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From Old to New

By Patricia Omoqui
Recently I spent time with a client who has come to a deep realization.  She is ready for new friends.  Topics she prefers for conversations are not what her friends like—their viewpoints and interests are different.  She noticed that she seeks to support and inspire her friends, yet instead her friends tend to be focused on their negatives.

I asked her, “Where did you find these friends?” After a few moments she replied, “I met them along my path at school…at parties.  I didn’t really think about the type of person I wanted to spend time with.  So I formed friendships by default.”

Next I asked, “What do you want in a friend?” She was quiet and then said, “Wow, that’s an interesting question.  I have a general idea but I’ve never really taken the time to get specific.”

Fascinating, isn’t it?  Often we feel as if we haven’t gotten what we really want in life.  Yet, few of us have taken the time to become clear on what we truly desire.  How can we find what we really want if we aren’t fully aware of what it is?

My client understood. “If I create my list of what I’m looking for,” she said, “I guess I won’t just accept any person I meet as a friend.  I will have a reference point.  I’ll be able to make a better choice for myself.  That’s true for choosing a boyfriend too, isn’t it?” “Exactly!” I replied.  “And it’s also true for career, finances, health—everything.”

My client was unsure of how to move forward.  “I think I may have to cut my old friends off.  But I feel guilty about doing this.  They have been there for me through many tough times.  Even though they aren’t the friends I need now, I don’t want to hurt them.” She was putting tremendous pressure on herself to figure the situation out.

I encouraged her to let go the heavy burden. “This may not be as hard as you think.  The key now is to focus on WHAT you really want.  The HOW will take care of itself.  The old naturally begins to fall away as we move toward the new.”

She thought for a few minutes, “You’re right.  Already one of my friends who used to text me hasn’t been texting or calling.  We just don’t have much in common anymore.  It seems we are gradually moving in different directions.  But we still care about each other.”

Life is a continual flux.  Our outer changes spring from our inner ones.  As I change my thoughts, I change my life.  When we relax into who we are becoming and just follow our path, external changes simply unfold.
She expressed relief, “I’ve been so worried about how I was going to tell them goodbye.  I’m glad I don’t have to force this process.  So what’s next?”

Here are suggestions I shared with her.

1. Get clear on what you want.  Because life is growth, it is normal to feel an inner yearning for change.  In most cases there is no need to take sudden, drastic action.  In fact, I recommend that you don’t DO anything until you have clarified what it is you really want.  Take time to imagine and explore.  In the case of finding new friends, get out a piece of paper and begin to answer the following questions.  (I’m providing some possibilities to spark your thinking):  What kind of friends do I want?

(For example, people I can connect with to have fun, someone to be a close confidante.)  What traits do they have?   (Truthful, upbeat, witty, open-minded, adventurous.)  What kinds of things do I see myself doing with them?  (Watching futbol, hanging out for the evening, volunteering in our community, exercising.)  What topics of conversation do we enjoy?  How do I feel when I am spending my time with them?

Don’t rush through these questions.  Instead, take one question each morning and pose it to yourself.  Then, see what answers pop into your mind throughout the day.  Keep all your answers on the same sheet of paper.  By week’s end you will find that you have a better picture of what you are seeking.

2. Bless the “old.” Often we hold anger or resentment toward friends we seem to have outgrown.  Rather than judging them, we can simply give thanks.  These friends have been our learning partners!  Warm, happy moments have been shared.  We’ve helped each other through hard situations.

If you find that you’ve taken a new direction, that’s okay.  You can bless these friends as you move on.  Sometimes the blessing needn’t be verbalized; instead, it can be a silent offering of gratitude and peace from your heart to theirs.  Finding new friends does not mean breaking all ties.   As a child I learned a rhyme that still serves me.  Perhaps it will help you: “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”

3. Follow your own path.  My client was opening to new possibilities.  She was drawn to try exercise, yoga, concerts and reading.  Finding the new friends she was looking for can be relatively easy.  All she needs to do is take care of herself, listen to her heart and start enjoying her new interests.  As she goes to a gym to exercise, she will meet people who value physical fitness.

As she begins to talk about what is important to her, she will find others who want to talk about the same things.  C.S. Lewis captured the spirit of friendship when he said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You, too?  I thought I was the only one.’” As you walk your path doing what brings you joy, you will be amazed to find that new friends spontaneously appear.  Express newness from within and watch as more of it is drawn to you!

4. Stay clear on what you want.   It’s human to create an intention but slip back into old habits.  Hold the vision of what you want in your awareness.  Some of us have a way of giving our time and energy to anyone who enters our lives.  If this sounds like you, you may want to keep a mental or written checklist of your vision for new friends.  Be kind to those you meet.  However, before committing yourself to a full-blown friendship, get a sense of who the person is.  If they don’t match what you are looking for, remember, there is a place in your life for friendly acquaintances as well as close friends.  We meet by chance but grow friendships by choice.

Your assignment this week is to sit in quiet for a few moments and consider your current friends.  Are you suited to each other for mutual growth and enjoyment?  If not, follow the suggestions above.  If you find that the friends you already have are just what you need, offer a prayer of celebration.  Then turn your attention to an area in your life that feels unsatisfying.  This could be career, health, recreation, creative outlets, spirituality—you know the area that needs attention.  Once you’ve identified it, use the steps above to get clear on what you want, then starting moving toward it.

If you want more support in clarifying what you want in life, sign up for my free daily, inspirational email list called Food For Thought at my website:  www.patriciaomoqui.com .  (Just go to the home page and put your email in the red box).  You can also join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter!  Hope we can connect soon.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.