I can’t imagine my life without my friends. Moreover, I wouldn’t want to. Just knowing there are people out there who can make me smile, who know my heart, who are there to listen, and who love me unconditionally is more comforting than I can possibly explain. I’ve had such unique experiences with so many people in my life, some that even date back to when I was living in Cincinnati. In recent conversations with a few friends, I started thinking back to how long I’ve known them and in many cases it was longer than we had realized. In all my years, the one thing I’ve learned is that in order to have good friends you have to be a good friend first. So what does it mean to me to be a friend? To me, I think of the four L’s.
This concept is not an easy one for many people as they cannot do the same for themselves. In some cases, it takes someone showing you unconditional love before you can truly understand it. To be able to be yourself, your whole self, and know that your relationship with another person will not end regardless of what mistakes you may make can be a very cathartic feeling. It’s easy to judge another person. Unless you have lived your life free from mistakes, what you tend to learn is that it may be easy to dish out the judgments, but it’s not so easy to take them when they’re aimed back at you.
When most people engage in conversations they tend to do the same thing. Instead of really hearing what someone is saying, they instead only pay attention to the first few words of what was spoken. This in turn causes them to begin thinking of what they are going to say in response, followed by them doing so. To be a good friend you really have to learn to take notice of what is said and in some cases what isn’t said. Being present in the conversation is vital. Learning to just simply shut up can do wonders for a relationship especially when it is obvious the other person just needs to be heard without interruption.
Imagine your life for one moment without joy, pleasure, or even a simple smile. It’s not really something I’d like to envision. I thoroughly enjoy making others happy. I won’t say I’m always a “glass is half full” kind of gal as everyone can have a bad day from time to time, but I’d like to think that more often than not I am. Laughing with someone is such a great way to show a person that they are accepted and loved. More importantly, learning to laugh at yourself can go a long way to make others feel at ease.
Learning to forgive
Mistakes are a part of life. Show me a person who has not messed up at one point or another and I will show you someone who is still in diapers. The most selfless thing you can do for a friend is to offer them forgiveness. The act of forgiving goes along with loving someone unconditionally. You cannot have one without the other.
Remember that everyone is fighting some sort of battle, and for many, they may feel like they are fighting it alone. Knowing that there are allies that will be there to stand by them in their moments of need can make the difference between winning and losing. Friends may come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Whatever the case is for each person I’ve met throughout my life thus far, I know that I am better person for knowing each of you. I always learn a little more about myself in the process of getting to know someone, and I am truly grateful for each of these lessons as it gives me a little more ammo to help me fight my battles.