Building Connections that Matter

 

Rear View of Group of Friends Hugging

Everything in life begins with connection. In each moment, we are choosing to join or separate – to connect or disconnect – and the person to whom we’re speaking feels what we have chosen regardless of our words.

What makes relationships challenging often comes down to one factor – we build the relationship from the outside in, believing something we want is not happening because of someone else who is outside of us. We must learn to connect first with ourselves and create a relationship from the inside out. These are what I believed in: building heart-to-heart connections is that even though it takes two people to create a relationship, the responsibility for connecting starts with you; and that everything depends on your level of awareness.

Relationships begin with being at peace with yourself – having a connection with yourself that nothing can break from the outside. Other people become a reflection of the loving, kind, peaceful relationship you have with yourself. You cannot receive what you cannot give. The scenery out there reflects the situation in here. Working from the outside in, more often than not, will fall short of the ideal, and leads to frustration, conflict and lack of fulfilment in the end.

We can choose to connect with another person or not, but we cannot choose to disconnect with ourselves. Many people are uncomfortable with this truth – they spend vast amounts of time trying to escape themselves, with all kinds of activities, work and distractions.

For many, their sense of self is ego-based. Individual egos have self-centered aims, tastes, desires, opinions, likes or dislikes. The very construct of the ego brings with it a built in conflict with other egos. If you think about it, it’s surprising that separate egos, each with their own set of rules and agendas, ever get together in the first place. When they do, their connections always risk unravelling because each ego is primarily tied with what it wants. 

To my opinion, the true self is a state of awareness, not a thing, mood, sensation or feeling. All it takes is a shift in awareness to discover that love, peace and lack of conflict exist inside of us, and have the power to change any situation. Indeed, the values you most cherish are not something to seek out and find. They are something that have always belonged to you. The only thing you need to do is recognise them.

Photo source: business2community.com

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Friendship Demands Truth

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These past few days, my wife and I had been making plans to meet up with some friends we haven’t seen  for quite sometime now. Trips are already booked. We are (I mean, my wife is) finalizing the plans once we get to the place of one of our friends whom we are visiting and we’ll be staying with during said trip. Purpose of the visit: to catch some time together and rekindle the fires of friendship that had gone cold over the years of limited communications. How time has swiftly passed us all, leaving us missing each other and the memories of the times we’ve shared together. 

There are friendships that serve as wallflowers and there are those that remain true no matter what. This post is dedicated to one of the basic truths about friendship. Forget about the sweet, soft and cheesy ones for a while, let’s take it to the core and talk about the  bones — the hard stuff that holds friendship stand steadfast and strong — Truth.

What does it mean to be a friend — to be kind to another human being? We are taught in this culture that being kind means not making another person feel bad. We are conditioned to believe that it is virtuous to hide our strengths to save another from experiencing their weaknesses, to deny our blessings so that another avoids feeling their sorrows. Is this kindness? Is this friendship — to put away our truth so as to save another from experiencing their own truth — which might be sad? If this is true friendship, it is of an odd sort — true friendship that does not include the truth. Hiding the truth may keep a relationship going smoothly, but going smoothly is a paltry goal for such a precious and profound entity as friendship. When we choose smooth sailing over truth, we underestimate the weight that friendship can hold; we dishonor the very substance from which friendship is made. Are we so afraid of suffering as to be willing to sacrifice even friendship in order to avoid it?

To be a true friend is not to pretend that we don’t have different experiences in life, don’t receive different blessings and challenges. It is not to pretend that life is fair. A friendship that creates a shared experience at the lowest common denominator is not a friendship, but rather some kind of hiding place from life. We don’t need more hiding places. What we need are more foxhole buddies, true friends who can keep us company in the truth, and in the hard parts, where life isn’t okay or fair.

In truth, we do not need more ways to skirt the sorrows that are part of life, more strategies for keeping the waters smooth. What we need are friends who can accompany us through the bumpy and different truths of life. True friendship is about meeting in the place of truth, and loving and supporting each other there. Anything else is just a paler shade of polite.

I guess that’s where our (my wife and I) relationships with our friends was grounded and has grown over the years.

What are your thoughts about friendship?

Photo credits: quoteslife101.net

A Homeless Man’s Home

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A homeless man with his dog

“Home”, a simple yet meaningful word, full of life and limitless interpretations of what an ideal or perfect place of residence consists of. One may ask, what makes a house a home? This question, however, cannot be answered simply, for there are countless perceptions of what having a home really means. A man and his dog may be homeless, with absolutely nothing at their disposal, yet still feel like they have a home. This man may work hard all day, searching, scrounging, and collecting supplies, yet despite his efforts, find nothing. The man, however, is not discouraged nor does he find himself feeling hopeless, because at the end of the day, he has a home to come back to. Any area on this planet is a home to him, as long as he has his best friend and his greatest supporter, his dog, right by his side. The man has never treated another human being with corruptive intentions, he has never committed a crime, and he has never complained about any situation he has ever faced, yet he lives a life most others would dread. Why is this? Why does this man feel at home when he lives without a house? A different man may live in an apartment, a house, or even a mansion, yet still feel like he has no home. This same man may live in a house full of luxury items, but at the end of the day, feel homeless. A man with almost nothing can live a better life than a man with almost everything. So what makes a house a home? Well it all depends on who the person is. You could give a man a house worth millions, and he’ll be disappointed. You could give another man a house worth hundreds and he’ll be thanking you for the rest of his life. The contents within the house do not matter, but who you share it with does. Family, friendship, and love can provide a home for anyone on this planet. Whether you are rich, poor, healthy, sick, black, white, old, or young these are necessary for having a home. No matter how nice your house is, you are not at home until you have something money can’t buy. It is unknown whether or not the homeless man and his dog will be successful in life, but despite whatever happens in the end, he has lived a content life, with a home he loved. Is the homeless man really homeless? In my eyes, this man has a home that most of us could only dream of.

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com