Words of Affirmation for Friends

Sarah Tirri
April 3, 2019

Mark Twain once said he could live for two months on a good compliment. We all love to hear words of affirmations and they traditionally come in the form of pleasantries: You look great in that dress. You’re such a good listener. I really look up to you. You’re so good at what you do, etc. Why do we need to hear affirmations from another? And secondly, why do we feel it is in another’s best interests to affirm them? I can tell you why. Because the ego in us is so concerned with what other people think, we think ‘the other’ must be concerned too. Affirmations boost the ego which is always on the lookout for a compliment.  The ego is a desperate little entity in many ways, but an entity that can be understood and properly placed if an expanded spiritual context is considered.

Synonyms of the word Affirmation are:

  • Assertion 
  • Confirmation
  • Pronouncement 
  • Avowal
  • Declaration
  • Announcement
  • Statement 
  • Verification  

Be aware of why affirming another is not always the way to go, not if a life of truth and integrity are important to you, or at least the attempt. Go ahead, tell your friend she makes the best apple pie on the American Continent if that is the truth; she will be very happy to hear it, but know this: What is often deemed encouragement and emotional support can have a darker side…

Gathered over many years, cherry-picked observations regarding the intellect, the bearing, the diction, and general appearance of the ego-dominant are presented here to support the above statement. We all pass through the psychological state of ego-dominance, so it is nothing to be ashamed of, but watching out for it in another can be an advantage, so can realizing it in ourselves…

Those in possession of financial affluence, a well-honed intellect, and an alpha personality are in greater danger of not hearing the ‘still small voice’ of their soul. The egotistical, at their objectionable worst, are drawn to cultivating a farcically inflated opinion of their own importance, and because of this desire for a ‘security blanket’ their lives revolve around a singular need: Validation. 

My path has intersected many times with those who rely on affirmations from others to feel secure, and from a certain place of detachment, I eventually understood my role and played along. Play the game too if you must, it might be all you can do, and from an anthropological perspective, it’s quite interesting.

In order to ward off his deep-rooted feelings of insecurity, (which is a byproduct of being out of touch with the still-small-voice within) this ego-dominant will seek praise, tributes, compliments and character affirmations, and if you choose to be the supplier of that, know this: A person requiring this type of propping-up is very insecure and if you fail to give them what their ego craves to feel okay in this world, you in their eyes will be guilty of a crime. 

An insecure individual (the ego-mind dominant) will treat all who are not supplying affirmations as guilty, or as an enemy even, and often through the veneer of a fixed smile so they can maintain outward respectability and impress those who might happen to be looking. 

This insecure individual will not be interested in your life, what you think, feel, or hope for. They couldn’t care less. They care only that you are willing to pay homage, willing to laugh at all their jokes, willing to indulge their vanity, and willing to pay the price: a relationship that is a hollow, insincere exchange, crucifying any real chance of authenticity.

In many cases, this insecure individual seldom likes being alone and so seek the company of ‘babysitters.’ Their attention span is poor, and thus some ‘future moment’ is all that is desired. This individual will likely suffer with physical ailments because of an obstruction of the soul’s positive energy; and if you enter into a relationship with this type of person (you cannot really call it a relationship, it will be more of an arrangement), you will have to subjugate your own will as a way of life, guard your speech and actions and refrain from expressing yourself spontaneously. You will have to live under the strain of a stifled existence while always refining the responsibilities that a good ‘Yes Man’ must cultivate… 

The Yes Men are not without blame, they often have an agenda too. Many favor the prominent, the wealthy, or the influential, or anyone who they deem useful to them in some way, and they know that to contradict their targeted ‘food source’ means immediate expulsion from that person’s presence. The Yes Man’s ego is also as fully engaged as the 'chosen other' it is hovering around, and it will attempt to avoid exile by the constant process of sucking up. I have been exposed to this charade a fair bit, and I am always incredulous that the participants never seem to flinch. But I suppose I shouldn’t be; both need each other. They are equally unconscious, deeply asleep—and arousal will only be a prospect when the shit hits the fan. It always does, eventually. 

A Yes Man, solely identified with his ego-mind wants a slice of your pie and he will often try whatever little experiments he can to take from you what he feels he needs in order to pursue a life he is unable to create independently. Yes Men are always complimentary and often gushingly so. Yes Men can be seductively shifty, building you up with flattering declarations of admiration, and if they sense that is not working, they will find more subtle ways to manipulate you. You will be scrutinized and interrogated, and if you are found to be valuable to their agenda, you might have a new friend. But it will be short-lived ‘friendship,’ for this person doesn’t actually know what a friendship is. Their sense of entitlement is often very strong, and people like this are frequently called “users” in the modern world.

In contrast, many amongst us have underdeveloped egos. These people often are inexperienced souls, who are new to the game of life, so they are a little bewildered and out of sync. They do not dare make their own decisions and so refuse self-choice, self-trust, self-dependency, and intellectual autonomy because it all feels like a burden. They lean on ready-made rules, follow like sheep, and clutch at authority figures to direct them— happily forfeiting their sovereignty in exchange for blind obedience. A childlike state of requiring being looked after is what is sought, which is why these types seem to construct an emotional need for a Heavenly Father. They can hear their soul’s voice, but their ego is so dominant that they feel confused and unable to trust the legitimacy of their own intuition. Therefore, seldom can a positive chain reaction between their ego and their soul be set in motion; this prevents the free-flowing of higher knowledge and gives rise to a consciousness of fear.

Anyone who identifies solely with their ego will lack the soulful insight to pinpoint why they feel so uncomfortable and will either retreat or keep on fighting for a petty stake in a world he considers antagonistic. We have all been ego-dominant, asleep, some of us for lifetimes, and so observation without judgment is the only dignified response. Try to remain awake in the sleeping man’s presence so that, A) his darkness doesn’t engulf you, and B) he might glimpse a better way (the hundredth monkey effect). It’s not always easy, but the job of the awakening man never is.

Based on the reality of a situation, an affirmation from your soul to the soul of another is a different kettle of fish entirely, especially if the friendship is deep enough to endure radical honesty. Affirmations that come in the form of salutations and praise have their place, but candor can do more for your friend’s spiritual wellbeing than serving up endless banalities and congratulating yourself for being emotionally supportive.

If your intention is to affirm, support and encourage a friend’s spiritual growth you can replace a standard affirmation with something that feels more truthful, something like: 

“You are my friend and I love you and I always will, but are you aware that you can be self-centered to an objectionable degree? Did you know you are a very poor listener? You talk about yourself so much, I would like to be heard too.” You will know very quickly after this whether standard words of affirmation were necessary to secure your friendship's longevity.

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