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This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

There's a Limit

"A friend is fun, reliable, and  reciprocal."  One person's definition of what a friend is or, should be. What's yours?
Here's someone else's thought about friendship:  "People throw around the word friendship like it's nothing.  Friend is a big word.  I don't call someone a friend easily.  A true friend is rare and to treasure."  
We sure are reminded, when we lose a friend, how important a role they played in our life. It's exciting to make a new friend.  Long-term friends have, however, a special value---that of being witness to your life---of being there to see you go through various changes and stages in your process.
Friends offer affection, distraction when we are troubled, feedback-suggestions-tips-comfort-and advice.  A few rare friends can provide wise counsel.
But, here is where a little caution is good to remember.  In those times, when your life is in real turmoil, some friends, albeit well-intentioned, can stir the pot even more.

For example, how about a fragile relationship between adult siblings and a friend says to one:  'It's so good to hear you say something nice about your sister.'  Maybe that leads to an internal re-hash of all the reasons there've been to complain.  The friend's well-intentioned remark was aimed at encouraging the relationship but, back-fired.

Another difficulty with expecting counseling from friends or relatives is that they are not objective; they have a personal interest, an 'ax to grind' or as one patient described it, as we discussed this issue, " agenda of their own."

When you find yourself with a major conflict, a prolonged presence of a problem in your life, or any experience that seems too much for you to contain and master yourself, consider consulting a therapist.   A therapist usually begins with a new patient with a neutral or sympathetique attitude, often develops genuine concern and caring over time but, always tries to maintain some objectivity and a view of the whole picture.  At the least, you can count on a therapist to listen a lot and to think carefully before speaking to you about yourself or your issues.  Therapists are fallible humans and can make mistakes-no doubt about it, but, by and large, this is how it should go.  Remember, even from a selfish point of view, the best outcome for you is in the therapist's best interests.  This is especially true of those in private practice as their livelihood depends on their reputation.  Consistently doing good work is the best advertisement.

Credit:  Second quote:  Larry Gray

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