Sometimes it’s hard to know who is really a friend. Perhaps because as we grow and change so do the people around us. Sometimes we grow together; sometimes we grow apart. Some people celebrate with us as we change; some people harbor resentment, jealousy, personal insecurities . . . many things that make it easier to downplay our success rather than join in our happiness. Worse, are those that seem to be celebrating with us, but only to our faces.
When you face a potential life-altering moment, as I did when I stood on the line between healthy and diabetic, you begin to see who around you is really a friend. For me this experience came while driving to Portland with a friend, a real friend.
My diagnosis had come back as borderline diabetic a few months previously. I had mentioned my need to “get it together” to many people. Usually I got nice compliments like, “No, I can’t believe it, you look fine”, “How could that be, you’re so athletic”, “You should retest, you eat so well and work out regularly”. These all seemed reassuring that my diagnosis wasn’t a big deal. But then that fateful trip happened.
As we drove along I relayed the information from the doctor. For the first time, this friend didn’t compliment me or placate me. She dang near screamed at me for not taking it seriously. I got a lecture on how diabetes is FOREVER, how I had it within my control to solve this issue and what the hell was I doing . . . nothing! She was right. And, more importantly, she was the first friend who actually put my well-being as the priority. It isn’t always easy to hear the truth, but that is what defines a true friend.
I relate this story first, to say thanks to those that cared, second to remind everyone that change is scary. We cling to an illusion that things will stay one way. We often resist the normal process of change. We feel personally attacked if someone changes, especially if we don’t agree with the change. But change is the manifestation of our ability to grow, to learn, to become better. Change is an opportunity for celebration. Change allows us to move to a new level. True friends will celebrate your changes with you. Surround yourself with true friends.