Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. -Oprah Winfrey
A good friend is a staunch supporter, an honest advisor who challenges us to pursue our dreams and be our absolute best. The value of friendship cannot be overstated, because the people we surround ourselves with undeniably affect our mood, our consciousness, and our life choices. Keep these friends close. But what about those other friends? You know who I’m talking about, the toxic friends.
According to a recent study, 84% of women and 75% of men say they’ve had a toxic friend at some point in their lives. Toxic friendships can be defined by a few characteristics:
If you recognize any of these characteristics in your friend’s behavior it may be time to rethink that relationship. Everyone goes through bad times now and then, and we need our friends to stand by us, in our short periods of self-absorbed negativity. If the bad times become the norm, you should think about ways to distance yourself from this person. It’s important to surround yourself by the right people, as illustrated in this passage:
“A person should only live in a place where men of action live. For what reason? Woe unto the person who dwells among the wicked, for he is caught in their sins. And if he dwells among the righteous, he is dealt? well with due to their merit.” – The Zohar, Bo, Verse 138
Friendships are something that we’re all seeking, that are always changing, that always evolve, and when they’re right, they’re amazing. These types of friendships deserve our attention and nourishment. The spiritual core reason for friendship is that it can, and is meant to, help us change and evolve. Friends are people who call us on our issues, who push us to grow, and who support us in this process. We cannot overestimate how important good friends are to our growth in life.
A friend is capable of having the same depth of empathy for you that they have for their own feelings. This is the prerequisite for the assistance from above: both parties in the relationship must truly feel selfless love for one another. There’s a parable that expresses this idea called Please Let Me Die For You.
Hundreds of years ago, there was a man who did something for which the king condemned him to death. After hearing the sentence, the man turned to the king and asked, “Could I please have a week to put my affairs in order?”
The king replied, “I would like to grant you this wish, but I am concerned that you will not return to face your sentence, that you will run away. If you can find somebody who will stay in your place while I set you free for a week to put your affairs in order, I will let you go. But bear in mind, if you are not back in time to face your sentence‚ even if you are only a minute late, I will kill your friend instead. However, if you do come back before one week is up, the sentence will be carried out on you as was intended.”
This man went to his very closest friend, whom he had loved since childhood, and asked him, “Can you please do me this favor? I need a week to put my affairs in order before the king has me executed. I need you to replace me in the jail for one week so that the king will allow me to go.” His friend replied, “Of course, I will go to jail in your place; I would do anything for you.”
The week went by, and the man put his affairs in order. But then he ran into delays on the road back and was a little late in returning to the jail. The king decided, “This man has not kept his promise, so I have no choice but to carry out his death sentence on his friend.” The guards escorted the friend to the gallows to prepare for his hanging.
Just then the man originally sentenced to death ran toward the gallows, yelling, “I’m here! I’m here! I was just a little late, but I’m here! I am the one who was sentenced to death, so I am the one who must die. Set my friend free and put me in his place.”
But the friend started yelling back, “No, the seven days have passed! According to the terms of your agreement, my friend can no longer be put to death. Now I am the one who is supposed to be put to death!” And they both started pleading their cases before the king, each begging that he should be the one put to death instead of his friend.
The king, seeing the selfless love between these two friends, called for silence. “My decree called for the death of one person, but I see that the bond between you is so complete that if I carry out the sentence, I will be killing two people. Thus I am forced to annul my original decree. You may both go free.”
“When two people achieve a level of bond of friendship or love so complete that each puts the wellbeing of the other above his, the Creator will set aside all of his other concerns in relation to these people in order to draw down Light upon them.” – Arvei Nachal
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
Take a look at your friends. Is there someone that you need to spend less time with? Then focus on your true friends, the people in your life who push you to greatness. Let them know how much they mean to you.
5 Life Lessons from the Trees (to Help You Unlock Your Potential!)
February 2, 2023