Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

One thing I’ve been working on since the Blackbird Incident is regaining confidence. When you get screwed over like that, it jacks with your head. Of course I did my sulking and my questioning, but through that I got sick of thinking about myself all the time. Has that ever happened to you?…feeling like your being dumb and selfish for thinking about yourself all the time. You kind of put up a wall to everyone, put on a fake smile, but often daze off about how you are going to find the ‘answers’ to your struggles.

You wanna know what has helped me regain my Jordan-ness? Investing in other people. A good friend of mine once told me,

“Stop trying to fix the leaking faucets in your house, and go help your neighbor build their house.”

I’ve found that: when I stop worrying about my own ‘stuff’ all the time; and I start caring about other people and their ‘stuff’; my life becomes more meaningful. Now, in no way am I a counselor, a healer, or a problem fixer. But miraculously just being there, listening, and giving continual encouragement makes a tremendous impact on people’s lives. Even though many of them are dealing a lot of pain and/or confusion (none of which I have any business trying to solve), it’s oddly comforting to literally know I am not the only one that struggles. It is therapeutic and meaningful to be aware of the external world (your environment, your friend’s lives, etc.), because it calls for the ‘self’ to be less concerned about itself and more concerned with the well-being of others. I didn’t have to go to a third-world country to do so (although one day I would like to). I just had to look in my own residence hall; and in my own town. And (as an added bonus) because I’ve been trying to invest in others, people warm up to me…they like me. And as shallow and hopeless as it sounds, being accepted/liked is a big part of building confidence. It’s quite freeing to know that the world isn’t revolved around ME (sorry Descartes). That in the grand scheme of things, my life conflicts are pretty miniscule compared to the the struggles of this world (much less my own residence hall). It’s freeing to literally trust the God of the Universe to guide me out of a life of selfishness, and into a life of compassion and humility.

Interesting Side Note: I took a personality quiz out of boredom and was told I am an ENFP (aka ‘The Inspirer’)

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Today I had two amazing conversations. One with my mom for over 2 hours. Love my mom to death. She is such an amazing, loving woman. And one with an undisclosed resident. Out of respect of privacy I will not air details, but I want to explain why it was so meaningful.

There are people out there that are full-on ‘people pleasers’. You probably know a few of these people. These people give and give and give and give. They are always catering to the needs of others. They are always trying to be understanding. They are always trying to be the strong one in the midst of heartache and chaos (usually because no one else can or will). And well, I admire that. But unfortunately, these people-pleasers often times let others take advantage of their generous heart. And they hit a wall when they realize they don’t have anybody around to talk to when they have problems; problems they’ve hidden and let well up. The undisclosed resident was clearly this type of person.

I find this intriguing, because I also see myself as that kind of person. It was heart-breaking to see someone else hurt like that. But fortunately, I’ve already learned my lessons from people-pleasing, and moved on. So I got to encourage the undisclosed resident that it is okay to be vulnerable; that it is downright courageous. I don’t know why this conversation was so profoundly meaningful to me. After all, I had never met this undisclosed resident before. And, I wouldn’t have met her was I not the RA on duty. But, I got reminded how much passion I have for listening to and encouraging people…helping them with their deepest struggles. Usually there isn’t anything I can say that “makes things better”. It’s just a matter of letting people talk things out, then maybe shedding a fresh perspective if they ask. But I thoroughly enjoy seeing people for who they are, at their most vulnerable. I think that is were true meaningful connections are made. I think that is when lives can be changed. I think that is when we all truly feel loved- when someone can listen to all our crud, insecurities, and fears and still think no less of us.

One day I had this odd idea. I thought, ‘I really like the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament… maybe I should write my own proverbs.’ So over the last semester I’ve been writing these down as they come to me in text messages (to myself). Now before I reveal a few, I just want to point out that in no way, shape, or form am I trying to add to the Bible or form my own individualized gospel. Just writing down some lessons I’ve learned in a similar style as King Solomon. Feel free to argue them, pick’em apart, and/or write them on your favorite teddy bear and cuddle with it every night (?).

Thoughts on Friendship

Spreading oneself too thin can be a dangerous trap of a social butterfly. They will meet a variety of different people, and learn to care for them all deeply; nothing wrong with that. But when this social butterfly begins to expect that same love in return they will often be disappointed.

Good friendships develop when you spend time with someone.

The biggest problems will always come from within. People are often their own worst enemies.

When you don’t trust yourself, it’s hard to trust anyone else.

Trust is the foundation of a successful friendship. Both parties have to be willing to pick up each other if and when life’s storms come.

As of yet, very few have earned the right to be called “trustworthy”. So don’t waste your time looking for the perfect friend.

The perfect friend is often someone you would have never expected to get along with.

It doesn’t feel good to feel alone.

A friend that wants to push you away is not a true friend. Even more so, they may also be acting as an enemy to themselves.

Seek after the person that needs a friend.

How much you can give is limited to how much the recipient is willing to receive.

