Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Today’s New Friend is Tomorrows New Family

Recently, I watched an NCIS episode and there was a heart string tugging scene between Gibbs and Abby.  Abby is struggling with the concept of “is all the good she does enough.”  And Gibbs pulls out the fortune cookie slip she had given him on the day they first met. 

It says, “Today’s new friend is tomorrows new family”  

He returns it to her.  The fact that he has kept it all these years shows Abby that the little things she does, do have a good effect.  Gibbs was given a second family because of Abby’s generous nature.  And as she ponders the slip that has been returned to her, she realizes that she too now has a new family.  A family that stands by her when she has a bad day.  A family that appreciates and values her contributions.
The special message that I was left with is that, the family we are born with may not be the family we are meant to be with.  Circumstances happen, events take place and things change.  We all face moments of doubt, when we wonder if our best efforts are good enough.  Those people who rally around us in our times of self-doubt, they are our “family” in the truest sense of the word. They are the ones who lift us up and allow us to be the best we can be.
The “family” you are born with often take you for granted.  They see mostly your  shortcomings and often they can’t see past your mistakes and inadequacies to the sum total of YOU. 

  • Or because they are upset with you they chose to overlook your good points.  
  • Or because you cannot fulfill some need in them, they decide that you are at fault.  

They see the negative in you therefore chose to focus on those moments of conflict.  It is this picture of those moments that they use to judge you. This is the picture they reflect back at you.  This is the picture of you they act upon when they reject you. 
Relationships cannot remain healthy and vital without the nourishment of positive encouragement. Relationships cannot move forward in the vacuum of estrangement.  Sometimes what was once good withers and dies through neglect.  Rejection is the ultimate expression of the diminishment of the value of a relationship.  It is the ultimate expression of “you do not matter enough to expend any effort upon.” 
Friends who become like “family” are those people who see the good in you.  They remember the very characteristics that attracted you to them in the first place.  And because they remember the good they elevate us.  They are like a mirror reflecting back our best qualities.  Because the events that led to friendship meant something to them and are cherished; you the individual are cherished and elevated.  In such an environment we become better people because we see reflections of our best selves in their caring actions towards us.
When you see a tree that has fallen and is decaying, you can choose to see the decay or you can chose to see the new growth that springs from the fertile soil the decaying tree created.  “Friends who become family” see the lush new growth whereas family members who have fallen into the trap of taking you for granted remain focused on the decay.
For any relationship to be healthy we must expend effort, looking to see and appreciate the vitality of new growth.  We need to reflect back life affirming and positive messages to those who we care for.  And we also need to have positive and life affirming messages reflected back at us.  Focusing on the decay, and ignoring the growth, or even the potential for growth, will lead to the inevitable decay of the fabric of the relationship. 
So I challenge myself and others to “cherish those people who make up your family.”  Seek the potential in each person.  Be a "positivity" mirror. Nurture and encourage and lift up those in need of your kindness and empathy and compassion. 
Renate Dundys Marrello
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