Friendships come in many shapes and sizes, are short or long, continuous, start and stop and resume. The most important friendship is the one least acknowledged and often the hardest to achieve and maintain. Why?
Important friendships are rare.
Recently I saw a call for articles on the topic of “Who changed your life the most?” I did a quick scan and the first person that came to mind was my good friend who died a year ago.
When my friend died she gave me a gift that changed my life Read More
Then I thought of others who have impacted my life in one way or another.
Some people stand out, without a doubt, even where we did not have a friendship as such. Other people have done their bit and their separate influences have merged into a patchwork of wisdom, lessons, dos and don’ts.
But what does ‘changing your life’ mean? I had immediately thought of an important friendship that has / had a positive influence on my life – the helper, facilitator and role model. But what about more challenging, less helpful and more destructive influences? I don’t know about you, but I can think of quite a few.
The most important friendship of all.
Eventually one person came to mind, who has influenced me the most, helped change my life and ensured that I am still here today. It is the single most important friendship in my life.
The reason why I did not think of them first, is probably because it is a friendship that has been difficult for me to allow and maintain.
An important friendship makes you look at yourself and also question yourself.
And there were times, when I did not want that, when I was afraid of the truth. And that’s then I withdrew from this, my most important friendship of all.
I met this person many, many years ago. Sometimes they appear so ancient, as if they have been there forever.
While our paths crossed before, I first took real notice of them in my teens: the time in our lives, when we start to figure out things for ourselves.
I was intrigued. I could not quite understand everything they suggested.
But there were times of inspiration and it made me explore nature and my own creativity. There was hope and there were possibilities.
Some of what this person suggested got me into trouble, mostly with my parents, because I started challenging them.
The person encouraged me to find connections in literature and music. We had many conversations and I wrote many letters.
As I grew up, we lost touch.
To be precise – I lost touch; too busy with studying, working, earning a living, new friends, new joys and new pains.
In all this, there were moments when I missed my friend. But somehow I never felt I could reach out. My life was too different. The friendship would have been incompatible and challenged too much, even the stuff that I knew was not good in the long run – like relationships and jobs. But what else was there?
My friend could have helped me get clarity, but I felt I would not have had the strength and guts to do something about it all.
Eventually, change happened, I made it happen … gently, gently, one foot before the next and two steps back. But there was no going back for good.
Then I felt ready to meet my old friend, reconnect, look them in the eye and open my mind and heart to their love and wisdom. And they welcomed me back with open arms.
Since then our friendship has grown and so have I. The most valuable gift of all from this most important friendship of all is that I have learnt to trust myself and like myself.
So, when thinking about who changed my life, it took me while to think of this friend, even though the answer had been staring me in the face. Literally.
Some days I smile at her, some days I thank her, on too few days do I mouth “I love you” – when I look at her – my self.
Featured image courtesy of silviarita | Published by Sivana Spirit
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This is one of my favorite of all your blogs, Karin.
Much to consider. Self love is not self-ish, or narcissism, but it’s alive in those who exude confidence, have secure boundaries, know when yes or no is appropriate, and feel happy. We cannot always love ourselves. It’s a grand task requiring maturity. However it reminded me of “holding my own hand” in a blog you did not long ago. Thank you. You remind us that liking ones self, forgiving ones self, and even enjoying ones own company makes us better friends, lovers, relatives, and world citizens.
Thank you for reading and your kind comments, Ilene. As always, very much appreciated. Warmest. Karin
This is the first time I2ll fallow your text and paper, because I believe that sharing information and friendship being forgotten between people. And also philospy and some beliefs must be change and devolope in system because if the world changes and then ideas must develope and new forms must be developed….
Thank you. Best wishes. Karin
Yes to so much of what you are sharing here Karin – I especially love the way you introduce your ‘friend’, yourself with whom you had lost touch through being so busy with your life, and not recognising the wisdom of the inner self. I recognise that too. What I found when I worked as a counsellor [now retired] was that I have had relatively few times in my life where I have felt hopeless – yes many isolated moments, but still enough to know what it feels like to believe that life is going to keep throwing the worst at me. So I can empathise with my fellows who have these feelings. I have used tools to turn my perspective around and count my blessings, deciding instead to look for the silver linings, and how often I have discovered them…hiding just under those clouds! But how to share this with someone who has not experienced much positivity. That is the challenge. My own therapist keeps affirming me, even where I think I don’t need so much affirmation. But over time it piles up and I hear his words in my mind just when I need them, and soon they become my own.Thank you Karin for giving me the opportunity to express this! xx
Dear Christine, thanks so much for reading my article and taking the time to respond in such detail. Being affirmed by others and counting our blessings, I think that’s all very important. It helps build trust – in ourselves and our ability to cope with the darker moments in life. My best wishes for you. Karin