A few days ago I wrote about my struggles with being as good a friend to others as they have been to me.
I received a lot of positive feedback and encouragement. I was blown away by the validation.
I was also struck by the fact a couple of others seemed to really understand what I was saying, because they were feeling it too. This sense that I am not and never have been able to be the things that so many platitudes define as being a “true” friend:
Hmmm. That list sounds like characteristics and attributes employers look for in job candidates. Not bad qualities to have, for certain, but also not the complete and definitive list of qualities possessed by people.
LaLa has been going through some things, and I was blessed and privileged to be available to listen and counsel her. At one point she made a plaintive cry I have called out myself and heard from others in times of overwhelming distress when every thought, choice, feeling and action we have and take make no rational sense, and seem beyond our ability to alter or control, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!?”
I gave her a response I believe to be the soul deep truth for us all, “There is NOTHING wrong with you.” Of course she scoffed.
I was meeting with our Head Start Home Visitor today and we were discussing the fact that Luna tends to get hyper-focused and seems to ignore anyone and anything that isn’t what she is focused on. She’s been this way ever since she started being able to play independently. It can be as much of a “warning sign” of potential developmental issues as an inability to concentrate or sit still.
I hate that term – warning sign.
Here’s my hypothesis:
With the industrial revolution came the onset of standardization of process to increase efficiency so more goods can be produced in order to generate profit. Somehow, those ideals seeped and slithered their way into and through every other aspect of our society, and we started measuring and quantifying, classifying and segmenting people according to characteristics and traits that achieve the desired outcome of “increase.” Any characteristic that diminished the increase, instead of being acknowledged and accepted as along the spectrum of normalcy, was declared undesirable and classified as abnormal and those who couldn’t or wouldn’t change to meet the desired expectations were then marginalized as incorrigible.
Schools became the factories to produce an improved workforce and to standardize and make efficient people who could subsequently increase the bottom line for employers, corporations and investors.
Now we have reached a point where we come to believe ourselves and others to be fundamentally flawed when we are really just ourselves being human and as unique and non-standard as each snowflake or fingerprint.
The only thing about each of us that is standard is the fact we all share the same God DNA by having been made in the image of God. Everything that we each have in common at it’s most fundamental level are also the very things that separate us in our individual uniqueness. If you don’t believe me, look up and research the harmonic relationship between the earth’s frequency and alpha wave frequencies of the human brain or the Golden Ratio.
Somehow, we have a very difficult time understanding, accepting, and honoring that in as many ways we are the same, we are also different.
What then, does that mean about our relationships with others, especially in what to expect of friendships? I think it might mean there are those who have the characteristics and qualities identified above and there are those who do not. The ones who do not may be flittery, excitable and variable in their attentiveness but still love and care, but show it in their own unique ways.
So, instead of condemning myself for not being the same kind of friend another person is, thereby elevating them above me, I need to figure out what kind of friend I can be and operate from there.
Tasha left me a very good bit of advice about creating and sending ecards to friends to let them know they are on my mind. That resonated with me. So I found a free app and went to work creating several ecard photo images using the tools in the app, photos & their associated apps, and my words and shared them with a few of my loved ones.
Then, early in the day yesterday I read a status update of one of my soul sisters in the blog world, Sara, and was inspired to create and share this:
After sharing it with her, I felt prompted to share it with just about every other friend on my list on their individual timelines. I was amazed and awed by the response. Several people I barely know and rarely interact with contacted me to let me know how much it had meant for them to receive this bit of encouragement and inspiration. Many of these people are very, very different in their outlook, backgrounds, and life experiences, yet they universally shared an moment of unexpected, unsolicited, and seemingly random bit of much needed encouragement at a time when they needed it.
Please feel free to copy, save, and share this with anyone who’s heart, mind, soul, or spirit needs affirmation, validation, encouragement, or inspiration.
I realized that I am the kind of friend who can utilize my qualities, characteristics, talents, passions and gifts in ways that offer encouragement, insight, inspiration and beauty to others in ways that feed my own soul and energize me.