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Personal Empowerment – Series 2 – Episode 4
Channel: Edris Khamissa
Series: Edris Khamissa - Personal Empowerment - Series 2
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The Friends You Choose
Episode Transcript ©
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I greet you with the greetings of peace. I'm your host Padma IE. In the first series brother Idris camisa. Asadullah Khan dealt with moving from where you are, to where you want to be. Due to the tremendous popularity of that first series and the overwhelming requests for a series on human relations. We offer you this inspiring presentation on the path to positive relationships with yourself and with others. In this series, our presenters Idris camisa, Asadullah Khan will be focusing on the path to positive relationships. The topics to be discussed are one, getting in touch with a real you to emotional wisdom, three, improving human relations for the friends you choose.
Idris camisa is an international consultant in education, and Human Development. He began his career as a teacher of English. His passion and expertise for the subject culminated in his nomination as the chairman of the English Society of South Africa. He embraced the Muslim school movement in 1987, and since then, has been a head teacher of three schools. He has conducted numerous workshops in Australia, United States, Canada, England, Middle East, Nigeria, Lusaka and throughout South Africa. He was one of the founding members of M South Africa. He is an advisory member of ibor International Board of educational research and resources. He is the co author of the ibor manual for Muslim
schools. His expertise is in staff development and curriculum design is creativity made him a dynamic lecturer in didactics, and methodology at epsa International Peace University of South Africa. He also conducts in service training for business corporations. As a parenting expert and a marriage counselor. he conducts workshops on these topics. Youth Leadership is another area of his focus. He is a regular guest on National and Community Radio stations. She has studied Lacan has studied law in South Africa, journalism through Britain and religious studies in Egypt. He co presented a weekly wise living television program in the USA, from the streets of LA to the hearts
of the world. He has presented papers at numerous international conferences in Malaysia, Belgium, Nigeria, Egypt, UAE, Iran, Botswana, Canada, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Mexico and Turkey. He is the author of dimensions of the Quran, and co translator of classical text, a pistol for the seekers of guidance. So dilla Khan has served as the lecturer for the Academy of Judeo Christian and Islamic Studies at UCLA. Currently, he serves as director of empower development international as a motivational speaker, addressing issues of personal empowerment, youth development, leadership training, art of communication, and fostering interfaith interfaith understanding and cooperation.
We greet you with the greetings of peace. I'm your host Fatima Ali. And in this series, our presenters Idris camisa, Angela can focus on the path to positive relationships. The theme to be discussed in this session is the friends you choose. She has said that what is the importance of friendship in the arena of human social relations, you know, vadoma human beings are by nature social beings, that interact, that are interdependent, and thus, in need of friends and companions. Since early childhood friends help us through the changes that we face, or that we go through all the different stages of life that you experience. We celebrate with them. We share with them our
joys, and even the times of sorrow.
Through friends, we share our ultimate fears, our sorrows, our happiness, and our goals at times. Such friends can help heal wounds, and they can also help us with the memories of the past. Help us sometimes to even meet the challenges of the future.
For those who are people of faith and of conscience.
Friends, specifically when living in a society where you may be a minority, for example, the issue of choosing friends can even be essential to preserving your ideology, your your philosophy, your lifestyle. It doesn't mean you become isolated, but you choose the friends
Because the influence of friends is tremendous. Sometimes you are known by the friends you choose, they say birds of a feather flock together. And that's why it's very important that people may judge you by those whom you choose to associate with, don't forget friendship is a choice.
