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My recent essay on context friends elicited strong emotions. More than one Spo-fan sent a critical word on the matter. If I am to going to define what makes a context friend and distinguish him from other types, what is the definition of a ‘true’ or ‘real’ friend?

I recall among my notes from Jung school a little essay on the topic. I cleaned up some of the more esoteric Jungian mumbo-jumbo to print it here:

“What makes a true friend from a ordinary one starts with the brave choice to let another past the Personae enter into the Self with its Shadow. True friendships are not based on our impressive strengths and virtues; they are based on vulnerability.  In them we allow another to see the truths behind the Personae. Whenever we choose intimacy we risk ourselves to psychic danger. Letting another see our fears and frailties and our Shadow parts opens ourselves to great disaster if put into the wrong hands. The other could laugh at us, or hurt us, or even exploit us. True friendships have vulnerability without hurt. Thus the paradox of opposites in Jungian psychology is fulfilled. The revelation of the sad, anxious, embarrassing, and awful parts allows intimacy to grow thus transforming strangers into True Friends. Because of the great hazard from vulnerability it is of no surprise True Friends are the minority of Friends total.  You may have lots of friends to joke and laugh with but only a few you would dare call at 2AM asking for help.”

I am fortunate to have a handful of True Friends. They would walk the world over to get a blade of grass that I needed if I asked them. Some of them I hardly hear from anymore but I am assured with a simple reach out they are there.  I haven’t many but they are enough.

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