FRIENDS A VITAMIN THAT NOURISHES OUR INNER BEING
PUTTING family aside, we take for granted the people who come and go in our life. The people who shape who we are throughout the journey of our life, the people we care about, the people who are part of our daily experiences – at the local supermarket, the doctor’s surgery, the newsagency or service station.
Each day these familiar faces are people who are part of our life. Then there are those friends and neighbours who contribute to our health in a way that we have never really thought about. We sit with them and confide about our ailments, our family problems. We share our most intimate stories with them, they know us better than we know ourselves. Some friends give advice, others just listen.
I recently read an article about vitamin F and was intrigued to read more because I had not heard of this “new vitamin”. Thinking that it was something I could buy off the shelf – but this is a different kind of vitamin. A vitamin that grows over the years, and a vitamin that comes in different shapes and sizes.
That vitamin F is known as Friends. Which made me think about my circle of friends – and why they are all so different in character? How can I get along with all of them? When I thought about it I realised that they all bring out a different part of me. Their differences are what makes me want to learn more about them.
With some I have business and political conversations, with others we share a joke, laugh a lot and reminisce about the past. Others I eat out with, and then there are those friends whom I listen to and empathise with their worries. Then there are just one or two whom I seek advice from. It is a jigsaw puzzle of friends, who all fit together to form the perfect picture in my life.
This made me view the Gold Coast as a giant jigsaw and how we could strengthen our friendships to enhance the vitamin F in all of us.
How amazing it would be if we had a society that was like a giant jigsaw. We are all different shapes and sizes, different cultural backgrounds, living in different styles of accommodation – all 600,000 of us across 50km. Imagine if somehow a friendship of some sort connected us – through veritable bonds of friendship.
As Helen Keller once said: “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light”. We are not put on this earth to be alone.
While many might laugh at the notion of vitamin F – there are many in the health industry who would support the notion that vitamin F is essential to our well-being.
Research shows that people in strong social circles live longer as the social connections have a positive effect on our well-being including reducing stress, alleviating depression and extending our life.
Our social connections can have a huge impact on our mental well-being and our ability to survive major challenges. Whereas isolation and loneliness are a significant factor in triggering anxiety and depression.
The give and take in a friendship is an important element in its pleasure. People enjoy doing something for someone they like and the reciprocity that exists in a relationship seems to be an important part of sustaining it.
It is through true friendship that we are endowed with the great opportunity to grow into who we might be, and by surrounding ourselves with people who nourish not only our minds, but our hearts and our spirits, we can walk this planet in greater truth. The compassion we receive unconditionally from a friend is a call for us to be forgiving of our own mistakes, and to stay true to our innermost callings.