We are relational creatures – designed to commune with one another beyond simple coexistence. We were made to love, and from an early age we form unique bonds that show, shift and shape our understanding of the world. Along our journeys, most of us realize it is not good to be alone and that material success isn’t everything it’s set out to be. We therefore crave “to belong” more than we crave “to have”, knowing true wealth lies more in true relationships.
You were born worthy of friendship.
Friendship has been heavily redefined over the last decade. What once took years to build and cultivate, has been equated to the click of a button. Some of us have become incredibly lazy with our interactions. We replace emotions with emojis, conversations with comments, and “likes” for actual presence. For some of us, our social media feeds have become our social lives – and instead of forming relationships, we’re living alone together.
Yet friendship has always been deeper. It is a strong mutual affection in which trust, love, kindness, and compassion are exchanged. It is the family you choose to have. In its genuine form, it is not self-seeking and it is certainly not casual. Friends show up when you feel like you can’t, and you were born worthy or receiving a love like that.
As a child, friend making was far less complex. You both liked donuts, you both liked dinosaurs, and you set out on your journey of friendship together. As we grow older (and more aware of ourselves), our interests, contexts and passions become more diversified. A steady common ground is less common to find, and we may struggle to truly connect with others. By the time we reach adulthood, we are so consumed with schedules, work and family life – that friend making is on the latter end of our priority list. To make it easier, we compromise by making associates that we regularly spend time with, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we barely even know.
The complications of adult friendship are many (and to be explored in another series). Yet one of the hardest issues of friendship to navigate is that of worth. The friends we speak to the most now, are the ones we’ve determined are worth it. Whether we’re aware of it our not, we’ve decided that they are worth our time, our energy, our money, and our mind capacity. We’ve invested our hearts and to some degree, we expect a mutual return.
When we’re in the driving seat of these decisions, it’s easy to explain why we dial back on certain relationships. You claim to be “just different people”, “in a new season” or that it’s “best to love from afar”.
But what if the one cut out…is you?
What do you do when you realize someone has decided that you are not worthy of their investment anymore?
Do you question your own worth?
In full transparency, this has been one of the hardest things for me to grapple with. Numerous times, I have had to remind myself this very truth:
Your worth is not determined by someone else’s evaluation of whether you’re worthy of them.
You are worthy regardless and just because a friendship has concluded or changed, it does not mean you should think less of yourself – even if they try and convince you otherwise. As you evolve, it is natural to drift apart, even if it’s hard to accept. Typically there are three many reasons as to why someone chooses to end a friendship:
1) They are coveting you (i.e. more commonly known as being a “hater”).
2) Their direction/interests no longer aligns with yours
3) They are offended by an incident between the two of you
If you’ve tried to reconcile, and these reasons remain, this is less about you and more about their own struggles/positioning. True friendship does not require “proving your worth”, because your worth is unconditional.
If we look deeper, this is a challenge to all of us. Often, we are quick to assume certain people are not worthy of our friendship also. Until I started thinking about this further, I often believed that too. The truth is, everyone is worthy of your friendship, because they are flawed just like you. We can be quick to discard people because of the season they are in, but we have to remember that everything is temporary.
There is a strong relationship between how we treat ourselves, how we treat others and how we allow others to treat us. If you are able to model how you want to be treated, and have real and honest conversations with your friends, you’ll be able to experience some of the best interactions this world has to offer. There is truth in the instruction to “do unto others”. Indeed, don’t be taken advantage of, but know that the most treasured relationships come with mutual sacrifice.
If you find someone – if you find just one person that you can do life with – believe that you are blessed beyond measure. It is better to have one good friend, than to be surrounded by a crowd of people you cannot be yourself with.
It takes incredible courage to think you’re worthy and own it. It also takes courage to lose someone dear to you and still think you’re worthy.