July 7

Visiting the Past

July 7, 2017

Personal Growth

After diligently studying and practicing Real Love for a couple of years, Charlotte called me and said, “I’m confused and exhausted.”

“Because . . .?” I asked.

“I just visited with an old friend, Virginia, and I found myself slipping right back into old habits. Within half an hour I was gossiping, finding fault with people, using bad language, and drinking—all kinds of stuff that I’d quit doing.”

“No surprise.”

“But I know that those things never made me happy before,” she said. “Why would I do them now?”

“No doubt Virginia uses all those behaviors, yes?”

“Yes, and I used to do the same.”

“When you were with her this time, you felt a subtle pressure to be the person she remembered, and to act like she did. In no time at all, you had fallen back into old habits, which were there waiting with open arms.”

“So now what should I do? Do I avoid her? I hate to lose her as a friend.”

“Oh, I can’t tell you whether to keep her as a friend, but the first thing you told me was that your interaction with her left you confused and exhausted. So I suggest you ask yourself a couple of questions: First, do you like feeling confused and exhausted? Second, is she really a friend if you have to change who you are in order for both of you to feel comfortable with each other?”

“But she’s a good person, and we used to be so close.”

“I believe you, but you’ve both changed. I’m not saying that she’s not a good person, but her interests are not the same as yours—as you proved in your conversation. And you can’t carve out of people the parts you found desirable. You have to accept all of them as they are, or not.”

It is very common that as we align ourselves with the truth and love, meaningful friendships become increasingly difficult with people who don’t have the same values. We’re not superior to them. We’re not shunning them, We’re just recognizing that we no longer share the qualities that once drew us together. We’ll find new friends. We’ll find people who are interested in living truthful and loving lives. In the end, we won’t miss the people whose lives have diverged from our own.

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