Bryan Dyson, former CEO of Coca Cola, once said:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. They are Work, Family, Health, friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four Balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.”
I had a discussion recently with some friends about the difference between family and friends. One friend said she felt like she could tell her family anything because at the end of the day, family is family. But with friends, she felt like there’s a layer that she can’t divulge because friends change. One moment they might be your friend, another they might not.
I agree that friends can change and that family is often more reliable in the long term. However, just as friendships can be broken, family can also be broken. And if the friends I have are fickle and turn on me if I divulge everything about me, then my gut reaction is that I don’t need them anyway.
I think family is the trickiest. Sometimes it feels as if they are the closest people you have, yet other times it feels as if they don’t understand you at all. In a Chinese family, the most important feelings, such as love, appreciation, trust, are often unspoken. Growing up, my parents shied away from saying things like “I love you” or “well done,” so on the rare occasions that I did hear those words, I would get very emotional. More often than not, my parents point out the negative things they see, such as my supposedly terrible attitude, my unfriendly nature, and my unappreciative behavior. They blame me for starting arguments, even though arguments are a two way street, and they constantly scold me for not appreciating their efforts to help me. I get told things like “I don’t understand you,” “you’re always yelling nowadays,” “I’m helping you, not the other way around,” and the list of unfounded assertions about my character goes on.
And it’s times like these when I feel like family is exactly the opposite of close. If physical distance translates to distance in relationship, how am I supposed to rely on family? Or friends for that matter?
I just don’t understand.