The sign of a true friend: someone who, when you ask them about themselves, will ask you about yourself in return- two people who are genuinely mutually concerned with each other.

Let your friends be themselves.

If you want people to understand you, you have to be vulnerable.

The first step in being an effective communicator is to listen to other people.

People who only want you when they have a problem or situation are not real friends. They are using you. Their true colors arise when you seek to hang out with them later.

Discipline, at the expense of love, is worthless.

¿Que sé yo?

As some of you already know, I’ve moved a lot. I’ve lived in 6 different states and 8 different cities. And I don’t regret it one bit. In a lot of ways, it has shaped who I am today. However, the whole phenomena of packing up everything and moving to a new place every 2-4 years has taken its toll and left a few scars. These scars intrigue me. I like to pick at them, figuring them out and discover their deeper meaning. One reoccurring trend I’ve noticed in my life is my struggle to find loyal, close friends…you know the kind that you spend most everyday with and know each other and love each other despite each other’s vices…two people who pick each other up when one is down. I’ve noticed that I’ve formed this ideal friendship in my head, by watching people who seem to be very close, but it seems that it is something I’ve never been able to grasp or fully be a part of. The obvious thing for me would be to blame it on moving around so much; and this seems plausible. After all it takes about 6 months to a year to really get close with someone. And then after that it takes many years of spending time with that person to develop a loyal bond. And when you have the mindset of “well I’ll probably be moving again in the next year or so” it’s hard to bring yourself to get into that kind of friendship. Yet this is what I crave right now. Just one lasting friendship. Someone who cares about me and shows it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone through this. There are countless youth minister’s kids and army brats that probably go through something similar. But maybe my desire for intimacy has been a search in all the wrong lands. Or maybe I’ve been looking in some healthy places, but not packed enough supplies and tools to survive. It has crossed my mind many times that I should let Christ be that friend, but to be honest I’m having a little trouble placing Jesus (God) in that role when I have never physically seen him and never audibly heard his voice. I have no doubt he exists, he loves me, and plays a continually huge role in the direction of my life, but I think having someone here on our level on earth during our human existence is valuable. I would call it more of a father-son type relationship than a buddy-buddy relationship.

Don’t get me wrong. I have tons of good friends…no, great friends, and I care about them all deeply. But they are all very busy people. Unfortunately I’ve just picked kind of a bad time to “evaluate” my friendships. Spring time on a college campus is when everybody is crunching to make good or decent grades, and spring time is when a ton of events are going on. And to be fair, I’m a fairly busy person myself. I think the difference is that I tend to wanna make time for friends whereas most of my friends only wanna hang out when it’s convenient or when they need me for something. It’s frustrating, and sometimes I wonder ‘do they really care about me?’. But I’m trying to not put too many expectations on friendships revolved around what I sow, because I’m finding that my life is not all about seeing the harvest. I mean, do we really fully reap what we sow? Is our investment in friendships and relationships all about the end result, what we get out of it? Or is it about the process of growth and camaraderie? If it’s a process of growth that sure goes against everything that goes on in the capitalist mentality I’m surrounded by.

My friends whom I philosophize and drink coffee with have reiterated on several occasions that friendships are important and meaningful. Even in our increasingly fast-paced, technological world we strive to create meaningful bonds with our peers (i.e. social media, texting, blogging). However, this goal of making people more connected has actually disconnected them in a physical way. Think about it. How many people do you know seem outgoing and personable when you talk with them online or through texting, but seem really distant and socially awkward when you meet them in person? I see myself sometimes falling into that trap. Even in writing this blog, it is somewhat of an attempt to let people look inside my thoughts from there distant computer screen, instead of just opening up to someone face-to-face. I also think many Americans try to very hard to ‘be unique’, when being unique may not be the most realistic goal from a social/cultural standpoint. In reality I think many of us become a collage of puzzle pieces taken from a variety of puzzle boxes; and we try to piece them all together as if they were meant to be together. As we force them together we exclaim- “TADAA! This is me.” And it very well may be. But maybe finding lasting friendships is not about glamorizing ourselves by trying to be ‘unique’. I think the key to finding lasting friendships is time and trust. As for time…well that’s just common sense. If you want to build a strong bond with another person you have to spend time with them. Time develops loyalty, and enhances friends’ ability to understand one another. We all (including myself) long so much for intimate relationships, but we often either look for it in unhealthy environments or we allow our scars to hinder us from ‘putting ourselves out there’ (being vulnerable). For example, my scar is distrust. Because I’ve been burnt in the process of finding a philia-type relationship, I am often afraid to tell people about my deepest issues. I’ll sit there and listen to their problems all day long, and try to help them solve the problems; But when I am asked in return I’ll either say “I’m doing good” or I’ll vaguely prance around an issue I might be going through.

Lasting friendships=hard to come by.

I wanna end this scrambled post with a story that will maybe pull things together or shed this post in a different light….

The Parable of the Unhappy Pig>>> http://wordbytes.org/parables/unhappy_pig.htm