I believe that the key to a good life all begins by understanding the nature of friendship. Friendship is tied by love and as I have iterated previously, my understanding of love is moral consciousness. There is only one type of love and that is we give love to all of humankind. Empathy. Respect. But, friendship is a relationship that is furthered by being responsive to another’ merits. While the depraved in our world become friends with those who make them look good and thus propelled by an underlying narcissism, genuine friendship is a relationship with who the other is, what the other person does (the fruits of their labour) and the decisions that they make in life.
I have come to see that the highest order of friendship – as in any relationship – is one based on virtues. As friendships based on virtue are motivated by character, they are non-deficient and therefore genuine or real. There are necessary conditions that make a friendship and motivated by how much I respect them for what they do, who they are, the decisions that they make and this decision thus articulates the shared values I hold.
Some people are friends with the wrong sort because of that sense of familiarity, of thinking that is what you need because that is what society teaches us, and being around such people for long enough helps make the experience comfortable where you become accustomed to making the sacrifices in order for it to work. This is still a choice and the choice itself reflects the type of person that you are.
If, as Aristotle states, we mirror our friends, we self-actualise through this relationship and so we cannot be friends with those who uphold the integrity of virtue until we understand what virtue is ourselves. It is thus morally good to be committed to ourselves, that love thy neighbour as thyself includes us. It rests on the personal decision to be friends with yourself, to understand who you are, what values you hold, and that means finding the courage to walk away from bad people and make the choice to be friends with virtue.
Indeed, it is risky because there is that ‘love yourself’ deceit in our cultural or social discourses that use the expression to give themselves permission to be narcissistic. They pretend to goodness only because it improves their social image.
Loving yourself is about taking care with our decisions (and making sure that it is actually ours), to improving our well being and to strengthening our courage. The pleasure in friendship and the authenticity of the happiness through it stems from our commitment to improving ourselves, where we are encouraged to believe in ourselves and are inspired to be devoted to moral goodness.
So, where to from here? I promised that by 2020 I will settle down into a long-term, permanent role where I will earn enough to save for my own home. I would enjoy travelling and doing creative things like making more documentaries. I will try my best to help others. I will continue learning and improving as I mature gracefully surrounded by those who actually love, admire and respect me. With thanks to God.