Being There, Coming Through
Janice Hain

  
I once read in a book on making friends that we should eliminate negative people from our lives.  Since I was raised by very negative, judgmental parents, my thinking became conditioned by such early environmental influences, and as much as I tried to swing the pendulum in the other direction, my responses and attitude were a reflection of this negative upbringing.  Now this is not an assessment of blame; I know full well that harboring resentments against my parents brings about no change and only exacerbates the negativity by making me a hostile, bitter person.  Instead, I continuously fight what seems to be a never-ending battle against this disease of early-childhood conditioning called negativity.

Every moment of every day I fight the good fight to remain positive.  Forging through all the disappointments life hands me, from on-the-job struggles with recognition and appreciation, to ugly dealings with rude and cruel individuals, and of course the worst of all disappointments, the rejection and abandonment by friends and lovers.  Such friends might have been of like mind as the above author who believes eliminating negative people from your life is the thing to do.  As a negative person, I insisted that for myself as well.  I wanted only positive people and influences--Iíve had my fill of negativity already.  Plus, how would I become positive myself if I allowed more negativity in?  But here I take the time to thank God for those encouraging few who didnít heed such advice.

If it werenít for those cherished individuals who bore with my pain and ugliness, I quite likely would have joined those who have left this earth on their own accord.  

Rare, genuine friends who have shared in my pain with empathy first, then with non-condemning encouragement--to them and God I owe my life.  To come through, be there, and stick it out, transforms and alters a life mired in negativity and gives that person renewed hope--and for me, this is the ultimate act of humanity and love.

These individuals never gave up on me, saw the beauty inside me when I could see none, gently nudged my potential and lifted my spirits when I allowed others to bring me down.  They came through when others fled--these are what I call true friends.

So I urge you to be among those few, rare individuals, that can call themselves true friends.  Bear with the depression, ugliness, negativity, hurt and pain of another, share in it with empathy, care for them with encouragement and non-judgmental compassion and appreciative love.  Avail yourself to such people, write them a letter, give them a call, ask them out.  Be careful with the words "too busy" and the litany of excuses why you werenít able to come through.  Help them to see how beautiful they are, see them through a failure by giving them pats on the back and kudos for taking the risk--donít dismiss or minimize their defeat, but gently encourage them to get beyond it and move forward.  Listen to their cries--they do want out from the mire--help them to rise above it!  Believe it or not, we all have the power to effect a positive change in a suffering person; even one who  suffers can be a benefit to the downcast, probably all the more:  having been there, they know best how truly to empathize.  And in doing so, you are lifted out from negativity as well. Just be there, come through and see the transforming effect youíll have.  A once dark and ugly lump of coal becomes a sparkling diamond before your very eyes.

Again a heartfelt thanks goes out to those beautiful true friends who didnít eliminate me from their lives through all my rough spots.  To those who helped to buff off the dark outside and saw the diamond within, Iím certain God will always have His loving arms surrounding them, continually buffing and polishing their diamond of a heart and causing it to sparkle throughout the universe!

  
    

A true friend gives us the courage
to be ourselves because he or she is with us always and in all ways.
In the safety of such friendships, our hearts can fully open.

Sue Patton Thoele

  


 
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