THE BLOG
09/25/2012 04:58 pm ET Updated Nov 25, 2012

Can Friendship Save the World?

Sometimes when we hear the word "friendship" we think of it as nice to have, something that is just warm and fuzzy, sweet, and pink. But that's missing the point. It's not just a luxury for a few who have extra time in their lives. No, it's a necessity for the skills that we need to be learning to save ourselves, and this world.

This is my manifesto for doing what I do. I believe that beyond the joy and health that friendships bring us personally, they also give us the place to practice being the people who this world needs.

I have this theory that friendship can save the world.

And by friendship, I mean relationships where we are committed to practicing the best version of ourselves, while simultaneously choosing to abandon pretense, posturing, and insecurity to risk revealing our shadow side, too.

I have this theory that friendship can save the world.

And by save, I mean bring greater happiness, less stress, healthier hearts and bodies, an increased sense of personal worthiness, less rejection, and fewer actions initiated by fear.

I believe that our friendships are gymnasiums for our souls. Gymnasiums where we can practice being the people this world needs -- building up our muscle for compassion, increasing our endurance for giving, and stretching our ability to see the best in each other.

  • So we can practice cheering for people even when we're jealous.
  • So we can practice listening even when we think we're right.
  • So we can practice empathy even when we're tempted to judge.
  • So we can practice serving even when we're busy.
  • So we can practice saying "I forgive you" even when we're disappointed.

All of these are skills this world desperately needs.

I have this theory that friendship can save the world.

And by the world, I mean that if we don't do these things in relationships with people we love, then what hope do we have of doing them with people who live on the other side of the world from us? Who have different religions or political views? Whose values and beliefs differ from our own?

I have this theory that friendship can save the world.

Less splintering, less judgment, less criticism, less loneliness, less fear, less pulling away, less war.

I have this theory that friendship can save the world.

More smiles, more acceptance, more love, more hope, more applause, more joy, more positivity, more belonging.

I have this theory that friendship can save the world.

Shasta Nelson's upcoming book "Friendships Don't Just Happen!" is now available for pre-order. She also writes more regularly at Shasta's Friendship Blog where you can subscribe to receive her weekly blog post.

For more by Shasta Nelson, M.Div., click here.

For more on conscious relationships, click here.

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