.
Many of us remain in negative, holding patterns because we are too afraid to claim our dysfunctions or to see their value as we evolve into whole, balanced beings. When we shy away from the parts of us that are not shiny and bright we do ourselves a disservice. Progress to good, emotional health stymies if we do not shake out the annoying little dust balls hidden deep in our lives.
Take time to get to know you
These priceless takeaways are helping me slowly move forward on the path to inner healing and wholeness. Each one of them was difficult to share, but in order to move forward I have to remove the mask. Taking the time to know who I truly am is unearthing new discoveries and I am learning new and interesting things about myself.
The past couple of years have enlightened me. I have learned to practice vigilance and discernment as I keep baby-stepping my way to whole inner health and balance. Since drama is still a huge part of my life I tend to be more cautious about letting people in.
Choosing to face my drama-truth does not make it suddenly disappear; however, like a daily, targeted exercise routine, it is strengthening my core. Of course, I know those who remain in my life are often overwhelmed by the amount of incomings I repeatedly face, but I assume if they are still here, they must sincerely care.
Most importantly, I am better at stepping back and taking time out instead of choosing to walk away in shame or anxiety. By understanding myself better I am becoming my own best friend. Finally, I am creating the required, inner foundation necessary for attracting friends of value.