SageTalk: Meet My New Best Friend!
By Rev. Jack Elliott
We’ve all been there. Hanging with our BFF when someone we don’t know, comes up to us and our BFF proclaims: “Meet by new best friend,..” it really doesn’t matter what there name is because we don’t hear it. Instead our mind races to thoughts of our BFF crying their eyes out over a love gone wrong; held their hair back when they drank to much; loaned them some cash to cover the rent when they were laid off. How did this new person, someone you’ve never heard of, get the moniker of best friend? By this point you mind has already proclaimed: WTF! But you swallow your pride, smile and spend the rest of the evening wondering what’s so special about this new person.
Relationships are lessons. Iyanla Vanzant offers: People come into our life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” And she also offers that each relationship is sacred. So how do you have a sacred relationship with your BFF’s new BF? Perhaps it’s time to reflect how you DO relationships. I believe there are seven levels for our sacred relationships. I’ve inserted a worksheet below for you to print out, duplicate in your journal. I invite you to play with it
so that you might understand how every encounter is sacred, but not everyone deserves the honor of being your BFF.
Me, myself and I: The first relationship that you must hold sacred is the one with yourself. After all, it is most likely the only “lifelong” relationship you will ever have. Honor the sanctity of your relationship with you. Then as the graphic illustrates, consider who is your plus 1? Is it your spouse, sibling (perhaps a twin)? Be very circumspect as to who you allow to hold this most sacred space next to your heart. Most likely, this is the most significant “lifetime” relationship that you will have.
Best (Beloved) Friends: Adjacent to your heart is your beloved friends. You know the ones you can call at three in the morning to say: “Bring a shovel.” And, they bring the shovel. Only you get to proclaim who your beloved friend or BFF can be. It is a gift that you bestow upon them, rather than one they can request of you. If you are Oprah, who is your Gayle? Who do you trust implicitly? Who consistently has their hand at your back? When you had a good idea, who said: “Let’s do this!” Write down those in your life that you would place in this sacred circle. Probably only 3 or 4 names at the most.
Family: We’re not talking relatives here; we’re talking chosen family. When your parents kicked you out, the grandparent that took you in, fed you, loved you up, and supported you – that’s family. The young teenager you took in because you believed in them – that’s family. The adoptive parents that adored you, supported you and claimed you as their chosen one – that’s family. Even biological relatives can be family if they see you, love you and respect your values and who you choose to love. Write down those in your life that you would place in this sacred circle. Probably only 3 or 4 names at the most.
Relatives (friends): This circle is for those that gave you life. You would not be here, had they not consummated your arrival. That may be the only contribution they’ve given you. But you are here. They literally came into your life for “a reason”; that reason was to get you here. This is also the circle where you place the names of the siblings that ignore you. The aunts and uncles who mystify you with their politics or religious beliefs. Some of our greatest lessons in life are learned and transformed out of this circle. It is because of these lessons, that this too, is a sacred circle. Write down those in your life that you would place in this sacred circle. If you are co-parenting with an ex-spouse, this may be the circle for them as well. This would be the circle to hold the name of the spouse of your BFF. Someone you are friendly with, only because they are connected to someone in your chosen family or beloved friend’s circle.
My Tribes: This is your community! This is the community you are empowered or spiritually fed. This community is made up of like-minded people that empower you to BE all that you can BE. To DO what you came here to DO. They lift you up when you win, and collectively help you up when you fall. You adore their company. And you believe them when they say: “We’re so glad to see you here!” This is the fertile pool that other relationships are born out of! This is the circle where you get to observe others. The circle where potential spouses are met. It’s the circle where people show you who they are. Write down those in your life that you would place in this sacred circle. Probably that person you cannot wait to sit next to in class, play cards with, or partner up with in a cooking class.
Co-workers, Acquaintances, Routine Encounters: The most significant advice my stepdad offered was this: “Never be friends with people you work with. Be friendly, but not friends.” It seemed a bit rigid to me, but it did help me to understand professional relationships. This circle may be your team, but it is not your tribe. Again, it’s a sacred circle of people, put together by circumstance and only a few in this circle will be someone you’ll want to remain friends with, once you’ve moved on to a new job. You may adore your professor, but it’s best to keep appropriate boundaries until the class is over. You may like the minister’s message on Sunday morning, only to learn you dislike the tribe they hang with on a Saturday night. Even so, not unlike “Relatives” these are sacred relationships that may only last for “a season”. Accept the gifts, learn the lessons and honor your boundaries. Place the appropriate names that come to mind in this circle.
Everyone else: Every encounter is a sacred encounter. I believe we meet no one by accident. The person you sit next to on the bus came into your life for a reason, a season, or more – just as your spouse did. Perhaps you are the only one that smiled at them today, offered them a seat, because you perceived them to be weary. Be obedient to your intuition as you travel about your day. Help when you feel called to help (even when it’s not acknowledged or appreciated.) But most of all, be authentic. Be you. Honor your values. You are the demonstration, the example, for living in harmony with others. Children are watching you. Someone in your tribe is admiring you from a distance and may soon invite you into their chosen family circle.
Finally, be willing (in fact, know that it’s your sacred duty) to discern which circle the people in your life belong. Dr Maya Angelou offers: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Entry into your most intimate circles must be by “invitation only”. Be empowered to honor all your relationships in a way that serves you to be your very best self. Now, go have a blessed day! You got this! – Rev. Jack.
Here's the graphic for you to use: