True friends are your chosen family. If you let them, they will save you from yourself. They will help you to remember who you are when you lose direction, because they know you, sometimes better than yourself. They will show you the best and worst of yourself. Draw from your friend’s strengths, and help them using your own. Forgive them when they make mistakes, and let them go when it comes time to move on. Friends are angels sent to help us on our journey.
Let them do their job, and be sure to do yours for them in return.

Orangutan. Woodland Park Zoo.

A quiet confidence is the result of accepting yourself for who you are and who you are not. It is a willingness to stand in your own truth. It comes from a place of strength. It is not arrogant. It doesn’t have anything to prove. It has opinions, but does not deny others the right to their own by forcing it upon them. If you release the need to control, accept your current situation and make the best of it, and find the ability to accept criticism without it influencing you without thorough consideration and evaluation, you will achieve the rare virtue of quiet confidence.

My daughter and her friend V, along with their families, met at the Woodland Park Zoo last Saturday. It had been only a day since they’d seen one another, but they still greeted each other with a HUGE hug, and a “I missed you!” I thought it was fantastic. It breaks my heart to know that soon we will be moving and they will have to go their separate ways, but it makes my heart mend to know that they have been such a wonderful and unquestioning support to one another during their time together. May we all appreciate our friends the way these two do, and celebrate our reunions no matter how short the separation. These two accept one another unconditionally, as only children can. As an adult, I envy their innocent love, applaud their lack of inhibition in their confident sharing of themselves with one another.

Too often in todays world, people compete in areas of their lives rather than seeking support for a weakness or using their strength to help others. For a long time, I did this. Recently, I came to realize that it doesn’t get you anywhere at all, and that I had been cheating myself. I’d stolen my own self-confidence by allowing the opinions of my life to be determined by the commentary of others. A quote I read recently said, “Don’t compare your bloopers to another’s highlight reel.” It’s true. When I would look to others, I would see their positives, while only seeing my own negatives. That doesn’t even make sense. It has taken me a long time, 30 years, to realize that everyone has their own journey. No one else can walk yours for you. You need to make your own decisions, and have your own opinions, based upon what is best for you and your situation. While others can offer advice, you do not have to take it to heart if it doesn’t really apply to you. While probably well-intended, these opinions are based upon the other person’s life experience and what has/would work for them. Perhaps your experience requires something different. Be kind. Accept the advice. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, and make the best decision for you based on all of the variables you have laid before you. Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s highlight reel. They have their own bloopers tape, they just aren’t playing it for you right now. Appreciate your life as it is, strive to constantly improve and learn from your experiences, and find a quiet confidence within yourself.

This orangutan had over 30 people staring at it. Do you know what she did? Nothing special. She sat on a argo net, and enjoyed the day’s sunshine. It wasn’t thinking, “WOW! Those people out there are out of the zoo, and can walk away. I’m stuck in this area.” It just simply lived its life, found the positive in the situation, and was confident in her truth. We all thought it was pretty fantastic of the orangutan to sit in front of us and let us observe its life. It thought we were probably pretty entertaining, and that the sun felt good on her back. Why can’t we find the “sun” and celebrate it within our lives and the lives of others the way that we did that day for this orangutan?