Kalin Art & Spirit

A Friend

A Friend is someone we like and want to share with,
someone who believes in us and holds us accountable to be our best selves,
someone who lets us know we matter to them,
someone who enriches us, makes us joyful
and lets us know we are not alone.
2011@all rights reserved

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(with apologies for such ‘ltwt fluff’ to my friend, Raeanne) lol
I recently read a book by Dr. Jan Yager, who spoke of the fact that relationships are always in flux.
(I said f-l-u-x, flux). She called this book, “Friendshifts”.
People’s emotions change day to day and their priorities change over time, so it’s not surprising that the interplay between people fluctuates.

Sometimes a long-time friend will move away – leaving us grieving. What we need to do is be more aware of the present and appreciate the time we share with each other. We need to know that shared time is sacred and realize thatit won’t be exactly the same tomorrow! Then, we have to learn to be okay with that.

Sometimes a good friend will get married or have a child, and the relationship changes due to their obligations. It feels like abandonment, but that’s a selfish point of view. You gotta bless them on their journey and allow them to go their way. Dr. Yager advises us to call them to keep in touch if we can, but even if you don’t stay in touch, you can tell them how much you’ve appreciated their friendship, if you notice it’s lapsed. This is when you have to be flexible enough to let them go.
If they decide they still want to make time for you in their life, cherish them with open arms and a grateful heart.

Sometimes a friend will get a different job or have a different schedule and just won’t have the time for you they used to. We shouldn’t feel neglected, but learn to adjust to their ‘friendship style’ and make ‘dates’ to see them on a regular basis; because when friendships are not fed, they starve to death.

Sometimes things just change between two people, and neither meaning to, fall away from your inner circle of friendship. I think it’s best to address this honestly. It gives each person a sense of redirection or closure. Knowing where you stand with a friend is important. Both people can move back into their own sense of self easier knowing the parameters of their relationship.

Life happens. Feelings may change. People leave us. Sometimes they ‘outgrow’ us or we them. We have to be strong enough inwardly to not let it shake our world when others forsake or forget us.
Which is easier said than done! When it comes down to it, we die alone, and need to be okay with our own company first, before we look to others.
I’ve told my kids that they have to be able to live on their own before they even consider living with someone else. They know how to cook, clean and do laundry, pay bills and be self sufficient. It’s only when they are complete in themselves that they’ll have a chance at healthy relationships and know if it serves their highest good.

I realized just last winter when I was discussing ‘Friendship’ with a small group at church, that I still have strong attachments to people I knew a long time ago and may never see again!
Others told of how they had let friendships slide or broken them off altogether. They were perfectly fine with forgetting people and moving on. I was stunned! I’ve only broken up with a friend or companion a rare couple of times. Even old boyfriends have their ‘guest room’ in my heart.  As long as they weren’t abusive, I’ve maintained connections in most of my previous relationships. I suppose I am the most ‘loyal’, or sentimental, friend I know!

Others know better than me how to ‘disengage’ their connections this way. They say it drains personal energy to leave these attachments open. I tend to keep the link open, just a bit, in hope that the connection might be re-established. I find that there is nothing sweeter than reconnecting with old friends, even if it’s been years. It won’t be exactly the same, but it’s usually satisfying when we can hold and honor the memory of an old friendship.

Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love blog says something that’s important to keep in mind as well~
“From the beginning of any relationships I start, that I want to acknowledge my own imperfection as well as the imperfection of the other person and consciously choose to enter into a relationship not seeking perfection, but rather loving each others imperfections. And instead of looking to the other person to meet all our needs perfectly, to take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on The Universe.” [Trust the flow of life in our higher selves]
I thought that was a nice sentiment, because projecting “perfection” onto people is not only unfair, it’s impossible to measure up to. We need to give each other the benefit of the doubt, lots of ‘wiggle room’ and keep a sense of humor with our friends. It’s the only way to make things last~ even if they do shift.
Namaste and may your friendships be healthy, strong and long lasting originally published July 23, 2011

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