Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Judge Not ...

When it comes to friends, I cannot begin to encompass my gratitude in words. It is a tired, worn out phrase but it is true. "I have friends that feel like family. And family that feel like friends." It is a vicious circle of wonder that I will never grow tired of wondering ... how in the world I got so lucky.

A friend and I were marvelling over the amazing 'Circle of Friendship' we share within a small group of us that met in 1990. Out of that group of people that were thrown together by chance, I remain in close contact with five of them and a little more arm's length contact with a few more.

There is a core group of us that could be sisters. We share a completely unconditional and unending bond of support. We are each other's cheer leading squad. Good, bad or anything in between ... we are simply there for each other. Whether we are sitting across the table or across the country from each other ... no matter how long it has been between visits ... we seamlessly pick up from where we last left off and carry on.

These friendships have survived career changes, retirement, moves, babies, teens, divorces, remarriages, health challenges, loss ... you name it. We've (between the group of us) walked through it. Together. We may have had some lean years when the visits were pretty sporadic or non-existent. But the moment we gathered and reconnected again, we were off and running. Stronger than ever before.

Just last week, my friend and I wondered aloud what it was that made this all work. Jealousy, envy, competition and comparing are not a factor in this friendship. Never has. Never will be. Unyielding support is what we share. The ability to let our guard down and talk freely, knowing that confidences will be kept and you are safe to say anything.

When I read this quote this morning, I knew that Theodore knew exactly what we were trying to put into words:

"Comparison is the thief of joy" ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I know people who 'keep score' within their lives ... and I do not see the joy factor as a part of their day-to-day life. It is actually very sad to see, because (from where I sit) it is though they are sabotaging their own happiness.

Relationships among the people in your life work for a various number of reasons. But I truly believe that if you are genuinely happy for whatever 'the other guy' has ... or has achieved in their lives, you will feel more joy in your life.

I have seen outward appearances mask an infinite amount of 'lacking' in many of those that I know. Do not envy that which someone else has ... you will never know the true cost of what appears to be so perfect. We do not know what goes on behind the closed doors of another person's life. What appears to be perfect is often the face that they choose to show the world.

Go and enjoy your imperfect life today. Know that you are not alone in whatever this day has to offer. Be gentle with your (unvoiced) criticisms and generous (sing it out loud for the world to hear) with your praise. You will never know the difference you may make in another person's day ... simply by spreading simple acts of kindness.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged" (a misquoted verse) ~ Matthew 7:1

(Heed Theodore Roosevelt's sage advice as well and 'Compare not, lest you risk the loss of great joy')

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