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Flourishing Friendships

A true friend is a priceless treasure. Over the years my perception and definition of friendship has evolved and changed. I used to believe that the more friends I had the better. There was a time in my life when I had a large amount of friends. During that time, I began to realize that each one knew a different “aspect” or “side” of me and I had very few that knew the whole me.

Shortly after this realization, I went through a season of refining. As my walls of protection, perfectionism and insecurity came down, I found myself being vulnerable and confident with a few friends that have since been my best and cherished friends. These friendships have flourished and grown. The years have come and gone and I realized this past weekend that some of my deepest friendships have been in my life for over 25 years!

Then there is the “new” friend of just a year or a few months, that feels like I have known them my whole life. As I ponder this phenomena, I celebrate the fact that I have made the choice to embrace new skills that help me to be authentic, listen, give and receive and celebrate life’s surprise of personalities. These skills are enhanced by my Positive Psychology research stating the three ingredients for transition from connection to friendship are: self-disclosure and sharing of the heart, which means letting others get a glimpse of “me” (intimacy), second, mutual understanding and caring, and third, vulnerability. This reinforces the foundation of the scientific study of wellness: Other people matter.

Every day, as I write what I am grateful for, I express thanks for the long-life friends that bring joy and security and for the new, refreshing friends that add spice to my life. Both are valuable. Both are cherished.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother born for a time of adversity.

Proverbs: 17:17

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