A friend of mine gave me a copy of this very powerful article about friendship by Belinda Recio. It appeared in the November-December issue of a publication called Spirituality Health.
I love the deepness of the following passage:
"In such friendships, the friends understand and accept the imperfections of the relationship, themselves, and each other. They accept the risk of betrayal because they understand that the seed of forgiveness is contained within the betrayal."
Here is a copy of the entire article.
(Note if the text appears too small you should be able to click on the image to see a larger version)
Recently I had a friend contact me to talk through a situation she was experiencing with another friend. This friend has done the same for me in the past when I was working through and processing some difficult terrain in a couple of friendships.
I am not a friendship guru and I have made my own mistakes for certain, especially when I was going through some tough times and in a depressed state of mind.
I didn't want to give "advice" so all I shared was something along the lines of this:
1) we can own our part of things
2) we can sincerely apologize if we know we have hurt or offended a friend
3) we can make efforts to express our desire to continue to be friends
4) we can do things that make us feel good about our friend and the friendship - such as sending cards, emails, little gifts.
There are also things that we have to realize we can't control though.
1) we cannot control how they take things (we all have our own perspective that will color how we respond to situations)
2) we cannot control if they accept our apology
3) we cannot control if they will accept us back into their heart
4) we cannot control if they treat us differently
5) we cannot control if they do not wish to remain friends
My friend wondered - what if this friend won't take her apology to heart? I said that is the hardest part about relationships, not having any control over how someone takes something or if they don't want to remain in a relationship with us. I shared that if her friend had been in another mind set and was perhaps in a better place in her life that the comment made would not have fazed her one bit. I added that her reaction is more about her friend than what she said. I also knew that what she said was done with concern and love, not with an intent to hurt or criticize. There is a big difference between the two I believe.
What do we do if a wall is built and a heart is closed to us? We can either hang in there hoping things will change. What if it doesn't? Is there ever a time to walk away? I don't know the answer to that. Sometimes the answer may be yes. I recently saw this quote "Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it's better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together." ~Author Unknown. Perhaps as it proposes there are times when it best for one's own happiness and mental health to walk away and just let it be.
What are your thoughts regarding traversing difficult times in a friendship?
Do you have any words of wisdom to share?