Sunday, January 27, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend - Proverbs 27:17
Who are your friends? And how do you know? Do they bring out the best in you? Are they there for you when you need them? Have you ever been burned by someone you thought you could trust? What are friends for, anyway? How do we connect, grow, and build great relationships?
Life can be a lot easier when we have friends to share with us, cry with us, laugh with us, and assure us that we are okay, even when we make mistakes.
These are 5 things for me that are essential to having or being a true friend
  1. Someone you can trust
  2. Someone who accepts you for your good self
  3. Tells you when you are doing wrong
  4. Supports your morals and beliefs, inspires righteousness
  5. Helps, guides, edifies, uplifts, and strengthens you
Learning to cultivate true friendships is so important. We aren't meant to make it through our earthly journey alone. Heavenly Father often answers our prayers through those we are close to. They are the ones who quietly whisper encouragement or sternly admonish us with warnings for our good. We need friends. Even the Savior surrounded himself with those he called friends.
We need to learn to discern true friends from false ones and to be a true friend to others.
Love yourself - You have heard this tons of times. But I include it because we really can't open our hearts and love other people until we understand how important it is to love ourselves. Not the prideful, me-first kind of love or the when-I-look-in-the-mirror-I-am-amazed-at-how-wonderful-I-am love. Just a comfortable acceptance of who we are and what we can become. If "the only way to have a friend is to be one", let's first be good to ourselves. From that sturdy foundation of acceptance, we will be able to choose better friends and be a better one.
Be positive - Here's an experiment to try: Just for one day, vow to think only positive thoughts about yourself and everybody else. If criticism creeps in, chase them away like you would the plague. You will have to go 24 hours and not complain about one single thing, not the weather, your homework, your hair, a job that needs doing, anything. Nothing but positive output! Your desire to be positive will be a magnet for your friends. They might wonder if you're sick or something, but maybe they'll join in and you can support one another in this 24-hour challenge!

Share your emotions - I've noticed that some people have a hard time sharing things that are tender. Our society tends to make it difficult to share the whole spectrum of our feelings without being uncomfortable. That's sad, because better friendships come from being more open. True friends share both happy and sad times, knowing strength comes from sharing.

Enjoy the gift of laughter - "He who laughs, lasts!" There is no denying that a healthy dose of laughter thrown into the mix can help the best of relationships. "Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face". Shouldn't we be involved in warming things up?

Practice makes perfect - We might be amazed at how we are able to cultivate better friendships by practicing on a daily basis, even when we are in a lousy mood and don't feel like being nice. The little things do count. We will never regret sharing loving, happy times. A "friend loveth at all times" (Proverbs 17:7), even on bad days. Even when we don't feel like it!

Focus on your truest friend - "Thy friends do stand by thee" (D&C 121:9). It is during moments of great need that our truest friend stands by us. Focusing on Christ and trying to love as He loves is our surest way of being and finding the right friend. There will times of despair and heartache for us all of us. At those difficult times we find our faith increases and our loving friendship with the Savior grows as we learn to know and trust Him. In fact, no one else, regardless of how much they can love us, can help us like the Savior can. I have come to learn how much I must depend on the Lord and how truly loving he is. I have witnessed how He is there for us when no one else can salve our hurting bodies or burdened hearts. Our truest friend know what is best for us. He will make sure we are taken care of with "every needful thing" D&C 88:119). We only need to trust. Sometimes during my not-so-noble moments I am quietly reminded of my friend's sacrifice for me, of his loving assistance, and of his desire to have me likewise be a true friend to others. If birds of a feather flock together, let's make sure we are part of the Savior's flock. He will be there during the times we need Him most. He will help us get along better with our family. His influence will allow us to use the great gift of laughter in a heavenly way. His love allows us to be more open with our feelings. His Spirit allows us to be more positive.
When we share the most important yet simple elements of friendship, the other elements seem to fall into place. Good, eternal relationships begin with the simplest of tools. God bless us as we practice making the best relationships, ones that last forever!

Friendship is the platform for becoming...true sons and daughters of God.

1 comment:

DanGina said...

Lexi you are a great example of a true friend thanks for your friendship and your standards!!! :)