“…a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
No man or woman is complete unto him or herself. Man is a gregarious species for this reason. We need one another. We, in this sense, complete one another.
Man is also endowed with free will. His agency allows him to make decisions and act on them independently. Each man is ultimately responsible for his decisions, so no matter how much advice or guidance he receives from others, he must in the end choose his own course of action.
Children are initially dependent upon the direction of their caregivers and opinions of their peers, but children should rightly mature to the point where their agency is also self-determined (and ideally centered in righteousness). Growing up is essentially a process of transition from being externally controlled to being internally governed by spirit. Most people never fully complete this shift, hence the need for government, police, military, laws, etc.
The advice, caution, or prohibition of others (individual or institutional) is only limiting if a man abandons his capacity of free will and if what he is being compelled to follow is not rooted in truth. Blind acceptance of the groundless fears, cautions, or prejudices of another can be just as damaging as willful disregard of sage counsel. To live with and serve others effectively, you must think independently while centering in love and conforming to truth.
At the end of the day, the exhortations of a true friend can be worth their weight in gold. If a “friend who truly has your best interests at heart” has the “pluck to tell you what you need to hear” as Bucchianeri put it so well, then by all means, have the courage to be vulnerable and take that which is offered to heart.
Remember: we have one another for a reason. No man is complete unto himself.
Photo by Briana Tozour on Unsplash