A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same. Elbert Hubbard

Lately I feel like I have been pushing a lot of people away.  I have been afraid of the accountability, afraid of their judgements, and afraid of their input.  I have worried about not being understood and I have worried about hurting people.  I have feared getting hurt myself, as well.  I think self reliance is a great thing, but, like most things, that can be taken too far.  I can honestly say that trying to go it alone has taken more peace than it has given.

Friendship is an important part of life.  There are not a lot of things in life that are worth doing alone.  But, for some reason, I have always tended to try to do things by myself.  I  have bottled things up in the past and refused to ask for help, advice, or even just a kind word when in the midst of striving towards a goal or when going through a personal tribulation.  I currently have a network of friends and family, though that can support me, and I can continue to cultivate these relationships and new ones.  Relationships are a great resource and the support they give can be the difference between failure and achieving my dreams.  Often, life really is about who I know.

There are several reasons why I have avoided seeking out support.  Somehow I tend to get to this point where I am afraid of what others will think when I ask for help or need assistance.  I become afraid of being exposed for the fraud that I sometimes feel deep down that I am.  Often times I somehow feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with my efforts and choices, and I do not want that to be exposed.  It is easier on my pride because I do not want to risk embarrassment.  Another problem that I have is that I feel that I would be burdening people with my problems if I were to ask for help.  Surely my friends and family have their own issues that they are dealing with, and I simply do not want to add more weight on their shoulders.  Other times I fail to ask for help due to hubris; in the past I have actually deceived myself into thinking that it will mean more if I pull off my dreams and conquer my challenges on my own.

My true friends are my friends because they care about me and because I care about them.  I should not be afraid to ask for their help. If I were to be honest with myself, I would realize that I am not perfect; no one is.  My friends have had just as many failures as I have had, even if they are not as apparent to me. They may have the experience or expertise to deal with whatever situation I am going through.  If I need to make a connection in order to achieve that next step in my dreams, they may be able to help make that connection.  Most importantly, though, a true friend will love and support me, even if they do not have the answer, and that is invaluable.  If they are a true friend, I will do the same for them.

It is true, my friends and family may be going through their own challenges.  That should not stop me from reaching out to them, though.  What I may find is that when I reach out to them, I may be able to help them just as much as they can help me.  Every relationship is a two way street and these opportunities to grow together by overcoming our respective challenges will do nothing but strengthen our relationship.  Friendship is not about getting something from someone else, it is about me sharing my triumphs and trials with people who love and care for me and about them sharing their triumphs and trials with me.

Friendship is a symbiotic relationship, a sharing on the deepest level.  And just incase I am still deceiving myself, what would it really matter if I achieved my dreams if I had no one to share it with afterwards?  I need other people in my life.  They need me, too.  Like most things in life, it comes down to love, and life is worthless without it.

Source. – quote Christopher McCandless, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer 

A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once for its justness and its sincerity.  – Robert Hall