I’ve recently discovered that I define the term friend very loosely. It’s not that I don’t have any friends, or that I don’t think of them as assets to any happy life. It’s that I put up with a little too much a little too long. I was always the type of girl who could never say “no”. I was afraid to say no for the fear of not being liked, or for hurting someone’s feelings. I would do things that I didn’t really care to do or that went against something that I believed to better be there for a friend. But I have recently stopped doing that, and in this new habit of saying no I have offended people who I had always said yes to.
In Buddhism, there is a practice that describes the term ”happiness” as providing happiness to others and you will in turn have a happy life, and you will be fulfilled. I agree with that whole-heartedly. But there are also enemies in your life that can cause great poison to the things you wish to do and your happiness and in that sense you must learn from your experiences with that person and be grateful for what they have taught you…and then move on.
I am not one to preach. And while we’re on the subject, I am a minimalistic religious person. I am an atheist in a predominately faith driven world. I read books on our evolution beginning in Africa. On skulls found throughout our time that better describe where we came from. I am not a bible reader. I do not pray. I am not a church goer, and frankly I’m happy to be that way. I don’t need to be anything else to better suit others. Currently I am Buddhist only because Buddhism teaches mindfulness in the current moment, loving others, cherishing life, protecting all things that live around us, and being compassionate. What better values to have? I want to be a good person, and I believe that I am. Religion has not created nor tested that fact about me. But if only people could see that everyone is different. We all have a reality that we believe to be true from different experiences and memories. We cannot force our reality on others because it only creates stress, struggle, anger. What we see in the world and how we decipher those pictures are all based on how our own mind works. No one else will see what you see, no one else will feel what you feel. Only you can examine certain experiences how you would examine them. When others try to make you understand something or get upset that you are doing something they don’t agree with, it is because you are disrupting whatever they believe their reality to be, and they are trying to protect that reality. You cannot take this personally, because it is not you doing so. (in reference to The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz)
That is why I am redefining my term “friend”. I no longer will compromise who I am to further a friendship. I will no longer sacrifice things that permit my happiness to better suit someone else’s reality. I am who I am and that will never change. Subtlety is not my strong-suit, I drink, I curse, but I should be free to live my life without offending people by being who I am. I embrace my quirks, and my imperfections as I will do for you.
I was taught to be good to all things. I am happy to call people my friends (assuming I will still have a few after this post) and I embrace everything that they are with every inch of my being. I will never tell you to be something you are not, as I would expect the same in return from you. I will look at you with loving eyes and know that you are going to do the things that make you happy and that may be something I don’t agree with and that is O.K. I am not here to change you, I am not here to make you something else, I am not here to distract you from the things that make you most happy. I am here for a shoulder. I am here to hear you. I am here to help you laugh and enjoy your life, and give you company when it is needed. I am here to be loyal when others fault, I am here to offer any advice that I can give you when it is needed. I am a friend. And that is what my new definition of friend shall be. No falseness. No bailing. I will be true to my word and I will be there for you. As you should be for me. With love, and compassion and most of all understanding.