Sometimes it is hard to tell who is or is not a friend. Situations that cause you to withdraw from people because you do not feel sure about who can be trusted happen more often than not. At these times a person may appear to be unfriendly, aloof, selfish, or just plain mean. In these instances, it is easy to ignore the person who is displaying these feelings or to criticize or scorn them. Life does not come with a manual that tells us how to be human. It usually comes down to trial and error. Sometimes reaching out to others may cause us to experience unwanted pain because the person we are reaching out to rejects our attention. It is difficult to say, I care no matter how much you push me away, because you are risking being hurt as well, so it is easier to ignore the person in pain. The world is full of unhappy, lonely, people. People who are afraid to show who they really are; people who do not know who they really are because they have spent their life pretending to be someone else to block out the fear of being hurt. I have learned that helping others is how you help yourself. The willingness to help others is sometimes all that is required to move to the other side of your pain. Focusing on the pain in your like is just like worrying about the rain that has yet to fall. You can get so wrapped up in the worry that you miss all the sunshine that is shining down on you. Don't be afraid to reach out and help someone. The act of reaching out creates a shift in your life that can cause all of your doubts and fears to disappear. Thinking about someone other than yourself is a healthier way to exist in this world full of unhealthiness. That does not mean that you ignore yourself or your needs. This may be a little confusing because some people think that they must deprive themselves to help others. That is very far from the truth. In order to help others, you must take care of yourself first. Deprivation is not altruism. It is foolishness. However, helping others keeps us from getting stuck in our stuff, causing us not to live our lives fully. To reach your full potential, you must be willing to step outside and take positive action to get to where you want to be. Reaching out to help someone is the impetus to keep you moving forward...To have a friend you must be a friend.