““Who is honored? He who honors others.” – The Talmud
“As it is said, ‘For those who honor Me will I honor.’” – I Samuel 2:30
“A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once for its justness and its sincerity.” – Robert Hall
I very much appreciate a true Friend. If you would tell me the truth about anything at any time without hesitation, you are a true Friend to me.
About an hour ago, I chose to make a derogatory comment to a friend of mine about another person we are both acquainted with. It is true, I do not particularly like this other person. I could not say that I am friends with this person or support their choices or lifestyle. However, in deciding to disrespect this person with a mal-intended comment, I very much let my friend down.
He did not try to correct me in any active way; he did not declare that he might think less of me for what I had said. He did not join in and make fun of this other person whom we both happen to have developed a mutual distaste for. He was silent for a brief moment. Then he simply said, “That’s just mean.”
I thought about it for a moment. I felt instantly surprised by the situation. I was embarrassed and did not know how to respond to that. After a moment, I accepted that he was right in what he had said.
My derogatory comment was entirely unnecessary. What I said was mean and did not do anything to affect the person it was directed toward. Instead, my choice in this comment only revealed my own personal insecurities about my identity. My choice clearly showed me that I was asking for special attention from this friend.
By making such an uncharacteristically hostile comment, I was exposing my own fears and vulnerability in a very subconscious way. I was asking for my friend’s guidance in my moments of wavering faith and my awareness of my own very real personal weaknesses.
I toyed with several different responses to these truths;
ranging first from defensive (insulting her further and showing that there is truth to back up what I had said; that my intellectual ability to tear her apart by her most obvious faults made me stronger or better somehow…),
sarcastic (another way of dealing with truths I am uncomfortable with is to make light of them so they can then perceived to be less serious),
naive (what do you mean it was “mean?” I didn’t MEAN it that way…[but I did,])
faux-apologetic (yea, yea, I know it was but she’s….[insert harsh criticisms here])
and finally to the total acceptance of my own personal responsibility for having chosen to make the statement.
I thought about how my closest and dearest friends would think of me if they knew that I had chosen to make such a malicious and judgemental statement of another person for absolutely no reason.
I experienced intense personal shame for my choice in action. Instead of openly admitting to my friend that I needed special affection and attention and was feeling scared by my life, I chose to try to put down another person.
What’s more, I now felt personally degraded. I felt like a total disappointment. I felt dirty and weak and unworthy of my friend’s friendship. I didn’t feel any better or stronger or smarter at all. What’s the worst part of it all? I now even began to feel unworthy of my SELF.
While choosing to tear down others without cause or reason, there is hardly room to stand firm and tall in your own beauty, grace, and idealism. I let myself down. I let my friend down. Moreover, I let all of my OTHER friends down. I let all my acquaintances down. I let my family down. I let my community down. I let the entire world down, essentially. This is what we really do when we knowingly choose to engage in untruths and injustice. However, we can often justify these things away and forget about them…
“Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry on as if nothing happened.” – Winston Churchill
To all the people who are willing to stay strong in their ideals and uphold their dignity – even in the face of your closest friends and deepest adversaries, I say: thank you.
Thank you, dearest friends, for reminding me who I truly am and what it is I stand for. If this means opening my eyes to something that shames me, thank you for telling me so I have a better chance to change it.
Your Love of Virtue means that I literally have no choice now. If I Love You, I must listen to truth. I must learn from it.
I believe that many of you think very well of me; you tell me so often. Some people have said very kind things about me. I want these things to be true. I want to be what we need me to be. However, I can’t have anyone thinking I am perfect or flawless. I simply cannot handle the pressure.
I am flawed. I am soo flawed.
I must keep being continuously shamed and humbled, trusting that in this state of abject spiritual poverty, your absolutely Love and kindness will be there to once again lift me back up beside you. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for humbling me. Maybe one day I will deserve you. ❤