How To Feel An Abundance Of Love In A Friendship

I recently had an experience where I was in the company of an acquaintance whom I had come to enjoy the time we spent together. As we sat, conversing and laughing; then suddenly, she asked me a question to which I considered rather personal. I sat there, clenching tighter to the armrest of my seat. “You don’t have to tell me.” She responded, in an effort to relieve me. The moment she said those words, tears ran down my tense cheeks. You see, I knew she was wrong. The truth is I had to tell her, I had to tell her because the progress of our relationship moving from acquaintanceship to friendship, was dependant on me opening up; it was dependent on both of us opening up. I grabbed some tissue, wiped my face the best I could, and looked her straight in the eye. For a moment there, I thought I had looked straight into her soul. I saw her flaws, fears, bruises and courage; I saw HER, not just the body sitting beside me- and immediately I knew, this was someone I could confide in, because this was someone just like me- flawed, fearful, bruised and yet so courageous. So I clenched the armrest tighter, crumpled the tissue in my hands and told her my story.

Truth be told, it takes a lot of courage to open up to others. For some people it may be easier and for some it feels like moving the highest mountain. That’s because life’s experiences have left us believing that everyone will hurt you in some way and that trusting people is only ensuring yourself disappointment. Merely thinking back to my past experiences, betrayal and heartbreak moves me to tears, and I know I am not the only one. And so for the longest time of my life, I have resorted to keeping things to myself. Keeping my opinions, keeping my feelings and mostly, keeping my trust. This allowed me to meet many wonderful people, but to not quite develop quality relationships with them. While quantity is great, it will never be better than quality.

It's in moments when I put my soul on the table, not just my physical presence, but the real me; in moments when I allow myself to be vulnerable that I grew the most and felt the most abundant love given by me to others, and received from them to me. And so I offer three simple suggestions to those who wish to feel this abundant love and improve their relationships.

1. Never question the validity of your opinion, voice or story.
Others may not share the same view, but they don’t have to. What you feel strongly about is simply your own opinion. It works for you, so there is someone out there whom it will work for as well or who will relate to and be assisted by your experience. But you’ll never know unless you share.

2. Listen to your gut-feeling
We are all flawed people. Whoever you open up to will do their best to receive your story and help you through it if necessary. But understand that sometimes their best, will be less than you expect. With that in mind, follow that gut feeling you have by choosing to risk opening up to those you feel comfortable around. It will build you.

3. Let it go
Whatever has made you lose trust in people or in goodness, let it go. And whatever future experience that leads to disappointment that you will have, let it go again. We often hold on so tightly to negative experiences that we forget the numerous positive ones. You have to be motivated by an innate sense to build trust and create the good you see lacking, not be pushed by your fears. Let it go.

There are so many more bullets points that could be added to that list, but let’s start with just a few steps. I want to give you a personal promise, that if you allow these simple suggestions to guide your life and decision-making, you will grow to see so much beauty in people who you may have otherwise thought very little of. You will find so much joy, light and love that will come into your life and your relationships will be of substance, not just flimsy, fleeting pretence. The people who are worthy of your companionship will become clearly identifiable to you and you will come to know yourself better. I know this because it has happened to me. It still requires good judgment, but that all comes together when you choose to have courage.
 

SIPHILILE KHUMALO