Thoughts on World Friendship Day

Men shaking hands

Today is World Friendship Day. In some countries, this is celebrated on the first Sunday in August. Now, it may feel obvious to us what a friend is, and the dictionary defines a friend simply as: “a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.”

As meditators, we develop and cultivate a default position of being open and honest with ourselves. This means working on suspending our ego and intellect, allowing our instinct to play a greater role in our thoughts and interactions. Without taking this approach, when we extend our hand of friendship the grip can feel soft and insincere.

It is hard to love someone, to truly be friends with someone, when we don't love ourselves or treat ourselves as our own best friend. Self-respect must be in place before turning our attention to others. Today, I invite you to observe how you talk to yourself. Are you always listening to an internal chatter which seems to be constant, and often critical? Would you talk to a person you consider your friend in the same way you talk to yourself?

The voice we hear when we speak to ourselves is all-to-often not soft, nor kindly spoken. Too often there is a harsh, critical tone. Meditation teaches us to soften our tone and be more accepting of ourselves, and ultimately others too. Self-tolerance is one of the many benefits we receive from a regular meditation practice, together with a profound mutual appreciation and affection for our friends and family.

Learn to love yourself, and the world will love you back.

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Anthony Thompson