Our identity as individuals is created by so many things. Friends are important, but as we grow older, or at any stage of our lives we might find that making friends is not so easy. It is a risk. What if you invest a bunch of time in the wrong person? Or what if your so-called friend ends up taking advantage of you? This happens. And it is difficult to understand or to come to terms with. It is difficult to forgive someone and then move on and at that point, are they still your friend? Some of my most painful memories in my life are the result of a friend taking advantage of me. And to some extent, when we rely on another, we are opening ourselves up to a world of disappointment, but I think that part of what I have learned through this process is to rely on myself, but share my flame with others. As one great friend once said, “the only reason I was let down is because I let myself be let down”. And for perspective, another friend recently told me that his dad taught him that when someone takes advantage of you, or you lose some money, or something is taken from you, you should be grateful that they didn’t take twice as much.
I think there is a flaw with the way I was taught about how to think of friends and friendship. Not that the people that taught me were wrong. It is a tricky subject. If we were to ask ten people, “What does friendship mean to you?”, we would more than likely get ten different answers. One of the benefits of relationships that foster connection is mental health and cognitive health. In Sanjay Gupta’s book “Keep Sharp” a book on preventing cognitive decline, he lists connecting with others as one of main activities to be done everyday as a means of keeping the mind sharp. So, even though it is tricky… it is important.
My takeaway is this, instead of thinking of a friendship as a basket that you can put all of your eggs into, we can look at it like a tribe of people that we are comfortable with. Comfortable enough to let our guard down. The people that we can be ourselves with, and that appreciate us for who we are, flaws and all. Because it is in this environment, that we can bring our gifts to the table and make peculiar contributions.
Definition of peculiar
characteristic of only one person, group, or thing : DISTINCTIVE
different from the usual or normal
Last weekend, I got to spend some time with my friends/tribe… and they really liked the Boo Cha! - Cheers!