WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU WHO THEY ARE…
Take them at their word. They know. They’ll show you and tell you. Just watch and listen.
Recently, while in a deep conversation with my Mom about the nature of people, she said, “Jilly, you came into this world thinking everyone was wonderful. And, you know, that’s just not realistic thinking. By the way, I have no idea who you inherited this trait from, it definitely wasn’t me.” I laughed and quickly sighed, because what she said in that conversation, she’s said to me a million times before. But on this particular day, her message to me clicked in a way it had never clicked before.
In the last several months, I’ve really experienced some growing pains in my relationships with friends. And, nothing brings that into focus more than going through the storm yourself. When I’ve had friends who have been down in one way or another, I’ve made it my business to be there for them, encourage them and love them. I’m not telling you that I’m a world class friend (because I’m not), but, I can assure you of this, I’m very intentional about being there for my friends.
When you shift to the other side, it’s then your friends turn to reciprocate. And, while they may not do things the way you did for them when they were going through their storm, you do hope they’ll return the favor in some capacity. Why? Because every relationship in life requires reciprocity. It’s pretty basic.
But, what do we do when that happens once, twice, thirteen times? I’m there for you, interested in you, concerned about you, yada, yada yada, and it’s never returned. If you’re me (three months ago), you make excuses for why your friend didn’t show up for you and continue doling out love, support and attention to them even when you don’t ever see it in return. You shame yourself for being objective about a person rather than seeing them through rose colored glasses. And, you continue on thinking that they’re on your “dearest friends list,” even though they do little to nothing to garner that title.
Maya Angelou once said that, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.” It’s just a simple as that. We can save ourselves a lot of time, energy and heartache if we use Maya’s wise words as our compass in relationships. And, because a friend does not reciprocate in a way one should in a friendship, doesn’t mean you stop loving them. It just means you see who they are, accept them for who they are and proceed accordingly.
Friendship, true friendship is a really incredible gift. It is to be handled with great care. And, as I have the joy of growing older and, hopefully, wiser, I will focus more on the quality of the friendship and not so much the quantity.
Make it a great week, friends!
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