Author: Mich-in-French

Content designer by day - mother at all times - wife to a man I adore - cook when the kitchen takes my fancy - but writer by nature and a dreamer by creation

Lesson 49: The art of friendship

Today I am contemplating the many things that are very wrong with this world. Watching the headlines every day is enough to turn you grey overnight. The world we live in is becoming a more and more sinister planet and good people are becoming increasingly hard to find.

Portrait of business colleagues holding each other and laughing

Are relationships and friendships of such little value that we can change them and discard them as easily as we do with a barely worn out pair of socks. Why are so many casual, fair weather ‘’friends’’ in this world? There when it suits them and AWOL when you need them most.

Is it people raise their children to befriend or is this something the greater majority hope their children will just learn casually at school? I can tell you one thing most people seem to have the 101 on this subject – “How to selfishly love yourself and give only to others if it means a return on your investment”.

I know for one I value friendships – I value my time and have always aimed to teach my children to value the time others give them – to teach them that friendship, the true kind, is a slow paced journey – of learning to navigate your way into a strong reliable and cherished friendship. What breaks my heart is how quickly friendships turn out to be people that are fairly casual about them and are quick to jump ship when a more interesting friend comes their way.

I see countless beautiful young people left isolated by others wondering “what now”, and “here we go again”. It is a dangerous place to be as they quickly become fairly jaded on the art and beauty of making true lasting friendships.

So what is a true friend?

How can we become true friends?

What should we be teaching our children and doing ourselves?

How do we decide on who fits the bill of this seemingly rare gift?

True friendship…

  • Is Unselfish – it’s not about what you get out of the friendship but about what you put in. Imagine if both friends put the same energy and passion into a relationship, instead of just waiting to see what they could receive, how beautiful would that picture look?

 

  • Is Respectful – respectful of the person’s space, opinions (even if they are different from your own), approach to life and who they are. Respect is a beautiful thing when given before it is earned and I know many believe it is the other way around – but respect is a precursor for our next point of friendship.

 

  • Is trustworthy – which relationship do you know that works well without this core ingredient? Friends need to be able to confide in each other and know what they have said remains there in the preciousness of that space; they need to be safe in knowing that their friendship will not be given up at the turn of a new trend or the introduction of a new person, which leads me to the next point.

 

  • Values others – when we place value on people we treat them with care and we honour them as people. Value encompasses all of the above then, because as we value those around us we care more about their needs than our own, we respect them as fellow human beings and by being trustworthy of them we place value and priority over them as people. What more could we give as friends than value – this in a world where relationship seem to have become a disposable commodity. When people feel they have value they walk differently, they live differently and they love differently. It is all part of an intricate cycle of design.

So how do we become these people?

It’s simple – you choose it.

If you are not by nature this kind of person it will take sacrifice – of yourself. Just consider a world where everyone was more concerned about the person next to them than themselves…it certainly would look a whole lot better than the pciture I am currently looking at.

And yes, let’s not be entirely over romantic about this – there are many times when you have to do things for yourself and walk away from over demanding people – but that’s a whole new conversation about narcissists and so forth – here we are just talking about everyday – reasonably – normal people.

How do people fit the bill? When do we decide they can step into our sacred space?

This is the most challenging part.

Relationships of any sort are a risk.

We never know how it will turn out – for me I have had some doozies – there is no easy way to assess a person. You have to go in and take the chance – be willing to take a bruising along the way, no one is perfect after all, and give them the chance to be that friend.

This is often why we are so let down – because I would say 8 out of 10 of these people are going to let you down badly. 6 out of 10 may let you down somewhat or they could turn out to be great casual, socially fun friends but don’t expect depth and support from them. It seems to be a matter of statistics here. The sad but blatant truth of it.

And after all is said and done and if, just if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, with the right outlook on life, in just the right moment, you may find one or possibly two of those rare human beings who will be the ones you can lean on when life requires it, share coffee, laughter and life in between.

Good friendships are the rarest treasure of all – when you find them value them deeply, guard them fiercely and treasure them dearly.

I am deeply blessed to count a very, very few in my life but I know they will be there for the rest of it.

