The Loss and Gain of Friendships

We all experience the loss of friends and changes in our relationships. It may be our decision, the other person’s, jointly decided or something thrust upon us by life. The loss may have come from something negative like jealousy, ill-will, anger or fear. It may have come from a decision based on what seemed best for all concerned. It may have been the natural outcome of something that life brought into the arena. Regardless, we can practise these principles of healing and growth:

  1. If we have done something regrettable then we must try to fix it up as best we can. We may be able to correct the mistake or we may not be able to. However, the intention to right a wrong carries substantial weight. What we did may not have been necessarily wrong in the situation, however, perhaps with time and a different understanding we can see that it would have been better to do things differently. It’s called growth. If we are humble and honest enough to admit to mistakes then our ability to improve our life will be far greater than the average person.
  2. If the other person has done something regrettable then as soon as we can manage it, we must try to forgive them. We all get hurt. It’s an inescapable part of life. However, much of that hurt comes from other people’s problems and the way they are accustomed to dealing with them. Knowing that takes a lot of the personal sting out of it. Don’t hate people even when they hate you. There is enough hatred in the world. Hate is a great burden to the soul which harbours it. A person who has a good intention even if others find them strange, annoying or concerning will tend to thrive in spite of the ups and downs of life.
  3. As far as possible, be on good terms with everyone. Don’t gossip, criticize, complain or belittle anyone even if we are hurt or angry with them. Of course, speak in private to a trusted confidant but choose the confidant wisely. Do not speak with someone who will add critical fire to the situation. Be careful to speak with the intention of trying to heal oneself of anger and hurt. Don’t say mean things, even about enemies. The meanness will otherwise come back to us. Accidents, illness, unhappiness, depression, and anxiety will come looking for us. We must speak as if there are invisible ears around us because there are. Our words float out into the ether and have their own way of returning to us in like.
  4. When we feel the pangs of jealousy or feel threatened in some way by other people’s talents or presence, we can remind ourselves that everyone can have their place. That place will automatically be decided by the person’s true abilities and nature. Other people having a place does not detract from us having our place or finding those we are genuinely connected to or expressing our gifts and continuing to develop.
  5. Accept changes in relationships and life. We may have been close to someone and if something has happened to change that then we must try to accept that it is so. We can be grateful for whatever is left of the friendship or relationship, if anything is left. Sometimes, time can change things that were making the relationship unworkable and it may be possible to reunite in some form with people we have cared about and establish a new type of relationship. If something has changed for the better in either or both people then the new friendship or relationship will also be for the better.
  6. We mustn’t compromise our most essential values for the sake of popularity, to maintain a relationship, to get something we want or to avoid the wrath of others. We mustn’t remain silent when it is important to speak up or be subservient to someone else’s destructive words and actions or fail to protect those we should look after or accept damaging conditions from a friend or loved one when they can do better. We do not always have to speak up. Peace-making is a beautiful and powerful ability. Peace, if possible, is always preferable. Preserving peace is not the same as weakness. Weakness feels that it is saving a friendship or relationship by lying low and remaining silent but the dormant issues will surface regardless. Our true self is our best gift to our community so we should not give less than that.
  7. We mustn’t withdraw from human interaction. It keeps us grounded and helps us to grow through real and challenging situations. Also, we never know when one of those beautiful, treasured moments of life will appear. Someone unexpectedly expresses their appreciation for us, something heals, a conflict is resolved. Even famous and powerful individuals need to belong to a real community where they are treated like a normal person for good and bad. Otherwise, they forget what real people and real life are like. They can become delusional about their own worth. Their life can become empty because the love and hate of real people have more depth than the love and hate of unknown people. We do not need to decide which community to belong to. We just live life to the best of our ability and follow our interests and we will find ourselves within a community of people; some we will love, some we will find tedious. That’s how it should be. We will have the perfect soil for growth and we will be blessed both by the love and hate of those who naturally wish to respond to us. We are only responsible for our own thoughts and actions, not for anyone else’s.

This article is from Love’s Longing

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