Friendships — Source Of Soul Growth by Triza Schultz

Published with kind permission of Triza Schultz The people we surround ourselves with should not only be reflections of who we are, but reflect different qualities and experiences that inspire us to grow in the most unexpected and beautiful ways.

Think about this: All of our greatest spiritual challenges and growth occur within the realm of relationship. We start out primarily learning and experiencing relationship with our biological or primary care family. We experience an ongoing relationship with ourselves that’s reflected in our feelings of safety, self-esteem, self-worth, satisfaction, and our sense of abilities and capabilities in the world. We experience relationship within our cultures and rules of societies, communities, schools, various organizations and our diverse, yet personal spiritual pathways with the Divine. We continually have a relationship with Nature because we’re an intrinsic part of all that is of the earth. There isn’t anything that we don’t have a relationship with! Many of the types of relationships I mentioned are ones we are born or directed into. Then there are those we personally find our way to or they find their way to us. This is where friendship comes in. Among the most important and influential people we have in life are those we call our friends. We choose our friends! Initially as parents, we keep an eagle eye out for who our kid’s friends are, because we know that can be a gauge of how children feel about themselves, the strength of their developing personality, and admittedly, a reflection in part, of how our guidance and lifestyle influence their self-esteem and outlook in the world. We should never forget however, that all people are individual souls, separate from each other, who are born with their own lessons, personalities, and talents, so if one of our kids walks deep into the borders of the dark side of humanity and eventually joins up with a crime gang, while the rest of the family is loving and never got so bad as a parking ticket, or the family hallmark of professors has an offspring that is completely content with wandering and doing odd jobs, take heart! We see karmic lessons at work and both the light and the dark sides of us have something to learn from each other, or those seemingly conflicting relationships wouldn’t have been initially born. Looking back, we can easily see how our friends were a supporting backbone for our growth and joy or how they might have become the ole ball and chain if we hadn’t realized they’d served their purpose and it was time to move on because the spirit of the relationship ran dry. Who hasn’t seen the child that grew up in degrees of poverty, abuse, and ignorance with little moral family support, and went on to forge an education and career with service to humanity! We see that out of dark places, comes a light that will not be diminished under harsh odds. Our greatest spiritual and heartfelt challenges are derived from unlikely connections that appear for a specific purpose, usually destined to become detachments when the lessons of attachment and control are learned. In other words, we hopefully move on with grace. It’s a darn bumpy road sculpting a strong foundation of an awakened human being, and truly, we all have chips in our foundations that we’ll spend life cycles polishing out if we’re serious about our personal evolution. Friends play a significant role in our soul growth because they help reflect and challenge our identity as we do simultaneously for them — mirroring each other in so many ways like a prism that reflects rainbows of color. With all this in mind, what do we want from our friendships? What characteristics and values are important for us to maintain satisfying, healthy relationships? Gathered from personal experience, observation and input from friends, are the top requirements for maintaining lasting, joyful friendships:

Friends are honest, kind, trustworthy Friends do not compete with or “outdo” friends Friends make us feel safe and comfortable — we can peacefully be ourselves Friends listen to us Friends cheer our successes without jealousy or resentment Friends are the sacred keepers of our most intimate secrets Friends never bully or gossip badly about other people Friends support and understand our creative interests and work Friends respect our personal spiritual values and experiences Friends help us grow and expand through their diverse cultural and spiritual practices Friends don’t try to change us Friends energize us — never deplete us Friends don’t always agree or go along with us — (that honesty thing)

Naturally, we must equally be able to be all of these same things as someone else’s friend. That’s what soul growth in relationship is all about. I wanted to talk further about the last bullet in more detail. I think one of the qualities of a truly mature and great friend is the ability to openly disagree with us about something, as well as have the strength to compassionately tell us the truth about a weakness or unpleasant behavior we have a hard time acknowledging for ourselves. For example, we have a pattern of showing up for lunch or an event 30 minutes late. We blow in with a rumpled smile on our face and sigh, “Whew! So much going on! Time just slipped away…” How many times did our friend sit around feeling stood up and perturbed? The moment we see a pattern of repeated unacceptable behavior form, it’s prime time to kindly, yet firmly, express how we feel, and state the facts — in this case, having been late five times in a row at various events, etc. We all get the picture, right? A brief conversation needs to help clear the air and we must come to a mutual agreement about the resolution which would be to be on time going forward. Within this great diverse global mix in the 21st century of spiritual, cultural, and sexual orientation, we have never before had such wonderful opportunities to grow in an expanded awareness and understanding by cultivating a varied group of friends. Embracing diversity eliminates superstition and fear, and unifies our evolving structure of humanity. Even though as friends, we are mirrors for each other, it’s not always in the same way. There are times a friend will reflect a quality we admire, like patience. If we tend to have a lack of patience, we may want to strengthen that characteristic within ourselves. Think of a quality we particularly admire in one of our friends, and we can be sure that it is one we desire soul growth experience in. Our patient friend can help guide us. Triza SchultzThe people we surround ourselves with should not only be reflections of who we are, but reflect different qualities and experiences that inspire us to grow in the most unexpected and beautiful ways. Friendship is the basis of every good relationship and the source of our soul growth. Our dearest friendships are gifts of Divine gold. Affirmation for this month — Friendship The gift of friendship is a sacred bond. I hold true friendship in the space of joy, integrity, gratitude, and love, knowing that whatever I give to relationship, I receive in soul growth. Live in beauty and be well – Triza Schultz

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by Triza Schultz
"I ended a 26 year corporate HR consulting career in 1997 to follow my path as a spiritual guide, writer, and artist. During that transition, I published my book, “The Fear Standard — A Guide And Personal Journey to Regain Our Intuitive Spirit.” In 2005, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I view this challenge as a gift and the medium from which deeply emotional, spiritual, and physical healings and insights are distilled. I realized that the greatest pain one can endure is also the point of departure to the greatest love. Fear in all its many facets is truly a spiritual matter - and love has the final word."