In our quest to create a rich and rewarding life, we can sometimes forget that the comfort of fulfillment that we seek is almost always preceded by a period of great discomfort.
The solutions we are looking for are usually found in the truths we continue to avoid.
Many years ago, a client of mine expressed to me that she was tired of all the pain and that all she wanted was to have good friends in her life that would never hurt her.
I found this notion perplexing. The truly great friends in my life have all shared insights at one time or another that have hurt me, sometimes quite badly.
Their intention, of course, was not to cause me pain, but simply to illuminate a truth that I was unable to see in that moment.
To my client, it seemed that a good friend is someone who simply consoles her and makes her feel better about herself by suggesting that everything is OK.
In other words, she gets to maintain the image that she is still a good person and simply a victim of circumstance.
Although her goal of comfort and support is achieved in the moment of her struggle, does it really serve her in the long run?
French philosopher Denis Diderot once wrote: “We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little a truth we find bitter.”
Truth can indeed be quite bitter, and humble pie is definitely an acquired taste. Yet once we develop a taste for it, there is no dessert more appealing.
Many of us want to believe that we have very little choice about what occurs in our daily lives. We get a strange sense of comfort from the notion that things are simply happening to us and beyond our control.
Over time, however, rather than providing us comfort, it does quite the opposite.
We become less comfortable with this perceived unpredictability of life and our sense of safety diminishes with each passing day.
Understanding that we are always at a point of choice is an important truth to entertain, if we truly want to begin creating a fulfilling experience of life.
But in our moments of pain there are times, as they say, when we can’t see the forest for the trees.
It sometimes takes the courage of a trusted friend to share a perspective that is less than appealing to us, to help illuminate the truth that will help us create the change we wish to see. They hold us accountable, not responsible, for our own choices.
Yes, there are times when all we require is a strong shoulder to cry on and a safe place to express our pain.
But if we stay there without being accountable, it can actually keep us stuck by unconsciously giving us permission to continue making the same choices that helped co-create our less-than-desired result.
So, the next time you have a trusted friend say something that stings a little, before rejecting it, try and entertain what they are saying, as it might be the missing piece you’ve been searching for.
For me, a great friend is someone who sometimes tells you what you don’t want to hear, so that you can be who you have always known you could be.
What are your thoughts? (comments below)