“I have this dream of being best friends with everyone in the world. I’ve also always been a proponent of using the word “love” more in everyday life. People in general are just a little more scared to use it I guess.”
Those words were from one of the first e-mails exchanged with who is now one of the best friends I’ve ever had. We were just getting to know each other, and he surprised me with saying exactly what I try to live by – tell everyone that means something to you just how much they mean. It’s not always easy, though – these days, you need to be cool, calm, collected; develop a thick skin, hide your emotions, or the world will eat you up. I’ve always been told I’m more sensitive than most. I remember ex-boyfriends telling me to stop crying so much, friends telling me not to invest my heart so much, people telling me if I didn’t get so emotionally attached I’d save myself a lot of pain. I was talking to my friend about this again recently – I suppose we’d been talking about our resolutions and hopes for the year ahead, and in talking about my goal of filling 2011 with passion, it brought me back to the topic we’d discussed so early on. Going all in. Being as open and deep as possible, putting hearts not only on sleeves, but on lapels, buttonholes and pockets, too. Sharing absolutely everything you are without reserve, without fear of judgment. When the other person is on the same page, outside the realm of what the world may consider “normal”, that connection with another human being can be magical. No wonder we became such fast friends.
Less than 8 months ago, some of the people I now hold dearest in my heart weren’t even in my life yet. Now, I couldn’t imagine life without them. I’d like to think I went all in with them, too – and if you’ve been reading for a while, I tend to do the same thing here. Put absolutely everything out there because that way, the ones who stick around know the real you. I thrive on interpersonal connection – not simply having people around all the time, but having a select few with whom you can share the very depths of your soul. I think as we grow up, we tend to believe what we see all around us – that quantity is better than quality: more money, more nights out, more followers, and more Facebook friends equates to a more successful life. We skip the quality in favour of accumulating more quantitatively because that’s what’s normal. We’ll send text messages rather than picking up the phone; choosing the lifeless and ambiguous messages of 140 characters over the real emotion of someone’s voice. We’ll spend hours online rather than visiting a relative, or experiencing the world. We’ll get together for coffee with a friend and talk about work, relationships, or books, but we won’t talk about how grateful we are just to have them in our lives. We’ll say our goodbyes and leave without a hug. We’ll post status updates and Tweet about everything going on in our lives, we’ll blog about ourselves and talk some more, but we won’t listen. We won’t use the technology created to make us feel more connected to actually… connect. As a group of last year’s troubadours so aptly put it, we are the Battery Human.
I feel so passionately about making the most of the time we’re given, knowing it could all be taken away tomorrow. So, at the risk of defying social normalcies and at the risk of having it trampled, I put my heart out openly to anyone who enters my life, and give it freely to those who stay. It’s taken a beating over the years, and it’s probably got a few more battle scars to come along the way, but at least, at the end of it all, I can say I lived without reserve. I used up all the love I had and spread it to everyone who mattered. Because what good is having amazing people in your life if you never let them know how you feel? If your best friend, or a beloved relative were to be gone tomorrow, if they’ve had any sort of impact on your life at all, if they’ve ever been there for you through something tough, or if they’ve ever encouraged to believe in yourself or follow a dream… the best way to say thank you is to just be honest. Pour your heart out to your loved ones and let them know how much they mean. One of mine did this for me, recently, and it left me totally speechless; all the words I couldn’t voice bundled themselves together, launching themselves in streams from my eyes instead. A very dear blog friend I’ve yet to meet in person did it again today. Words truly cannot do justice to the feeling of warmth and appreciation I felt in reading these posts. People don’t do that, these days, tell each other they’re loved. People keep their hearts in cages locked tight by the fear of what other people may think. And to see someone offer such displays of friendship and emotion felt incredible, and I was left with a sense of deep gratitude, of true blessing, of real worth, and a sense that I want absolutely everyone I care about to feel the same way. They say that to the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world. If there’s anyone like that in your life, why not take a moment to tell them?
I hope my friend continues his dream of being best friends with everyone in the world. If you have a friend, why not give them the very best you can? I hope he continues to use the word “love” more in everyday life, too. I’m going to try to do the same. People may be scared to use it, but I don’t think anybody in the world wouldn’t appreciate… feeling appreciated.