SAD FRIEND’s heart is heavy. Self-loathing consumes her. It’s been a tough couple of months and after an especially dismal evening, her mind is racing with doubts. SAD FRIEND questions what she is doing and where to go next. Feelings of hopelessness overcome her as tic-tac sized tears stream down her face. SAD FRIEND is alone.
Along comes GOOD FRIEND. Before her, she sees a person hurting. A person slumped over in dejection. A person she cares for with her whole heart. GOOD FRIEND takes SAD FRIEND’s hands, leads her out to the balcony and they sit together. In silence. A starless night is what lays before them and, if they squint, can make out faint outlines of palm trees swaying against the dark sky.
GOOD FRIEND breaks the silence. “Things are hard but I’m here, you know that, right?”
“Yes, but I don’t know how to ask for the help I need. I don’t know how I got here. I try and push to be great, to be the BEST, and I feel so hollow when things don’t materialize."
“You’re a fighter. You gambled big and you lost your shirt but you still got your bra on. I just know, you know, that you'll pull out stronger and better from this setback. Of all of the people in my life, I’m not worried about you.”
This last sentence cloaks SAD FRIEND like a warm blanket and, for the first time that day, a smile forms. SAD FRIEND looks up into her comrade’s eyes; she sees what looks like dancing obsidian butterflies and SAD FRIEND feels a little lighter. “OK, I’ll try be a little easier on myself."
Searching for greatness is a selfish and lonely journey. Searching for love is a nobler undertaking yet can be just as fruitless. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend subtly show you finding greatness in love for yourself and others is the most rewarding path, then crack a smile even in your darkest hour. GOOD FRIENDS like this are hard to come by.
This post also appears on Women's iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.