Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Friends, Who Needs Em?

Friends, who needs em?

“No man is an Island”

Years ago as an apprentice chef, I was employed by a landed gentry family, who owned a classic English estate. Each week the owner would jot down cryptic comments and supposed motivational / correctional notes on my clocking in card. On one such occasion, was the above quote. It was meant as a reminder to me of the need of others in order to achieve ones personal goals. It was some years later that I eventually grasped the true meaning.

“No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. John Donne, Meditation XVII English clergyman & poet (1572 - 1631)

Ones view of friendships may change with the circumstances in which a friend is involved. We all have stores of disappointment and betrayal in which a friend’s colours are nailed to the mast. Sadly, we often miss the opportunity of developing a good friendship into a great one, due to feelings of disappointment and broken trust. It is at times such as this we may ask, “Friends, who needs em?”

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. Mother Teresa

As the poet John Donne observed, every one of us is part of the whole, which is mankind. As independent and adrift as we may become, we are no less part of what was built into the fabric of humanity.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them. Dalai Lama

Growing a friendship is akin to growing a rose. Care and attention is needed in all four seasons in order to benefit from the sweetness of the bloom in summer. As a gardener, I always find the pruning season of least satisfaction. It somehow pains me to cut back and prune healthy plants. Every gardener knows that without it, the results aren’t as good. Friendships also require such care and attention and even if there is no visible bloom in progress, the preparation for the bloom is still underway. Maybe one of you friendships is presently in the dormant stage, keep the season in mind and remember “even though we can’t see the sun through the clouds, it’s still bringing warmth and heat to sustain us all. Somewhere in the world, someone is enjoying the warmth on their face.

Top Ten Issues that strain friendships to breaking point:

1. Betrayal

2. Lack of Trust

3. Lack of respect

4. Lack of genuine love

5. Criticism and lies

6. Lack of belief in

7. Controlling and overbearing

8. Lack of awareness of others (selfish)

9. Limiting perception of potential

10. Unwilling or unable to say sorry (poor communication)

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." - Helen Keller

Perhaps the greatest friendship one can experience is that of a successful marriage, but a successful marriage doesn’t happen, it takes majour attention, consideration and unselfishness.

According to Dr. Kenneth Bateman of Amber University, one of the main reasons for marriage breakups is ineffective communication about significant topics that concern the marriage. The inability to compromise to find a resolution to issues such as control, money, independence and children is a byproduct of poor communication.

"Friendship that flows from the heart cannot be frozen by adversity, as the water that flows from the spring cannot congeal in winter." - James Fenimore Cooper

Friendships may indeed place a greater demand on our resources and indeed open us up like a surgeon at times, but in the end, real friendships cost us everything. That which we value, we honour and that which we honour we prioritise. If we have friends that treat us as such in our life, we are truly blessed. If we behave this way to others, we are a true friend!

Friends, who need em? We all do!