be friendly

Today we ask that you be friendly.

Be friendly.

What does this mean?

Really, it means be open, be trusting.  It means believing that life is essentially good, that it is good to be here in this life on Earth.  It means appreciating all that is good around you.

So you are friendly toward this new year.  You are friendly toward the day ahead of you, and what it brings.

You are friendly toward the people you may meet this day.  You are friendly toward the animals and the plants.

You are friendly with yourself.   You are friendly with your body.  You are friendly with the person you are today.

For many people, it is challenging to be friendly.

That is because they are wary and mistrustful.  They approach life like frightened animals — tense, vigilant, ready to fight or flee at the first provocation.

And it is understandable.  They may have been taught to be frightened of life, and may have had many bad experiences that have reinforced this fear.

Many people are like abused dogs.  It is a dog’s nature to be friendly, but if a dog has been mistreated, he will be defensive, frightened, aggressive.

How do you rehabilitate an abused animal?

Mainly by being friendly toward it.  You create a space in which the animal feels safe, and loved.  Slowly — sometimes very slowly — the animal gradually relaxes, and becomes friendly in return.

It is the same with humans.

If you want good relationships in life, it is wise to treat people the way you would treat an abused dog that you wish to rehabilitate.  Be friendly.  Be patient.  It may take a while, but eventually most people relax and become friendly in return.

You cannot really do this with other people, if you cannot do it with yourself.

You, too, may feel like an abused animal — scared, defensive, reactive.  Always on the verge of fight or flight.  Wary, mistrustful.  Growling at the world, hackles raised.

If that is the case, it is necessary for you to rehabilitate yourself.  To create a safe, loving space for yourself, in which you can relax and let your guard down.

But that space cannot exist if you are always judging and attacking yourself in your own mind.

Judging and attacking yourself in your own mind is a form of self-abuse.

Animals are not capable of self-abuse.  While animals can be traumatized, they are not capable of reinforcing the trauma through self-abuse in their thoughts.

That is why it is generally far easier to rehabilitate a scared, defensive animal, than a scared, defensive human.

But you have to start somewhere.

And the place to start is just by being friendly.

Can you just be friendly?  Can you adopt a basic attitude of friendliness?

As if you were gently holding out a treat to a scared animal.  “Come here.  You’re safe.  I won’t hurt you.”

Can you look at the ways in which you tend to be unfriendly — to yourself, and others?

Being friendly doesn’t mean: drop your healthy boundaries, and be a doormat.

It’s just an attitude.

Do you know the idea in the judicial system, that a person is innocent until proven guilty?

Being friendly assumes that life, reality, the universe — it is innocent until proven guilty.

It means assuming the people you meet today — they are innocent until proven guilty.

Be friendly, unless you are given true cause not to be.

You are also innocent.  And, in truth, nothing you have done or will do will make you guilty in the eyes of a loving reality.  You will never be “condemned for your sins.”  But that is another matter.

For now, just be friendly.

Friendly people generally find that life is friendly in return.

So if you are finding life to be unfriendly, perhaps look at how you might be friendlier.

Start with yourself.  Make friends with yourself.  The rest will follow.