I’d like to apologize to one of my best friends. Looking back, I realized that I have not been such a good friend to her. These are but a few examples. Prepare yourselves… it’s bad!
When she shared her most precious dreams with me, instead of encouraging her, I filled her with fear and doubts. “But, aren’t you aiming too high, friend?” I’d ask. “Are YOU fit for that? Be careful! Maybe this is not for you, friend… forget it!” Well, I thought I was saving her from disappointment, but I was killing her dreams.
When she told me of her plans to change, inside of me I laughed in disbelief. In a skeptical tone, I reminded her of the many times she’d tried to change and failed. Why would this time be any different? I thought I was helping her be realistic, but, in fact, I was keeping her a prisoner to her mistakes.
When she would try to speak up and give an opinion, I would shush her. “Better not,” I’d say. “What if you say something to embarrass yourself? You never know what people are going to think. What if they judge you? You’re better off quiet, friend.” I thought I was sparing her shame, but I was silencing her voice.
When she made mistakes, I made sure she never forgot them. I thought if she always remembered them, she’d never commit them again. Everyday I’d point out her mistakes. I thought I was teaching her to be a better person, but I was making her pay for something her Lord had already paid for.
After a lot years of this bad treatment, she finally had enough and found the courage to tell me how she felt. She told me that if I wanted to continue being friends with her, I had to change the way I was treating her. She wasn’t going to accept this kind of treatment anymore, because she deserved better. She wasn’t going to accept being friends with someone who put her down like that anymore. She was finally raising her standards, and anyone who called herself her friend, had to treat her with dignity and respect.
When I heard her say, I was very shocked. It finally hit me how much of a bad, negative friend I had been. I was heartbroken to realize how much pain I had caused. My intensions were good, but what I did was horrible. But, while I felt bad when I realized how much she suffered because of me, I also learned to respect her. I’d known her for years, but it was like I was seeing her for the first time. It was like a new woman was standing before me… the woman who stood before me understood her value! So beautiful!
“Dear friend,” I told her with a broken heart, “I am sorry! I am sorry that I did not respect you. I am sorry that I hurt you with my words and bad choices. I am sorry that I offended you so many times. I am sorry that I didn’t believe in you. I am sorry for the things that came so naturally to me, but caused you deep pain… please forgive me!” This note of apology is for my very best friend… Moti Bernardino! Yes, it’s for myself!
This year, I worked on the second most important relationship in my life, after my relationship with God… my relationship with myself! I learned to truly value myself. The penny finally dropped. I raised the bar. I decided to treat myself with the same respect and dignity that I give to others. I would never dream of saying half the things I said to myself to others. So, why is it acceptable to say those things to myself?
Now it’s your turn. How is your relationship with yourself? Maybe when you read my note, you thought, “How could she have been so mean to her friend?” But, you accept yourself to be cruel to yourself. Deep down, what have you been thinking about or telling yourself? Raise your standards and build a better relationship with yourself!
Remember, you’re stuck with yourself forever! Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to treat yourself well? If there’s anyone you value, anyone you take good care of, anyone you treat the best… it should be you!
I’ve missed sharing my experiences with you! JJJ