This friendship day, let’s be friends with ourselves too. The ways of the world today have made many of us hate ourselves. Let us therefore become our best friend, an intelligent one who can tell us the difference between what we need and what we want and not just make us want what the world wants us to want; a friend who will always be there with us and never leave us with feelings of loneliness. How often have we heard people say, “I hate myself for what I am”? We have always been taught to forgive and forget but have continued to be harsh with ourselves. It’s great to have friends whom we love but it’s equally good and much needed to recognize our self worth and inculcate self respect.
Of course it takes time to build friendship with our self and work on intelligently towards respecting it. Many of us may have been insulted by many camouflaged incompetent people, who out of envy or simply their habit of putting others down caused us an almost irreparable damage. They probably did their job to perfection when planting seeds of lack of confidence in us. Well, we need to recycle that waste generated in us to get the best by unlearning self detestation and replacing it with self respect. We are not worthless, undeserving or not amiable just because we are too dark skinned or too thin or too fat or too tall or too short or just too different in all ways. We need to give time to ourselves and value ourselves.
Our intelligent inside has been neglected enough in the gathering of external friends, and we have almost forgotten that there is someone within who wants to talk to us and guide us. Many friends outside are like dots on an art paper which we keep connecting in the hope of getting a perfect picture. It often crumbles though.
This reminds me of a lovely story of a student who once went up to his Master and asked, “Teacher, tell me how many friends does a man need? Would one be enough or many are needed?” The Master smiled and pointed to an apple tree in the orchard and said, “I’ll give you the answer but before that bring me an apple from the highest branch of that tree there.” This made the student sad because the fruit was too high for him to reach. So the Master told him to take help from his friends. The student then called a friend who came readily to lend his shoulders. Standing on the shoulders of his willing friend, the student attempted to reach the target but was unsuccessful. The addition of friends began. One after another they made a pyramid to reach up to the highest branch. But the apple was yet too high to reach and the student had by now run out of friends. Also, due to exhaustion, the pyramid too crumbled.
The Master looking at the failed experiment, smiled and asked the student if he had got the answer to his question. The student nodded and said, “Yes sir, I have understood that man needs as many friends as he can to solve all kinds of problems he may face in life” and with a smile he added, “such as in this case, to reach the apple.”
The Master shook his head in disappointment and said, “Oh no! You didn’t need so many friends to reach you to the top by sacrificing their shoulders and go through physical pain. You only needed one good and smart friend who would understand that you needed a ladder!”
May be we need to think about where we are heading with the pyramids of friendships we are building today and ignoring the one inside us who is waiting to help us when we are alone. The pyramid out there looks wonderful, but will it stand the test of time or will it crumble under the weight of trials life often offers? Probably like the Master said, we need an intelligent friend; the one who is within us always and waiting to be acknowledged to help us reach the top. Perhaps we need a friend who can help us by bringing a ladder of understanding to recognize our own worth. This friendship day let us then look forward to meeting a friend who will introduce us to the one waiting in the interior to help us be acquainted with him instead of leading us to drown in a tsunami of acquaintances?