“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” ~Plutarch
Sympathy is the death knell of a good friendship. Empathy, on the other hand, is a restorative balm that heals life’s cuts and scrapes. Sympathy says to another “you are right to complain” while empathy elicits solutions from friends who express genuine concern.
Friends rightly chosen consistently call for the finest from you. They expect your best and refuse to accept excuses for shortcuts, shortcomings and short-sightedness. At the same time, friends well chosen are the most forgiving of your associates. They accept you as you are but always leave room for the new you, especially when others would write you off or turn a cold shoulder, in search of fairer weather.
True friends invest trust beyond the point where you feel trustworthy. Such trust compels greatness in action. While it is said that competition fuels innovation, in my estimation a trusting, cooperative friend is the greater catalyst.
“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.” ~Epicurus
I thank my lucky stars for my circle of friends. Their expression of excellence inspires mine. Their solidity – no matter how stormy life’s seas may become – affords me an island upon which I can catch my breath and regain my legs. More importantly, their unconditional love enkindles my respect and appreciation for others.
Do you have such a friend? There is nothing on earth to be more prized than a true and honest friend. Many who would claim to be your friend will turn their backs on you or even stab yours out of smallness, desperation or shame, but find one friend, one true friend, and your life will never be the same.
Let not the small and desperate acts of those who would violate your friendship cause you to lose heart. Instead, let the experience redouble your resolve to be a right and dependable friend to those who remain.
“Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.” ~Mark Twain
Retaliation, retribution, diminution, disrespect and dishonesty are the tools of those who have failed to come to know the reality of their greatness. Those who employ such tools will eventually find themselves alone, distrustful of others and in need of a true friend. Conversely, forgiveness, inspiration, reverence and honorableness constrain to a noble and endearing state of being.
Which will it be for you?