Friday, July 13, 2012

Friendships That Last


The following is an excerpt from Henri Nouwen's journal "The Inner Voice of Love." I will comment afterward.


"Friendship has been a source of great pain for you. You desired it so much that you often lost yourself in the search for a true friend. Many times you became desperate when a friendship you hoped for didn't materialize, or when a friendship begun with great expectations did not last.

Many of your friends grew from your need for affection, affirmation, and emotional support. But now you must seek friends to whom you can relate from your center, from the place where you know that you are deeply loved. Friendship becomes more and more possible when you accept yourself as deeply loved. Then you can be with others in a non-possessive way. Real friends find their inner correspondence where both know the love of God. There spirit speaks to spirit and heart to heart."

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Probably all of us reading this, myself included, have at least once in our lifetime been the "needy" one in a friendship or relationship. We have been so full of needs - needs for affirmation, affection, attention - that we just wish that someone would come along to fulfill those needs.

I am not suggesting that we become people without any needs, and sometimes it is perfectly fine to need something from someone else.  But many friendships and relationships have crashed on the rocks because one person has needed something from the other person - something that person can not give.

I believe that we need to turn to God (or Love, or Mother, or Divine Source - whatever you may call it) for our needs first. When we turn within we find true affection and affirmation. When we turn inward we find our inner voice telling us "You are perfectly OK," "You are safe," "You are loved just as you are."  As we learn to continually listen to these messages that we will be able to have non-possessive relationships with people around us; we won't demand things that people can't give.

Let's learn to accept ourselves as deeply loved, and then we'll be more likely to find friendships that last.