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Friendship: The Gifts of Perseverance

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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November 2, 2013


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Persevering in an Endeavor can Not Only Bestow on us Unimagined Gifts but Actually Have a Pot of Gold Waiting on the Other Side.

Perseverance is like a god who bestows valuable and powerful gifts to aid people in their quest for good friends. It reminds me of the story of the Perseus, the son of Zues. He received a number of gifts from the gods. Zeus gave him a sword and Hades the helm of darkness to hide. Hermes lent him winged sandals to fly while Athena gave him a polished shield. When I truly persisted in my pursuit of finding good friends I found that perseverence came bearing a number of powerful gifts. Among these were wisdom and understanding, acceptance, hardening, discernment, illumination and healing.

Acceptance of the way I am and the way other people are. Acceptance of the natural social bias in my life toward underwhelming friendships. Where I seem to be made of cellophane and people seem to nearly always prefer the company of others. It was a liberating experience that came quietly one afternoon and it made me feel at peace. I stopped struggling. I remember how it felt. Like a bucket of cold water thrown on me and there was steam rising. I took a break from socializing after that and it felt like a wonderful holiday. Till it came I felt like I was driving a manual car in the wrong gear up a mountain. The gear slipped into the right place afterwards and thereafter I was cruising.

I could not have attained it without perseverance but there were certainly other factors involved to. One of these was the fact that I was in search of acceptance two months or so before it came. I felt it was important to come to terms with what was troubling me. I remember dwelling on it a little and writing down some ideas on how to attain it. The seed was planted in my consciousness and it grew thanks in part to my experiences during Project Fellowship.

Another gift was hardening. Just before I started Project Fellowship I had gone beyond the threshold of pain into scorched Earth territory. My ‘nerves’ were raw making me very sensitive. As a result I lived a cloistered life for a year because I couldn’t take anymore indifference, apathy and carelessness. I gradually became desensitized due to many positive social experiences I had and certain realisations in the course of my journey. Thick calluses formed enabling me to power on ahead.

A third gift was discernment. I was the kind of person who couldn’t seem to gauge friendships and know when to let go. I would hang around the same indifferent group of friends bemoaning my fate. I learnt to gauge friendships and let go of indifferent people. This was due to perseverance fused with inspiration, courage and the complete reboot and overhaul of my social life and social mindset.

The fourth gift was illumination. Muddy waters became crystal clear. I was intent on learning as much as I could about friendship and I constantly kept expanding the boundaries of my knowledge. Perseverance, acting on distinctions learned and forging good social habits ended up hardwiring my mind for social success.

The fifth gift was healing. Severe depression had wreaked havoc in my heart and mind and it’s effects lingered for the first 12 months of Project Fellowship. Then one day I was walking to work and I happened to glance down at my arms. For some reason my mind superimposed what looked like deep bicyle wheel marks over my forearms. I instinctly knew that it represented the indelible mark of depression and it’s residual effect on my life. When I blinked they were gone and from that moment on I knew I had healed myself through my efforts.

The sixth gift was wisdom and understanding. The wisdom to take the necessary steps to acquire good friends. The wisdom to remove the barriers in my way. The wisdom to ask, “How am I responsible for my friendship situation?” Understanding myself, others and the realm of friendship.

Jaded about Perseverance?

You’ve probably heard the saying that providence favors the bold. I have noticed that perseverance seems to favor those who actively and continually seek distinctions on how to improve their social lot and make incremental changes in their life accordingly. It’s like you have to make your life conducive to receiving the gifts of perseverance. This is certainly what I found on the road from severe depression to liberation.

It’s tragic that some people give up on the pursuit of good friends when they are well within their grasp. Good friends are out there to those who persevere. It could simply be that certain changes need to be made to bridge the gap between you and that person you may not have met yet. They may not be on the same path where your current efforts at befriending others lie but they will be found parallel or diagonal to it. This is why I encourage people to check out other social groups in their vicinity rather than sticking to a group that has long appeared indifferent.

Case in point, Project Fellowship would have been a disaster if I had of limited myself to the first 50 names I wrote down on my friendship list in 2005. I knew that it was probably a ‘cul-de-sac’ list. Many of the people on it weren’t promising because I had in a way sounded them out before. I was, however, about to embark on a social project on a scale I had never done before and I wanted to see if the status quo would change. While I initially had some good social experiences in those early days it turned out that my initial feelings were confirmed and I ended up taking most of the names off the list. I then made the crucial step of moving on to new people outside the normal boundaries of my life.

As much of a believer in perseverance as I am trying to drive through a dead end street and somehow get onto a road far away isn’t my thing. ‘Sometimes you can’t there from here.’ The trick is to identify dead end socializing and move on to a new group when you do.

Some people may think I’m over the top in some of the things I say concerning the subject of friendship but the fact is Project Fellowship wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the fact that my friendship reality was stubborn. I just kept taking things up a level, acting on what I learnt and moving on to new ground. I was like a persistent gold panner who kept traveling upstream till I got what I wanted.

All the above gifts I have mentioned have perseverance as the common denominator. Again, it’s important to grasp, that other things often need to fuse with it to make it of real benefit. Things like gauging friendships and letting go of indifferent friends. Reaching out and befriending people beyond the narrow boundaries of work and the usually activities you do. Educating yourself concerning friendship matters. Seeking a source of inspiration that can fire-you-up with courage and get you out of the limbo zone.

 
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