Often when you make a major life change, friends are not supportive. In fact, they may even try to dissuade you from pursuing the new work. This happens because the friend is sometimes also wanting a change but doesn't have the courage or the energy to make it happen. Such a person resents anyone who is striving in a new direction.
It may be necessary to let go of some of your old friends if this happens. If you are struggling to learn something new and you have people around who are not only unhelpful but downright negative about what you're doing, then you need to really look at each and every one and decide if each is truly a friend. A true friend should be supportive.
It is also possible that a negative friend may be feeling fearful of being deserted by you. This can be unconscious. The friend may be reacting to your learning new things beyond the friend's understanding. The fear is that the more you learn the more distant you will become and the more you will not need that friendship.
It's important here to find out what the friend is feeling and not just go by what is said. Sometimes the friend will be hurtful and sarcastic, other times quiet and cold. Be aware of how the friend must be feeling, how threatening it must be to see someone you love go off in a direction you cannot understand or get enthusiastic about.
Remember, this friend will, more often than not, deny the truth. Telling you about feeling a loss because you are branching out into new things will not help the situation. More than likely, the friend will deny such feelings and certainly won't want you to think jealousy is involved. The truth might well be that the friend is jealous and does not want you to be superior in any way because then you may leave and find new friends.
So many dreams that could have happened are destroyed by would-be friends who will say you're crazy to spend all your time on something that may or not be successful.
If you ask your family to be supportive, you can do the same with your friends. The difference is, your family is usually karmic, and most people are bound by karma to interact. You generally keep your family, no matter what happens; but you don't have to keep your friends. Look at each carefully and determine how you really feel. Is each a friendship in which you help one another, or has it stayed the same from the beginning? Also, recognize if someone is afraid of losing you, and talk about it openly, making certain all the feelings are discussed. You may want to keep your friends, but if they are not supportive during this time of transition, then you might need to reevaluate the relationships.
It is important to understand how the energy around you needs to breathe. Breathing is the flow of prana into the physical body from your subtle body and out to the work you are doing. The more concentrated the work, the more energy is able to flow freely. Negative energy directed toward you will be eliminated by your positive force, but not without your paying the price of your energy being lessened. This is why you need to avoid negative thinking and negative interchanges.
If friends are negative because of their own personal problems, it will not affect your energy. You can help them by sending them love from the heart. This energy is constantly renewed. It is only when they start to bring you into their problems that you should question the intent. The following story illustrates this.
Buddies for Life?
William and Ted were buddies all through their teens, even going to the same college to be together. After graduation they moved to the big city, got jobs, shared an apartment, and settled into living the typical bachelor life.
Ted was good-looking, sociable, and loved the night life that the city offered in abundance. Women flocked to him and he moved through one affair after another as if losing count were a goal. William, on the other hand, was shy and introverted. He soon tired of partying every night, getting no sleep, and having Ted pick his bed partners, each guaranteed to perform "the best".
William was also unhappy with the work he was doing, which is why he had come to me for help. His vocation turned out to be law, a profession he had never thought about, but which now made him feel excited and enthusiastic.
He quit his job, took out a few loans, and was accepted by a leading law college in the city. In the beginning he kept the apartment with Ted, but the frequent parties interfered with his studies, and Ted didn't seem to understand that he needed quiet in order to study. William finally moved to a small room near campus.
Losing his lifelong companion was difficult for Ted. He found that going out was no fun unless William was along — having him there had made a difference! So he constantly telephoned William, berating him with, "What kind of friend are you? Why don't you have more time to see me?" and "How can you work all day and night? It must be very boring!" and "Look what you're missing. There've been some great parties" and "You're never any fun anymore."
A Helpful Friend
William tried talking to him but it was no use, he just didn't understand. Ted would shout and scream at him, or get drunk and call him in a rage; he was unable to look at his fears and insecurities. William had been the strong, silent one, the person Ted knew would always be there. When he wasn't, it was devastating. The friendship survived only because William convinced Ted to go into therapy, which helped him see some of these things for himself.
Remember the friend who is helpful. See more of him because his belief in you will enhance your energy. Never lose sight of anyone like this. Such a friendship is wonderful to have. Let your discrimination tell you when a person is sincerely interested and supportive.
It is also wise to keep your friends apart from your work. Don't talk about it to them, as talking enthusiastically may bring up their fears. Instead, enjoy their company in exactly the same way you did before. This will help them feel you are still the same person, and that what you are doing on the side won't hurt or change you. Make them aware you care, though you have less time to see them. Don't hesitate to express your love for them. If you say it openly, it will be remembered later on. You should also let your friends know how much you have to do in order to be successful; then they will not expect you to be around all the time.
Never be afraid to cut off a relationship — no matter how old it is — if the friend is demanding, negative, or sarcastic about what you're doing. This kind of person will probably always stay this way, no matter what is happening. The reason a friend is competitive is because that friend relates too personally to what you're doing, and if it doesn't feel right for the friend, the belief is that it can't be right for you. Let go. If you do, your friend may realize how such behavior is affecting you and make amends.
If you have negative friends you really love and don't want to lose, then simply see less of them for the time being. Remember to first talk to people and explain how you feel. Only if there is no understanding should you break off a relationship.
Never keep a friend because you feel pity or sympathy. Neither is a good basis for friendship. The person who clings to you is also someone you need to gently let go of. Attachment only brings karma and karmic ramifications. If you are attracted to someone, remember to discern whether this is a relationship from a past life, and follow your intuition accordingly. Choose your friends carefully, looking for positive minded, enthusiasm, and genuine love.
This article was excerpted with permission from the publisher, Samuel Weiser Inc., York Beach, Maine. www.redwheelweiser.com.
About The Author
Nanette Hucknall has been trained in Psychosynthesis, a transpersonal psychology that uses experiential methodology in working with people. She is a partner in "Evolving Solutions", consultants who specialize in empowering teams in organizations and communities, to design their own future. She and her partners have designed and presented workshops and seminars internationally. Ms. Hucknall is currently working as a psychotherapist and career therapist in Massachusetts. She was co-founder and President of the original Center for Peace through Culture.