Each of us goes through challenging periods in our lives, times of struggle and pain. If we’re lucky, we count one or two trusted comrades among our friends. Folks who are able to see us and hear us –because the truth is that we all need to be seen and heard, especially in times of trouble.
And in fact, we count on each other to grow. Truly, no one is an island. We are interdependent. We really do need one another to help us see the truth in our experience, a view we might be too close to see.
I’m quite taken with writer Mark Nepo and his concept of “honest conversation.” He points out that “authentic dialogue is needed to glimpse the enduring truths of life.”
This is, in fact, the chief responsibility of friendship, in my opinion.
Oh, I don’t mean “business friendships” or “social media friendships.” I mean the down and dirty business of being a good and trusted friend to someone.
I don’t mean giving someone a difficult critique, either. I mean dialogue that evolves when two friends are having a heart discussion. When one friend acts as a mirror to the other, showing them what they, themselves, can not see. Both struggles and joys.
It is a really big deal to be seen and heard without judgment.
“The wholehearted acknowledgment of each other’s journey is at the heart of all therapy,” Nepo points out. I am a fan of therapy and also believe that sometimes, honest dialogue with a friend can be a helpful adjunct to therapy. Of course, we are NOT therapists, we are friends, and that’s an important distinction.
Nonetheless, this post is meant to acknowledge and honor the people in my life who hold my confidences in their vault and who reflect back to me hard truths and happy times in equal measure. If you’d like to honor your trusted tribe in the Comments, go right ahead!