 

au revoir mon ami

Michelle

Lesson 48: A kick from behind…

Life sometimes wallops us on the back side.

Target Concept by ponsulakHave you ever found that? Actually more often than not you are just amiably piloting your way through the maze of your life and with no warning you get a fat slap on your rear end that sends you careening through the hedge to the other side of who knows where.

There you sit – aching seat side,totally confused and bewildered. I have to actually chuckle because a few years ago I thought that was just totally not on. How dare we get a butt whacking when we are seeking after everlasting happiness … the nerve of it.

Here is the kicker though – and not in the butt or maybe that is exactly what it is –  life is not about finding happiness.

 

Say what? Can that be true – after all these years if us searching with such vigour and passion to find the dreamlike status of true happiness we now find it was a journey began in complete ignorance and prodigality.

All our lives this has been our intent goal. All that which we have hoped to achieve has been solely based on one end result and that is happiness…

Getting the promotion; finding our spouse; producing a gaggle of children; becoming a world-famous pie eater; having our name published in the Times magazine; discovering the missing sock you lost the last week in the dryer; buying the new Ferrari or for some a Fiat; living in the house of your dreams or at least moving out from your parents place; losing 10 pounds and never finding it again and the list goes on.

But.. and I hate starting a sentence with but – but seen as though we are discussing the butt end of our issues here it may be apt – happiness is not actually what we were designed to run after. You see happiness is fleeting – in this world we all know that well.

One moment you could get the promotion and the next you realise with the promotion comes a lot of sleepless nights, hair loss and bad breath. That promotion may result in an increased bank balance but ultimately it does not lead to sheer happiness at all – it is more than likely responsible for the depletion thereof.

So what is it that we should be hoping for and working towards in this life that will bring us the peace we so covet?

In a nutshell

FULFILLMENT

Consider the difference between a moment of happiness and the eternity that comes with fulfillment.

When you feel fulfilled in something there is very little that can remove that from you.

So lets say you get the promotion and yes it’s tough and you feel like you are operating more out of a caffeine and donut induced energy that sleep but you are able to make a considerable difference in someone’s life or the economy of several lives – you would sit back fulfilled.

A feeling of being full – in your spirit – not your belly.

Not something quick and temporary but something lasting – something meaningful and remarkable.

The wallop on the backside we should expect – and yes, they are really tough to deal with at the best of times but it is these moments and times in our life – when we face the kicker – when we grow with it that we can get to a place of fulfillment.

Like I was saying to my son just the other day when he was asking me why things had to be so challenging in life –

“We don’t grow when things are cosy and comfortable. We have to get uncomfortable to be pushed into growth. Then when we are through those moments we can look back and appreciate the challenge. This is perspective – we don’t have it until we are through it to look back. Only then can we visibly see the growth and the value of the trials.”

Finding fulfillment is a far greater mission than seeking happiness – one that will bring perspective, growth and a depth to us as human beings that is far more remarkable than fleeting happiness.

Think on that for a moment and grab your life with both hands – there are so many remarkable things left for you to do and discover …

To find that fulfillment.

Soit en paix,(be at peace)

Michelle


Image courtesy of ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Honey…I’m home

It has been a long time away. Figuring out what comes next and navigating this very interesting life of:

mundane, craziness, bill paying, family dramas, retrenchment, new businesses, new house, new pet, old pet, 20th wedding anniversary, son learning to drive, daughter finding her wings, washing, scrubbing, diet, too much chocolate, too little chocolate, budgets, politics, cringing at the state of South African affairs, the rand dollar exchange, weeding, sleeping, insomnia, learning, studying, discovering, apologising, forgiving, laughing, crying, meeting new people, saying goodbye, drinking coffee (too many cups), running out of socks (so many without pairs?), dreaming, being practical, washing the car, cuddling a bunny, painting my toenails, reading new books, sweeping, mopping, folding the laundry and the list goes on.

I do believe it’s called life and mine seems to have gotten in the way of my writing… well it is time to revive the old call to write and talk about those French lessons so many of us attend but never seem to apply.

Here it is – I feel like I am back from a long, long journey. Happy to be back. Not sure where to start with the unpacking but loving the comfort of an old familiar place called home.

Bon jour mon amis

Michelle