One thing that I’ve always struggled with is having people accept me. I wanted to be cool enough for the “in”table. I wanted to wear the right clothes so the popular girls would like me. In fact, looking back I lost some amazing friends because I was so focused on being “liked” by the wrong people.
What has this taught me in the long run? Who the heck am I to judge? Who am I to say that what you are doing is wrong? I look to scripture for answers. But what do I do when I can’t find the answer there? I’m not the one that makes the decisions on what is right or wrong. When you’ve done something wrong, I’m not the one to tell you how to make it right. I believe that my job is to love my neighbor as myself. I believe that we are all apart of the same body and when we hurt each other we hurt ourselves. We are all God’s children. All apart of the same race … humanity. Who am I to say that I can judge your mistakes. I look in the mirror and am reminded of all the mistakes I’ve made in my own life.
So when someone asks me “what should I do?” I sometimes have trouble answering that. Are you following your heart? Is following your heart wrong? Are you listening to your Jimmie Cricket? Can you sleep at night? If you are happy, is it costing you something? What is it costing others? Is it worth it?
Another part of my fear on sharing my real thoughts on other’s actions is that root fear of being accepted. If I share that I disagree with them, will they no longer want to talk to me about it? Will they choose not to seek my advice? If they don’t like what I have to say are they really a friend at all? Am I willing to take the risk to find out what kind of friend they really are.
I’ll tell you that some friends are worth the risk. I’ve lost a few along the way … probably more than I’ve kept when I’ve confessed my real opinion on their choices. But I promise you this … it’s not my place to judge. I can share my humble opinion because I love you … As a true friend, my job is to love you. Love you enough to tell you the truth, even then you don’t want to hear it. Love you enough to love you through the pain.
I want to be a ‘good’ friend. I pray for strength and wisdom. I pray to find the right words at the right time. I sincerely care and love my friends. I’m not sure if they all really know this or not. I suppose they do now (if they are reading this). But honestly, I really love my friends.
Mel, I’m so glad you wrote this. I’ve felt and experienced some of the same things as you, but I think in lesser degrees. Though very recently, I learned something that relates to being a “good” friend.
My best friend and I have been close for almost 20 years. We’ve been through a lot, all of it together. Recently, she shared news with me that was exciting for her. I really wanted to be excited too, but I had my reservations. After arguing with myself about whether to voice my concerns to her or just be as happy as possible, I finally decided to just tell her what was on my mind. I did it with an open heart, and tried to keep it as light as possible, while still showing I was serious. Though she somewhat brushed it off, I know she heard me. After sharing with her, I felt so much better, like a weight had been lifted, and I could truly be as happy for her as I was. The stress of being concerned was gone.
I think in order to be a “good” friend, you need to trust yourself and be true to your feelings. You might lose some along the way, but the ones you keep will always value your opinion, even if they don’t agree with it, and even if they don’t take your advice.
I’d be glad to call you a friend.
I don’t have many friends. They’ve all either betrayed me in some way, or just didn’t care enough to stick around. I think this post is good for lots of people that may be reading. once again I will say you are an awesome writer. I’d also be happy to call you a friend. Much love and hugs going your way.
I think you’d make a great friend! If I was closer I know I would definitely be your friend. I have a hard time with friends because I put my WHOLE heart in to my friendships and then when I’m hurt – I’m heartbroken.
Mel-I love this post. I think I’d rather have a handful of really good friends that I can be totally honest with (which is what I have) whether they like my opinions or not than to have a whole bunch of friends that would drop me at a dime if I said something they didn’t like. The ones that stick around are your true friends in life. I’ve found those true friends that will stick with you no matter what are far and few between; but those are also the ones you can be most honest with! They might not always like what you have to say but they accept it anyway! I may not have a lot of friends, but the ones I have I know I can count on no matter what we say to each other!
i admire your honesty and your faith. that’s something i wish i had, but i find myself being too curious and too needy for specifics, or for technical proof of something, or whatever. i love science and technology. most of the people i call friends don’t really get me anyway because you can probably guess i’m a little out there and nerdy 😀 haha
anyway. i hope to eventually be as strong as you. i know you understand this… when you need to be honest but you can’t, and you just feel so weak and lame!! and in my case, when i know i need to shape up in one way but justify or delay it with other things, and on and on. i’ve narrowed down my friends because i want to improve myself! when i would hang out with tons of kids from high school and party all the time, i would get drunk and forget things, or say dumb things, and so on. anyway not to ramble but props for being strong enough to just be yourself. i have to say, being oneself is being in rare form.
god bless you.