Monday, August 22, 2011

The Power of Success & Change

Nothing changes your opinion of a friend so surely as success - yours or his.

Franklin P. JonesSaturday Evening Post, November 29, 1953
School is in session for many by now, with lots of first days being extra special - Kindergarten, High School, & College.  These are often the very beginnings of things really changing in and around them.  We start to look at ourselves and others in a new light.  And special days like that don't stop happening just because you finish school either.  New jobs, promotions, new houses, weight-loss, new relationships - all these kinds of things significantly change our lives.  But how do they change our friendships and our opinions of other people?

I know we don't like to admit it much, but it is very hard to not compare yourself to people around you.  So, if you're like me, you do it.  You shouldn't and on good days you try not to, but you still feel intimidated around the better looking people and relaxed around those who haven't quite got it as together as you do, right? Since it happens so easily and it can usually be hidden from the rest of the world, it's natural to rationalize that the split-second comparison isn't hurting anyone.  

What happens when you or someone else, a friend, experiences one of the things listed above?  Doesn't that shift the balances a bit in your comparing?  Now, someone is making MORE money than you or now you lost a lot of weight and look BETTER than them.  Or the one that hit me the hardest when I was single was when a friend (or perhaps half a dozen!) would find a boyfriend and be married before I could say the word jealous.  Regardless of the end of the spectrum you're on, this phenomenon starts to put distance between you and this friend. Success in our lives has the potential to change us and our relationships.

So, what? If you struggle with this like I do, then we need to face a few facts.  If we are taking comfort in being better than someone or resenting someone else being better, we're not loving them.  Plain and simple.  Besides the fact that we're supposed to love even our enemies as Christians, when we call someone a friend that should mean something far greater than 'liking' a few of their pictures on facebook and putting on a fake smile to hide your judgement or resentment.  

I have a difficult time communicating with those that I care about, especially when it isn't in writing, just ask my husband! And I use others as rulers all the time! So, I am especially talking to myself today.  I suspect that when I purposely engage these friendships and invest a little bit more, instead of just viewing from afar and deciding who is better, I'll find my resentment or judgement will dissolve into care and concern.  Changes and success are everywhere and friendships often get the boot first.  What are some ways that you care for friends, even when you don't have much time to invest?

On a different note, there have been a few changes (for the better I hope) around here and if you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know! Also, this website now has a facebook page where I will be sharing more relevant thoughts, tips and links.  My hope is to separate my personal facebook a bit more than it has been in the past.  So, if you'd like to stay up with my writing and ideas, like Finding the Write Balance on facebook.

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