By Dr. Peter Kalellis

This article proposes the idea that you and I take a personal inner journey whose purpose will be to find out how we could be good friends. My hope is that you would allow me to be your companion in this journey that we may both learn about the true meaning of friendship. As we get deeper into the concept of friendship, we will learn who we are and how to be good friends. The hope is to accept and respond to a person who wants to be our friend. And to reveal a friendly attitude that the other person may find attractive and respond favorably. The experience can bring us joy and inner contentment. In taking a deep look into our non-physical self, our soul, where the real self-abides, we may discover the need and value of true friendship.

Life is life, and it can be great, and it can be cherished every moment as we faithfully follow and listen to that inner voice, the whisper of our soul. Trusting that inner voice would lead us through this journey to potential new opportunities as we experience the joy of friendship. To know our inner self enables one to be a friend, and that enriches our life with motivation, values, visions, and goals. Not what we have been told by others, but what we have discovered for ourselves. Knowing our inner self well requires a high level of introspection and self-awareness. At the same time, the process of discovery never ends—it’s a life-long journey, a daily unfolding. As an ancient Greek axiom suggests, “Get deeper into yourself and learn from yourself what you must do and how to be.” We need to listen to our inner self, our soul which is a particle of divinity within us. Our self-image is crucial—how we perceive, how we respect and love our self will determine our interaction with other people and whether we can be friendly and feel the joy offered by someone else who wishes to be our friend. You may still get certain moments in your life where you face some difficult problem and even when you see the next logical step to the resolution; you still hesitate to take action. Think of a time when your true self suggests you should do something, yet you are aware that you cannot do anything. Personal reasons or pressures imposed by the environment can prevent you from taking action.

An example could be when a serious disagreement starts and slowly culminates with your parents or your spouse, a sibling or a dear friend. Although, deep inside you feel and you know that you are wrong, you find yourself unable to get out of this argument. Your thoughts could be “if I give in now, this would show I’m a weak person and I don’t like that feeling.” This example applies when there is a disagreement with a friend. If you feel the same way, if I give in now, this would show I’m a weak person, you would be distancing yourself from any friend. In such a situation we need to be aware that we rediscover our character. Then the question: How many personal character features do we know and accept? What do we think of our true self, our self-growth and of our personal development? Efforts to be a friend or to have a friend are entirely dependent on how well we know our self and how we feel about our personality. Judging our self excessively is damaging to our self-image, and we may have a hard time being a friend or accepting a real friend in our life.

Acceptance will help you to modify aspects of your behavior because of the demands of reality. In accepting yourselves you may feel a gentle urge to change, not because there is something wrong with you, but because your soul knows that there is more for you to live for, more for you to enjoy. Sometimes what you consciously wish to change may be your behavior or your attitude. Although for some time they served you well in your past, today they serve no purpose, they may even hurt you. Demons in full force will fog your mind and tell you that you are weak and worthless and that death is your destiny. You may wrestle with these demons of self-criticism and negative injunctions. But you don’t need to join them, for their intention is to deprive you from the truth and keep you from being happy.

Your time has come to forgive yourselves for things about which you feel guilty, inadequate, or responsible and be of good cheer for being unconditionally forgiven and accepted by God. Accept and receive yourselves in your entirety without exception and rejoice. Take charge of your life, and I shall be your pilot in your new journey. Gradually, return to your inner self, your soul and realize that everything in this world has a purpose. As you explore your inner resources, you will discover that you have an abundance of positive qualities than you can possibly imagine. If you feel even for a moment that your personal life has no purpose, this could be your moment to create one. Nobody else will do it for you. This is your human prerogative and obligation. Go for it, and I will enable you in the best way possible to find the path that you should follow.

Be humble in our aspirations and realistic in your expectations of yourselves and others. We may not be aware what is really good for you. To combat negative influences and have total acceptance of self is an ongoing process of persistence and perseverance. Patiently approach life, seeking out in your environment people and situations that may be nurturing, and do things that you love doing. Warm your heart with love and reach out to give love to others. You may learn from them something of benefit. As you interact with other people you will rediscover your own capacity of love. Take a few minutes each day and start loving those who are close to you - your spouse, your parents, your family, your siblings, your children, your friends or people that you work with. Even in your circle of colleagues, many would be soothed and healed by the tenderness of your love.

Dr. Peter M. Kalellis is a psychotherapist, marriage and family therapist, lecturer, and writer. He has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is the author of many books. He maintains his practice in Westfield, New Jersey.