Dealing With Well-Meaning Friends Pt III
OK, I did say at the beginning of this series that I didn’t know where this was going to go, and this post is proof that I’ve been winging it…
I rarely share much personal on here for two reasons.
1 – It’s not that kind of blog.
2 – My life is boring. There’s not much to share.
However, I do have a story to tell that I think wraps up this week nicely.
Here’s the back story. When I was a kid (late teens/early 20s) I was in a difficult place (as many are). I used to attend a charismatic church, and was under a lot of pressure to conform to a certain cookie-cutter pattern (or, if I couldn’t conform, at least not be the self-destructive force that I was). I wasn’t any good at it then, and I’m not now to be honest. In the town I grew up in there is a Catholic church. It’s a huge building on a busy road, but inside it was so quiet and peaceful. Even though my own Christian walk was a million miles from Catholicism I recognised they had something I wanted, so I made an appointment to speak with a Priest.
Father Frank (who I have since tried to reach without success), in 15 minutes changed my whole concept of life, God, religion, and humanity. It took just a few minutes before Father Frank said “It sounds to me like you spend a lot of time as a human-doing, not enough time as a human-being.” And here is the crux of it. We like to be “doing”. A friend is broken, we like to fix them. It’s why goalkeepers dive for penalties in soccer even though they have as much chance of saving it if they don’t move. We like to “do”. We need to learn to “be”. If you’re a WMF just be. Let your friend be. Just “be” together. It will help you both.
Other events and relationships have taught me that other people are human-beings, and not human-doings. When we, as a WMF try to “help” someone who is struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other disorder, we are basically saying “You’re not right like this, you need to be fixed. You need to change. You need to ‘do’.” It’s done with good intentions, but it’s not the right message. We are all human-beings.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – We all have a life to live, bills, jobs, debts, families etc. These are things we have to “do”. We need to remember that we “do” stuff, and “be” people.
2 – By simply being, and having no expectations of change, you can appreciate your friend and it will allow them to appreciate you without anxiety that you are going to pressure them.
3 – Life can be changed by the smallest of things. You can change a life in unimaginable ways through a tiny act on your part. Remember the starfish story (more on this to come soon)?
By allowing people to simply be themselves we take so much pressure off them, ourselves, and our relationship. If we simply help people to follow their path instead of “helping” them follow a path we think is right, we can create a much better world.
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