There is nothing on this earth more to be
Friends and family are a huge influence for most people. However, are they a positive or a negative influence?
Many people just assume friends are a good influence, are you missing any signs?
I think it is a pretty safe bet to say that everyone has one, or more, of those people in their lives who you would just prefer not to be around. If it is a crazy aunt that you only see at family functions once in a while, it is probably not a problem, you can deal with that. But if it is a person that you are around most of the time, it can change your life in a very negative way to be around that person.
What about the people who seem to act like they enjoy being with you, but they are constantly telling you how to run your life, or how much better they are than you will ever be. What about the ones that lie to you, or the ones that talk about things that are of no interest to you, and never ask about you and your interests. Are those friends?
In my opinion no, they are not friends.
Wikipedia says: Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association. (go to full definition)
It seems to me from the many years that I have been a spiritual coach that somewhere in our society we have forgotten that part of the definition of friendship that says MUTUAL affection between two or more people. I have never worked with someone who is not holding on to people in their live that are not good for them. Most people have many people, including family members who are destructive to varying degrees in their life.
A friend should be someone who cares about you and is there for you when you are in a tough spot. A friend has common interests and respects you for your interests and passions, they do not put you down if you have different opinions. A friend is someone who you can’t wait to see again, and you hope your time together lasts forever. You would eagerly do anything for your friend because you know that they would eagerly do the same for you, without even being asked.
If you have people in your life that do not fall into the description above then there is a good chance that you are in a lopsided relationship with that person.
In many friendships one of the persons gives almost always and everything, while the other one takes what is being given. That is a great deal for the taker, but a horrible deal for the giver. In a lot of relationships one overpowers the other, which can happen in many ways. Often too, one thinks they are better than the other so they swoop in to save their friends “poor soul”. It is commonplace that in a lopsided relationship one is feeling uncomfortable, yet they usually don’t know why, while the other is feeling fine and like they are doing everything they can to take care of their friend.
We could list things that create lopsided relationships for many more pages, but the point is that you are probably in one or more, especially if you came from a childhood with parents who were not engaged or involved with your young life.
It’s time to love yourself so that others can love you too.
While it may seem like an odd concept that you first must love yourself before you can experience love to its fullest, it is a true statement and a main spiritual principle. That principle is:
You can’t love anyone or anything any more than you love yourself.
It does however make sense once you start thinking about it with an open mind and heart. Often time in relationships we want the person to want us or need us. It is a basic human need to be needed. But we have usually made it that we must be needed at the expense or our own self-esteem and self-worth.
One client a few years back had a friend that she called her best friend, yet that person was alway chastising her and telling her how stupid she was for not doing things exactly as she thought they should be done. When I asked her to tell me about the last time that the client had a great time and enjoyed her time spent with the friend so couldn’t come up with an answer. After several minutes of silence she said that its a different kind of relationship, its not about having fun together its about spending time together because they had been friends doing it this way for 16 years. After that discussion the client distanced herself from that person, and it was only a couple of weeks before she reported back that she felt so much better about herself, but she didn’t know why. When I pointed out that her “destructive friend” had not been around to tear her down, she cried for all the time that she had subjected herself to abuse in the name of friendship.
That women turned her whole life around very quickly after removing that so-called friend from her friends list. It was only about two months later that she got her dream job and shortly after that met the man that she married and had a wonderful baby boy with. None of those things would have ever happened if she had not pulled herself away from the anchor that kept pushing her to the bottom of the ocean, emotionally at least.
It is so important the we as individuals decide what our boundaries are and we follow them. For most people when asked if they would allow someone to tell them that they are not a productive member of society and can’t manage their own life – they would say no. Yet, many of those same people take exactly that kind of abuse from people they know. And what’s worse they either don’t recognize it or they justify the actions of the abuser.
Create your boundaries
First you need to know what you want from a relationship with a friend. It is probably easiest to think about your own feelings and experiences and how you would handle things with a friend. You would want that same sort of thing back in return, right? That is fair, and expected. So write those things down. As an example, if a friend had an issue in their family and asked you to go with them to visit their family, would you go as moral support, of course you would. And you would want that friend to do the same for you. If you were looking for a new job, you would want that friend to encourage you and give you positive, supporting advice, and you would want the same from them. If you didn’t agree with something that your friend decided to do, would you call her nasty names and speak disrespectfully, or would you instead give your thoughts gently and with respect, and then support them in whichever way they decided to go. That is exactly what you should expect coming back to you from your friends.
Once you have your list of your boundaries and expectations of yourself in a friendship, you also have your list of the things you want to receive from a friendship. That is what makes a friendship a MUTUAL relationship.
For whatever reason each and every one of us have sold ourselves out to abusive people because we thought we would gain something from that relationship, that usually never appears. It doesn’t matter if the person who damages your self-esteem is an acquaintance, a long-time friend or a family member, when they cross the line they are not safe to be around and you need to have the self-respect and self-love to avoid them.
When you make decisions like that you will see amazing things start to happen, you will find joyful moments where once there were none, you will feel peace in your heart. Respecting yourself and teaching people how you expect to be treated by demonstrating to them how you respect and treat them will not only change you, it will change them too.
Be close to those who offer an even, fair exchange in the relationship, and distance yourself from those who take and abuse. Your are worth it! You may not know it right now, but you will as soon as the abuse is out of your life.
By: Wendy Mae, Ph.D.
President, Academy of Spirit, Inc.
The author of all blog posts on this page is Wendy Mae, Ph.D.
Academy of Spirit
PO Box 82854
Kenmore, WA 98028 USA
AcademyofSpirit (at) gmail.com
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