New Virtues for a Conscious Friendship
I recently came across the book How to Win Friends and Influence People? in my collection. I received the book around 10 years ago as a present from a friend. I clearly remember being taken aback when I received this present. Anticipating that this would probably be my response, my dear friend wrote a beautiful hand-written note in the inside cover of the book to help explain.
I am not giving this to you because I believe that you do not know how to win friends + influence people. Rather it is the complete opposite: I believe you possess skills + charisma that demonstrate an immeasurable bank of untapped natural abilities… I hope that use this merely as a guide in bringing out the potential that lies within you… You are walking, talking proof that good things happen to good people. Be confident in your abilities + self from an outsider’s point of view… And on a personal level, I feel very grateful that you extend such a warm + inviting friendship to me, because for all the reasons above – it means so much more coming from a person like you.
It took me five years to read the book, and I only really picked it up when I was at a low. But to me, this gift symbolizes true friendship. My friend had the tenacity and beauty within himself to share this gift and inspire me to grow. And for this, I am forever grateful.
Things always have a way of happening for a reason, and my rediscovery of this book got me thinking about friendship and the state of it in our current hectic world. Have we lost touch with what it means to be a good friend? It has become easier to go on Facebook and scroll to see what our friends are up to instead of picking up the phone. We text. We e-mail. We Whatsapp. On one hand this allows us to stay closer even when we are in far away lands, but it also pulls us further away than ever.
We all need support, and right now many of us are searching for purpose and contentment. Yes, time is precious, but here are some suggestions for how we can really use our friendships to help lift ourselves up while also helping others:
New Virtues for a Conscious Friendship:
- We cannot change our friends, but we can inspire them. By working on yourself and just being you, you can subtly help uplift your friends. If your mind starts to pick apart your friends and their flaws, reflect back on yourself to see what is really troubling you.
- Challenge your friends. Who else will? This is love on a deeper level. Tune into how your friends are really feeling, and feel empowered to help them. Why else are you here? Help them become aware that they may be heading down a path of egotism and ignorance. Deliver the message directly, as clear, empathetic communication is often heard and sinks in deeper. They will thank you later. Be bold! Be brave!
- Remember you can only help those who want to be helped. They will seek you out when they are ready. It is no reflection upon you if they choose to wait.
- Send them positive messages from the heart. We live in a busy world, and we do not always have time to call or text to catch up. But close your eyes in the moment and take a deep breath in. The universe has a way of delivery this message of “I was thinking about you”, and thoughts of peace, love and happiness.
- Lastly, don’t call to complain or gossip. This is ahimsa of speech. We don’t need more dirt or oil spread. Instead share light, love and happiness. Try contemplation, meditation or journaling on these other thoughts instead.
Kudos to all of the brave, open-hearted friendships out there who keep pushing themselves and each other into our truly best selves. Tune into that gratitude and know that you are not alone. We are all together for each other on this ride called life. As Yogi Bhajan eloquently put this, “Friendship means only one thing: you don’t create fences around you, but try to remove the fences from the life of another person.”
PS: If you have not read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, I highly suggest reading it. You may laugh about the title, but feel extra confident and mindful that you have this humility within you that wants to learn.