We want people to accept us, it is a fact of human nature. Time and again you hear people sharing the same thought on friendship, “I want a friend that accepts who I am”. That sounds noble and uplifting enough, but let’s take a deeper look into that idea. Think about examples of people for whom nothing is ever expected. What becomes of the child whose parents give them everything, yet don’t expect anything?
Your dog Max accepts you, and so does a car salesman, or even a drug dealer. The question remains, “is that enough?”. I say no. Personally, I want to have friends that accept me the way I am, but love me enough to not let me stay that way. I want friends that will smack me over the head when I buy a 36″ TV on credit while having no income. I want a friend who calls me to task when I am not a man of my word. Someone who tells me I am not being patient with my son. Friends who are willing to step in and take your keys when they think you have had too much to drink. These are the types of friends that challenge us and help us grow. These are the types of friends that you need around when you are climbing out of $70,000 in debt. These are the types of friends that surround successful people.
Acceptance is not enough, real friends want the best possible life for us. Not the best life they think we should have, but the best life for us. I didn’t marry my wife, because she was the same as me, or because she is beautiful (although she is darn beautiful). I married her because she opens up my world, makes me see the world in new ways, and challenges me, but always always wants the best for me.
The real challenge is to evaluate your relationships, not only by how much they let you be you, but also how much they want you to experience the best. These type of relationships, like most things in this world, don’t start with other people, but with ourselves. We need to invite this type of accountability and friendship.
- Be willing to take all criticism, whether right or wrong, and respond positively.
- Be honest and open up about your dark sides.
- Truly value other’s opinion. People won’t share if they don’t think you’ll care, or if it will break down the relationship.
- Finally, we need to be able to lovingly accept others the way they are, and encourage them to change (if they want it).
Related Reading : Scott Young’s 10 Steps to Honest Feedback