“In the act of self-gift, the human person answers the question “Who am I?” through the experience of love. Love is the experience of freedom lived for the good of the other, the goods that make for genuine human flourishing.”
Through the relationships and encounters I have had with different people throughout my life, there was one thing that struck me that seemed to be common to most, if not all, people – First, everyone, one way or another, has the instinctual need to relate to someone, to share the joys as well as the struggles in life and second, everyone has the capacity to be this someone to somebody, although some appeal to more than others.
There is nothing like being loved by the people you know who love you. Your mom or dad or whoever has taken their place, your siblings, cousins, and friends – what a joy it is to know that your relationship to someone is founded on and stands on love! In this write-up, however, I will focus on our friends. These are mere opinions I have on matters of friendship, although I stand for its truth in practicality for it has held its ground, if not reinforced, through the numerous and various circumstances in relation to people’s encounters that I have experienced to this present day.
Now, we sometimes tend to modify our behavior for the sake of pleasing our friends or so that we do not offend them. This is good, especially when these behaviors are otherwise a hindrance to the achievement of our best potentials. However, what happens if we do commit actions that are against our good and the good of others? Does this justify the ending of a friendship or could it be used to all the more build the friendship deeper and further reinforce it?
Personally, I choose the latter over the former. It is very important to understand that friendship is good, but that it is not only for the good times. In fact, friendships are one of the few treasures (and for some the only) that can help find the light that leads to a new life, a new beginning when everything seems to be lost or gone – through the support of that friend who loves you truly, a friend who loves you more for your defects than your so-called perfection, a friend who stays with you at your times of sadness and failures and strives for you to pick yourself up and achieve excellence, with you.
There were instances where I have made mistakes against my own beliefs and my friends’ and I thought that the friendship between us would be over, but what happened was the opposite. They have come to love me more, not because I have committed such fault, but because they knew me more, they knew how I was a person struggling to be the best of myself, just like them! We now related on a “deeper” level, we now knew each other’s flaws but that has only made us keep each other’s back and push each other to our best capacities. It has made us true friends.
Being a true friend is an act of self-gift, an act that entails putting the needs of others above our own, an act of self-sacrifice. As much as we’d think we’re always at the losing end of the equation, let us not forget that friendship, in its truest sense, is the act of mutual self-gift between the individuals in the relationship, bringing the best out of each other.
At the end of the day, we can say that friends, true friends, in the most basic sense, are two people mutually practicing “self-gift” towards one another, aspiring excellence for each other.
In today’s increasingly connected and at the same time increasingly isolating world, we are all in need of true friends. Friends who are truly there for us and not just there for the social-media-worthy posts and the like (you know what I mean). Let us remember our friends – call them, grab a meal with them, catch up over a drink – and not take them for granted and let us also make new ones! Let us all be a friend to those around us and let us bring out the best of ourselves and our friends’!
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Published: Nov. 25, 2019
Written by Jayj Velez, a New York Headquarters intern from the Philippines
The WYA internship program is a great way to build authentic friendships with people from all over the world. Interested in taking an internship with us? Applications are now open for the 2020 internship program .