Some people worry that once they embark on the path to enlightenment, they will have a hard time maintaining or developing friendships with others who live life according to different perspectives.
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The good news is that the principles of enlightenment are conducive to friendship, even if the current or new friends in question are not necessarily on the same journey. Simply living an enlightened life and applying the organic qualities of enlightenment toward your friendships can help you to form positive, healthy and fulfilling bonds.
Practice these 10 ideals when cultivating friendships and see how an enlightened perspective can make for a special, long-lasting mutual exchange of companionship.
1. Be Honest And Encourage Honesty In Return
In order to be an authentic friend, you should be comfortable with expressing your honest thoughts and feelings, even if the other party may not be in agreement with your viewpoint. Establish the balance of sharing your ideas without engaging in either overt bluntness or telling white lies in the hopes of not upsetting the status quo. In turn, encourage your friends to be honest with you as well.
2. Practice Acceptance Without Judgment
Accepting your own existence without judgment is one of the cornerstones of enlightenment and this practice should be applied to your friendships. Remember that people all face different circumstances and the true nature of being a friend is to accept others’ perspectives in a loving and open-minded manner. Resist the temptation to judge or criticize.
3. Be Sensitive To Others’ Feelings
As a person studying enlightenment, you strive to experience human emotions in their truest state of being. Sensitivity and compassion, when applied in an authentic way, can go a long way toward strengthening the bonds of friendship during difficult times. Acknowledge the feelings that your friends are expressing at any given time with an understanding nature.
4. Acknowledge And Own Your Agency
When conflict arises in a friendship, as it does from time to time, use your enlightened perspective to own your part in the disagreement. Recognize that you and your friend have individual agencies and do not pass any blame for actions in which you bear responsibility. Authentically acknowledging your role in the conflict can help to repair and enhance the friendship bond.
5. Listen Without Dictating Advice
Just as your friends may sometimes request your advice, at other times they may just need to you listen as they describe the circumstances of their lives. Though you may deeply desire to share wisdom as your friend is speaking, focus on being an actively engaged listener instead.
6. Value Your Interactions
Enlightenment is about valuing human existence and a large part of this existence involves treasuring your interactions with others. Go beyond enjoying your friends’ company and make strides to value deeply every one of them for the unique beings whom they are.
7. Offer Trust And Respect
No friendship can flourish in an authentic manner without an exchange of real trust and respect among its participants. Extend trust towardS your companions and demonstrate the ways in which you respect their contributions. In an enlightened friendship, your efforts will be returned.
8. Maintain Friendships On Equal Ground
Recognize that each of your friends is your equal in terms of humanity, and approach your interactions and exchange of ideas with this in mind. An authentic friendship does not rely on a power imbalance or feelings of superiority or inferiority in character.
9. Motivate Others To Experience Life Fully
You can integrate the ideals of enlightenment into your friendships without forcing others into a journey that they may not be prepared to undertake. Instead, live by example as a way to motivate your friends into exploring an authentic state of being for themselves.
10. Desire For Your Friends To Be Happy
With true enlightenment comes selflessness and the desire to see your loved ones experience happiness and fulfillment. Do not allow resentment, jealousy or insecurity to overtake you if a friend should find good fortune; offer your sincere happiness and strive to feel what you say genuinely.