Chapter 1 / Chapter Notes
The Love in Friendship - our November e-letter to the Collective
Words: Courtney Chew
Hi OCIN fam,
I know it’s been awhile since I last wrote en e-letter to our online community: managing a small brand, a lovely team, world events and everything else life brings, takes finding time to balance, and sometimes that means that things and practices we enjoy get lost in the mix. But, I was inspired to write this month, and this past week I shared some musings on what has been on my mind lately about one of the most beautiful things we so often diminish: the love of friendship.
It seemed to resonate with those who had a chance to read it, so I'm sharing the letter here. If you'd like the full note in your inbox, shoot us an email and we can forward it your way. Or sign up for our e-letters and remember to verify us as a contact to make sure you don't miss the next one.
From myself and the OCIN team, thank you for your support and for being a part of our collective.
One of my best friends recently sent me this quote by Esther Perel that we shared for our Sunday Somethings the other week on our Instagram.
“Friendship is a love story. Different from romantic or filial love, it’s its own unique love story. Making friends is the first free choice relationship we have as kids. Our friends provide community and continuity in an ever-changing world. Our lifelong friends are our witnesses. They accompany us through the trials and tribulations of lovers that come and go, job changes, family rifts, births, deaths, and recoveries. And, we are a witness for them, commiserating or celebrating together over morning coffee or late-night phone calls.”
In Alain de Botton’s book “The School of Life” he brings light to the comparisons we innately hold between love and friendship. “From our youth, our romantic culture has made one thing clear: Love is the purpose of existence; friendship is the paltry, depleted consolation prize.”
Since we’re young, we’ve been conditioned to search for ‘true love’. We’re overwhelmed by and almost addicted to the culture of romanticism that surrounds us, seeking for that deep and passionate love we see in movies. The kind of love that will supposedly take away all the loneliness that we feel, the love from someone that completely gets us and sees us; the love that we hope to see ourselves and the ones we care about grow to find because we just want them to be happy. We aspire for a partnership in love as the one piece that will complete each of us on this journey of life we’re all trying to navigate.
And while that may hold truth, while the search for a partner in romance and in life may make us feel completely whole and fulfilled, what if the pressure and the expectations we tie to the search of ‘the one’, is what is actually making us more lonely, more hurt, and more disappointed than we need to endure?
“In friendship — we bring our highest and noblest virtues. Here we are patient, encouraging, tolerant, funny, and most of all, kind. We expect a little less, and therefore, by extension, forgive infinitely more…We are, in the company of our friends, our best selves. Paradoxically, it is friendship that often offers us the real route to the pleasures that Romanticism associates with love. That this sounds surprising is only a reflection of how underdeveloped our day-today vision of friendship has become…But real friendship is something altogether more profound and worthy of exultation. It is an area in which two people can get a sense of each other’s vulnerabilities, appreciate each other’s follies without recrimination, reassure each other as to their value and greet the sorrows and tragedies of existence with wit and warmth.”
How can we learn to take the pressure off of love, and instead open our hearts to receiving love in all the forms it comes in, from all that graciously and generously gives it to us. Maybe then, through that shift, love around the world will flow easier. To remember that the deep, passionate, and connected love can also come from those standing right in front and beside us every day; from our friends – who are often an extension of ourselves, our second and chosen families – that we lean on for everything, and who teach us what love is ultimately about.
With this shift, we open ourselves to all the things that friendship gives to us every day, rather than just relying on or saving our heart for that one perfect person to experience life with. We practice kindness and vulnerability all the time, we share openly and honestly and gain perspective through these conversations, we learn to appreciate all the ones around us, and be present in everything we create and go through together, with our people, our community, our friends.
It’s the love in friendship that can always and unconditionally offer fulfillment and wholeness if we awaken ourselves to it. Friendship is a commitment and the love story that we’ve been searching for all along. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world that has no bounds, teaching us about ourselves, giving us opportunities to understand what love means to us, and offering a life of joy, shared purpose, meaning, and growth. Friendship is the piece of our puzzle that continues to evolve and that gives us the most: a solid foundation that shows us what we want and need, for ourselves, each other, and the life partner we may choose to build forever with.
So, be gentle with yourself in the journey of love. Because it truly will come when it needs to and when your heart is ready to accept, receive, and give that love with the honesty, the openness, the reciprocity, and most importantly, the lightness and ease, that you deserve. In a world that is always searching for the one, don’t forget you have all the love around you right now too.
Hug and hold your dear friends close. They’re forever your person.
In love and in friendship,
Human, Friend, Ocean lover, OCIN founder