From summer of 1999 until February 2001, my mom had a daycare in our house, and I have countless stories of what those kids did, including this one: During the summer of 2000, my mom was taking care of two five-year-old girls, Ruthie and Lauren. Since they were the only school-age children in the daycare, they stuck together as much as possible, although their time at our house was fraught with arguments and one or both of them standing in the corner. Anyway, at one point during that summer, the kids were eating lunch, and Ruthie wanted to sit next to Lauren, but the two seats beside Lauren were full, which made Ruthie upset. However, what that distressed child didn't realize was that the remaining spot was right across from that other five-year-old. My mom explained that to her, but I don't really remember whether that calmed her down or not.
What's my point in bringing that up? Well, in the above story, Ruthie was so plagued by what she couldn't have--a seat next to Lauren--that she couldn't see what was right in front of her face: a seat across from Lauren. Truth is, that's the way I have been many times: I'm so focused on what I can't or won't have--crushing on celebrities or married female friends, getting upset when circumstances prevent me from doing what I want to do, feeling enmity towards those who have what I don't--that I completely lose sight of what's right there in front of me: friends and family who love me, a job doing what I love, my own personal stash of entertainment, and the like.
It's especially true when it comes to the first thing on that latter list; seriously, I haven't been valuing my family and true friends. Not only have I made unkind remarks about them, which I currently regret, but I've also blatantly ignored their advice, even when I ask them for it. Most people, especially my family and true friends, suggest or inform me of something as a kind gesture, but I've usually chosen not to believe them or accept what they say. Most often, my response is something akin to, "Well, he isn't me, so he doesn't know what he is talking about!", or "She isn't in my situation, so she doesn't realize that isn't going to work for me." When I've actually stopped and thought about it, the friend(s)/family member(s) who said all that actually was/were trying to help me out, but, there usually wasn't anything I can do to rectify matters by that point.
Other times, it was just because I found what they were saying offensive, simply because I was being asked to change my ways. Of course, it is very immature to call someone names and jeer at him/her just because of what his/her favorite show, band, or video game is, but I haven't seen such behavior since I graduated from college in 2008. Still, others have told me, "Take a chance! Do something different! Try something new!", and I was just resistant, because I've always been disdainful towards change. Even when I was a kid, and something would change--it could have been anything from the time and day of my Cub Scout meetings to how my family and I unloaded the car after a trip to the grocery store--I would always ask: Why are we doing it this way? Why can't we do this the way we did it previously? I was much like the stereotypical "old man": stuck in my ways. Regardless, I should have been more open to what my friends were saying...but I wasn't.
Even advice or suggestions from friends that didn't require much change to follow still hurt sometimes, just because it wasn't what I wanted to hear. A true friend would tell it like it is, even to the point of being blunt, in order to help another friend out. Still, I would sometimes get seriously offended, and even turn my friend(s) against me, because he/she/they told me something I didn't like hearing. Just like I said before, whoever was/were trying to be my friend(s), but I just didn't get that. As Proverbs 27:6 (NIV 1984) says, "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses."
So, here's what I want to say to anyone who has been the recipient of such actions from me: I'm deeply sorry. I shouldn't have let my paranoia and pride get in the way of someone trying to be my friend. Even if you told me to do something that I feel isn't exactly my bag, I should have at least given it a chance instead of refusing to try it out and continuing to do what I've always done. If you're truly my friend, you no doubt would have my best intentions in mind, and I should have realized that. I hope you can forgive me for treating you in such a way; after years of paying the price for being like that, I should have learned my lesson well before now. If you want to be friends again, though, I'm reaching out my hand.