A few years ago, a good friend of mine gave me a great gift, although, like many of the precious gifts in our lives, it was at first cleverly disguised.
I was sitting in my office and struggling with an issue that was consuming much of my time and energy.
My friend walked in and, sensing that I was not myself, asked me what was wrong.
“Nothing”, I said. “I just have some things on my mind.”
He stood there for a moment and then to my surprise he blurted out, “You know you’re really selfish sometimes!”
“Oh great”, I thought to myself. “This is all I need right now.”
So, I put down what I was doing and sarcastically asked him why he thought I was so selfish.
“How many times have you helped me when I was down?” he asked.
“Many times,” I said.
“That’s right”, he said. “And how does it make you feel when you help me?”
“It feels good, I always like to help you when I can.”
“Exactly, and right now I have an opportunity to help you and feel good as well, but you won’t let me. That’s why you’re selfish.”
“Wow”, I thought to myself, he was right. I was indeed being selfish, albeit unwittingly.
I let it sink in for a moment and then smiled and said, “OK, my friend, close the door.”
Muhammad Ali once said: “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
For many years, I thought that being a good friend meant doing my best to support the people I care for and being there for them when they need me.
Like the saying goes, it’s better to give than to receive.
That day, I learned that there are also times in life when being a good friend means sharing my own struggles with the people I love and simply letting them be there for me.
I realized that to open up and receive love is, in another way, another form of giving love.
What are your thoughts? (comments below)