“I’m the friend who’s going to tell you the truth when everyone else is afraid to…”
Have you ever had a friend say something like that to you? I have and honestly, I really don’t need that type of friend in my life, because typically what follows a statement like that is nothing more than ego-filled judgments weighted in negativity.
Our world is filled with plenty of people judging each other all the time these days, but that’s most definitely something I don’t want or need in any friendship, as I’ve been judged unfairly throughout much of my life, starting with a mother who saw more of the critical in me than the good. But, I’ve worked hard to move beyond that, to let that part of her go, yet I find myself still in connection at times with people who remind me of her, who have the tendency to point out where they feel I could do better in life, highlighting more of their perceived notion of my flaws and shortcomings, rather than praising any of my positive traits. People like this rarely tend to own their own flaws and shortcomings and are so quick to point out another’s.
I used to be quite proficient at this, thinking I always knew better about those in my life, letting them know exactly what I thought, typically judging them profusely in the process, believing it was the right thing to do, “because no one else was ever going to tell them the truth”. All that did though was cause them more pain and drive a wedge between me and them. It’s one thing I can say my friend Cedric and I work very hard not to do with each other, which is why we’ve probably been the best of friends for almost a quarter century now. We don’t point out each other’s flaws or imperfections, or judge what we think either of us should or shouldn’t be doing, or ever focus on areas we believe each other could be doing better in life. Rather, we concentrate more on offering each other acts of compassion, kindness, and praise, and hold space for each other, even when we get stuck in extended periods of self-pity or frustration.
Recently, when someone close to me did exactly the opposite of this with me, offering me their “truth”, suggesting I enjoyed wallowing in self-pity and wanted to remain sick, it hurt immensely, because it wasn’t true on any level. It completely discounted the countless hours and work I’ve put into getting healthier by remaining physically active, eating healthy, meditating, praying, reciting affirmations, writing daily gratitude, volunteering, blogging about it all, and more. To say what they did immediately reminded me so vividly of a mother who was far better at criticism than praise. Why people become like this, believing it’s ok to share the “truth” they think they see in a friend, I believe solely stems from their ego, as it makes them temporarily feel better about themselves. Essentially, it lowers their friend, while temporarily raising themselves. At it’s core, it’s an unhealthy behavior that generally traces back to a parent or a former peer from childhood who did the very same thing to them.
While there have been certain key moments of my life when I have wanted a friend to “tell me the truth when no one else is going to”, such as when I was living in addiction and directly hurting myself or them, doing so otherwise isn’t spiritually healthy and is only going to lead to the demise of the friendship, as true friends need love and compassion far more than they need criticism and judgment, especially when going through any of those dark tunnels of life, no matter how long those dark tunnels may last…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson