In lesson 13 Bernard returned to one of his favourite, topics, Friendliness. If you look more deeply at this you will see that there are very good reasons why this is so.
In looking at the various blocks and hindrances to creating abundance friendliness helps to offset or even completely counteract all of them. Friendliness is a Universal Cure to overcoming what ails us and allow us to step into the life more abundant.
1. Helps you overcome nervousness or shyness around other people, as you are focusing more and more on them and less and less on your anxiety.
2. Offsets envy or jealousy as you begin to want the best for others. Other people will notice your friendliness and will then find themselves wanting the best for you too.
3. Brings a sense of purposefulness to life. (Your purpose becomes – in part – is to be more friendly).
4. Reduces the desire to escape from life – as your life becomes much more enjoyable.
5. Helps remove depression or doubts as you have less chance to get caught up in being negatively self absorbed.
6. Stops self-indulgent or airy fairy thinking as you relate to others and to life in more meaningful ways.
7. Heals anger or bad temper as cultivating friendliness helps dissolve agitation and frustration and create harmony.
You can see from this that Friendliness is a vital key to creating the type of life you deeply desire.
This does not mean you need to become a back-slapping, over-the-top character who bellows “HELLO!” to everyone they meet. Not at all. A quiet friendly smile is fine if that is your natural style. Find your own style to help people feel welcome and give a feeling that you are glad to meet them and glad to see them. Don’t greet people with an attitude of “I am busy. Make it quick!” if that is your habit. Or an attitude of “Wait till you hear all my problems…” And, certainly not with a desperate and needy attitude of “Please like me…please…”.
A healthy friendship often starts with shared joys, delights and amusements. Of course it is also good to be able to share challenges too with a caring friend, but in the beginning things need to be kept light and better to mention your “issues” with wry good humour, or not at all.
Let warmth come into your eyes as you smile at people and they will feel your friendliness. Of course, you know to be sensible about it and not go out of your way to be friendly to a noisy drunk out in the street. Nor will you seek out people who are deliberately negative or harmful towards you. There are many ways to practise friendliness in small ways every day. The more you do this the more you will like it and the more you will enrich your life.
If you are shy, you can create good connections with others while hardly even saying anything. For example you can you tell someone “I really like you” without actually saying the words. If you want to do this, use a warm tone in your voice to let them know. Even if you are just commenting about the weather the warmth in your voice will let them know that you are a friendly person. You might think, “Why would I want to do that?”. The answer is that if you like people they will like you too. It is hard for anyone not to like someone who likes them. If you want more people to like you then you need to like more people. Let warmth and friendliness be alive in you and see how your life will transform.
If you object with, “But I don’t know them, so how can I like them?” Then, that is the core of the problem. Your focus needs to be on what is good about people. Feeling wary about everyone is not the same as feeling wary about a specific person, or specific people. If you feel wary about everyone then it is an unhealthy attitude. You need to assume that most people that you meet are basically good, kind and likeable – till proven otherwise. Just chose to meet people in a safe environment. Chose situations where you can open up a little bit socially, without being worried that your personal safety is at risk. I am suggesting you take a little bit of a social risk; not a physical risk.
Obviously, if the Annual Axe Murderers Convention is in town that is not the place to go and make new friends. However, separating your physical safety needs from any habits of being wary, nervous or fearful of others lets you see if you are holding yourself back needlessly. If you can see that your are physically safe in a situation, then you can also see when being bolder – or even just smiling a bit more – would be good.
Of course, if someone you just met wanted to borrow money from you, sign you up for a get-rich-quick scheme, or seemed strange or “creepy” somehow then you would be right to be wary. But otherwise, give people the benefit of the doubt – at least a little bit. Unless some inner prompting is warning you about a specific person, and telling you not to trust them, then there is no need to be overly wary. Even at that you can like someone and still be smart enough to know how far you can trust them. You might like them, but still know not to lend that particular person any money.
Just take your time and allow yourself to get to know others and allow yourself to be known by them at a pace and in ways that feel safe to you. There is no suggestion here that you just “throw the doors wide open” and let everyone and anyone into your life; the suggestion is to not to be too closed if that is what you are doing. Find a healthy balance between protecting yourself and being friendly. Find ways which allow you to be safe, but also allow you to make new friendly connections.
Friendliness is not something superficial, trivial or incidental. It gets at the core of what blocks and limits many people. It helps sweep away those blocks and opens the way for light to shine through.
There are also very practical reasons to become more friendly. As they saying goes, “Nobody succeeds alone.” For one thing we need the help of the Divine Spirit within us and friendliness helps to awaken this. Your focus on being friendly to others creates opportunities for the Divine within you be present and to shine through. We also usually we need the help of other people too. Friendliness help create good connections with others through which you can serve them and they can serve you.
If you think, “Oh, but I am friendly – but no one responds to me”. This probably means that you are trying too hard. It could be you have be alone too much and feel a bit desperate. In some situations it will be a feeling of “desperation” which is being communicated to others not a feeling of “friendship”. Keep cultivating a feeling of friendship, concern and caring for others till these wash away feelings of desperation and all will be well. See yourself as being a warm, caring person who enjoys the company of others and see yourself as the type of person other people enjoy being with.
If you appreciate something about another person tell them about it, briefly and to the point, till this becomes a habit and feels perfectly natural to you. Tell them what you like and why in plain simple language. “I like your coat. It’s a lovely bright colour and it looks so warm”, “You look so smart in that suit. It looks expensive.”, “Your hair looks great!, It frames your face really well”, and so on.
The quality of your life largely depends on quality of your relationships. The quality of your relationships depends on you having a well developed feeling of friendliness towards others.