They say that you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.
I say: So choose wisely.
A long (not so long?) time ago, I was a medieval lit major at LSU. I had this noble group of teachers who did a group taught class. One was a history professor, one was world religions, one was English and the other philosophy. They so fervently believed in what they were teaching, that often I felt more enlightened and more love than I did attending church. One particular lesson was about Bonaventure’s “Journey of the Mind to God.” If you’re a medieval lit buff like I was, you’ll understand the symbolism of God’s perfect love, the Rose and the travels of our spirits to a higher and higher circle of being…..ok I’m probably boring most of you. Here’s the big takeaway I got from the whole process:
A true friendship is one where you both help each other grow and achieve and become MORE than what you are, and in the process become more loving and God-like.
You can call this Christian/peaceful/enlightened/whatever floats your boat, but they called it divinization back in the day. (Funny, that word is so old my spell check won’t accept it. What’s my computer got against divine love?)
In the process of true friendship, you become more and return to a more spiritual state of being than you were in the beginning. When I was 20 this sounded wonderful, but impractical; and how were we to find God at the bottom of a beer can and pack of cigarettes? I’m sure we thought we were doing the best we could. Now that I’m in my 30s I see this happening in my life all the time. But it wasn’t until I opened my mind to improvement and wanted to be more than what I was that many of those friends appeared. It’s as if opening your soul to the possibility and telling God, praying to Him that you want to be a better human allows your path to cross with other like minded people. And once those friendships start, you lose that fear of “what if they don’t like me anymore,” or maybe they will judge me for this, and any number of silly things that stress a normal relationship. There’s never anger, only patience. There’s never judgment, only understanding. There’s an honesty and support like none other in these friends. I count about a handful of them – some mentors, some partners, some friends – in my life right now….but I know there will be others. We will be drawn to each other by a higher power and as one can help me step up higher into my possibilities, then I can help others. It’s teamwork. When I think about it, I imagine little pockets of teams all over the world trying to better themselves and the world around them. Maybe they’re surrounded by chaos and other people who are immersed in the stress and worry and pain of their own tiny battles, but with each person they can connect with, they can make a change and make a difference.
I listened to a recording by Jeffery Coombs, who is a trainer and coach for business owners and network marketers. He talked about how some people have clear minds and can make decisions, while others are simply caught in the chaos of their own lives and can never make decisions or give a direct answer. I have a friend like that – she’s just caught in the chaos, and she can’t and won’t even answer a simple question like “Can you come over for dinner?” with a yes or no. She has to hem and haw. Because she’s worried about how her answer will make someone else feel, she can’t answer. My circle of friends I spoke of before – one of the greatest gifts they shared with me is direct communication. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and give simple direct answers. Cut through the chaos. With a true friendship where you can be so completely honest, there is no delay, there is no hesitation. Where before I let her hesitation irk me, now I’ve learned to tell the friend – it’s ok – just tell me yes or no. Either way, I still love you.
So if you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, don’t you want those five to be people that are helping each other, not keeping each other down? Think about this, please, and give yourself the chance to experience more joy and love in life, and then to help someone do the same.
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