A Message from David: Thank you for all of the kind messages and support you have given me on my journey of healing. Recently I received very positive news that the tumor in my brain has significantly reduced in size. I continue to get stronger with each day and I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet some of you at some of our recent Chopra Center events.
Nurturing Our Friendships
Although there are now more human beings living on the planet than ever before, there are so many people who feel lonely and alienated. I find myself feeling tremendous compassion and love for these lonely souls who on some level have adopted a belief that they are unlovable. Sometimes this belief manifests as self-criticism; at other times the judgment gets directed at others, as in “my co-workers are only interested in superficial things” or “my sister is so self-absorbed that all she talks about is herself.” In both cases, an artificial barrier has been created that limits the possibility for nurturing friendships. While we can fantasize that someone, somewhere on the planet has all the same opinions, interests, likes, and dislikes that we do, we’re going to spend many lonely years waiting for that person to show up. Ultimately we make a choice to focus on those aspects that unite us with, or separate us from others.
How do we create nurturing friendships? Like all else in life, whatever we put our attention on goes stronger. If we want our friendships to blossom, we need to give what we want for ourselves. A loving, supportive relationship needs to contain five vital components for each person to feel satisfied. We can remember these aspects by using the mnemonic ADORE, which stands for Accept, Demonstrate, Open, Receive, and Express.
Accept Yourself, Accept Others
Self-acceptance allows us to be ourselves in the presence of others.True friendship can develop when we recognize that there is more than one way to live a life. Our differences are the basis of passion. I have serious and silly sides, wise and foolish parts of my nature. The more I can accept all these flavors in my personality, the more I can accept these qualities in you. When you hear the voice of judgment or comparison shouting in your head, ask what the voice is saying about you.
Demonstrate Your Caring
People know that we care about them through our words and deeds.Since most of us haven’t mastered mental telepathy, we need to demonstrate our appreciation and affection. Small gestures such as an unexpected phone call or a kind note or baking a cake can carry just as much weight as big ones. Like all mammals, adult human beings thrive when they are lovingly touched. Actively show your love for your close friends with physical affection such as a warm hug, a neck rub, or a shoulder massage.
Open Your Heart
Maintaining the right balance between openness and protection is the major challenge of human beings in relationships. If you have your defenses on high alert, you may avoid being hurt but you will certainly also avoid being loved. On the other hand, if you open your heart without discernment, you may find your tender places being trampled. If you keep your emotional guard up because you have been hurt in the past, the first step is to gently identify and release your pain. You may benefit from using the Free to Love process, which you can experience at one of our workshops or through my book Free to Love, Free to Heal. Then once you have let go of past emotional pain, begin choosing people who will tread gently in your inner sanctum. As you accept the light and dark sides of yourself, you will attract people into your life who support your expansion into wholeness rather than emotional vampires who zap your energy.
There is no difference between giving and receiving, which are both exchanges of energy. The beauty of giving is that the giver always receives and the receiver always gives. Yet many of us have grown up with a belief that it is better to give than to receive and have difficulty receiving. You can see this on a personal level. Think about giving something to someone you love. Imagine the happiness and opening that unfolds as a result of your gift. Now imagine that the intended receiver refuses to accept your offering. You would almost certainly feel disappointed, sad, and empty as a result of being unable to give something away. Giving and receiving are inextricably interwoven. Be open to receiving the love and attention of others, knowing that in accepting their affection, you are offering them something valuable in return.
Unlike family relationships, we choose our friends and they can choose us. Friends can be our clearest mirrors precisely because there is an element of choice in the relationship. Friendships enrich our lives and are deep sources of nurturing and vitality. Although you can take your friends seriously, don’t let your friendships be too serious. The essence of our self – the essence of spirit – is lightheartedness. So open your heart to your dear friends and invite in lightness, love, and joy.