So, if one is negatively influenced by those whom we associate associated with, then of course, the consequence could be disastrous. In fact, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, the example of a good companion. And a bad companion is like that of a seller of Musk, and the one who works with the blacksmith, the blacksmith works with, with fire and coal and, you know, this smoke smell. So if you're with that person all the time, the smell that comes off from you, by association Association could be one of fire and smoke. Whereas the association with a musk cellar, chances are that you are, you know, sweet smelling friends are people in relationship which we choose. But be very
careful when we choose. Because there is a consequence to how we are perceived, and eventually even who we become, or how we are assisted, elevated or even devalued. For the increase equity, define your real friendships and also elaborate on some of the benefits of friendship. Your emphasis on real friendship, warrants a response, the response that I'm going to give is that many people have relationships. And some of them think it's one that is based on true friendship. Often the other person may just be an acquaintance. But real friendship demands many things. Among the things that he demands that through thick and thin, are standing by my friend, real friendship is about
contributing to the positive growth of the individual. real friendship is also about not aiding and abetting a person to do wrong. real friendship is also telling your friend sometimes, no, because you love that person. A true friend is really often a critique, a supporter, and part of supporting another individual is to be like a guide, a friend, is not so much a sage on the stage, but a guide on the side. A friend when they say a friend, in need is a friend. Indeed, many people have superficial relationships. Sometimes they are friendly with someone because they can get something out of the person, but did not give something back to that individual. And friendship is about
generosity of heart. It's about understanding, it's about empathy, it's about contributing to the growth. And I recall, for example, a story of a young boy who spoke to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And he said to him, was to this effect or prophet of God, I have no idea who my father was, I was a little boy when he passed away. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, meet your father's best friend, you'll have some idea. So friends have a profound influence. As shakes Allah spoke about birds of a feather flock together. And the benefits are many some of the benefits I've enunciated. Among the other benefits are the following. true friends give you meaning in your life.
They help you to mediate your own life experiences. They improve your landscape, they make you understand sometimes the poignant moments in your life are moments that will help you to grow. They help you as they say that revealing is healing that when you share with them your inner thoughts. They help you to understand those thoughts. And once you're able to articulate it and verbalize it, you begin to understand it better. So the idea of real friendship, and the benefits that can accrue from such a relationship are too tremendous to mention. But suffice it to say, a person with a true friend is far better than one without friends. We always say that blood is thicker than water, just
yet. Why is friendship so unique among human relations? You see friends are people who spontaneously choose a company of one another. Unlike blood relations, which may be as you say, Blood is thicker than water, implying that blood relations but it's eternal. You can never be this social you can separate from them, but you are linked by blood. Friends are those who choose the company you choose the company of one another, someone whom you like and wish to do well for the other and believing that the other party, reciprocate those feelings and those good intentions. Otherwise, you don't have friendship.
It's a mutual thing by the way, it is about this application. Friendship is a voluntary, informal, reciprocal, interpersonal relationship that is mutually productive and characterized by mutual positive regard and mutual positive fellow feeling. If you don't have all those qualities in place, you don't have a friendship, you have an acquaintance. Friendship is intended to facilitate social and emotional goals of both participants, and may involve varying types and degrees of companionship, closeness, affection, and of course, degrees of mutual assistance. Sometimes friends are like family, sometimes friends are more than family. Friendship is manifested through honesty,
sincerity, trust, openness, loyalty, reliability, and the durability of that relationship over time, it can be friends for for a day or two. Now, the important thing is, just by the way, that many people when they have spouses, they are supposed to be first best friends as well. So many people have a marital relationship without being friendly with one they meditate. So if you don't have openness, honesty, sincerity, trust, loyalty, reliability, and durability for a period of time, you don't have friendship. And when you have a spouse, or a loved one, love relationship with someone, it ought to incorporate this as a basic, so you can see how often other relationships go wrong as
well. I come from an Islamic tradition. In Islamic literature. For example, the root meaning for the word friend indicates some of the essential qualities necessary for friendship for example, the word for friend for friends or friendship in Arabic is Sadiq, which means truthfulness or honest it means friend, Colleen, meaning associate or link, Wali, protected or an overseer, Rafiq kind and carry. In other words, though, these words mean friend. In essence, the root implies truthfulness, honesty, Association, connection, protection, caring, and kindness. These are fundamental. And one of the wise people have said, a friend is one of the nicest things you can have. And one of the best things
that you can be. So friendship is really unique among all relationships, because it can sometimes surpass even blood relationship.
And it can be an association can enhance, you can also devalue, depending on the friends you choose. A friend once told me that family is more than just genetics. And it latches onto a shift his brother, it is how does one respond to a person who says that he or she has difficulty making friends. In fact, there are many people who often complain about that you find that with teenagers, and even with some young adults, one of the things that I found that in a home, where people are coming in and out of the home, the children are able to have a conversation is their ability to converse is the ability to sustain a conversation ability to sustain a relationship, because even
through friendship, for example, you will have your low moments, sometimes you might become sadly some of them do somewhat suspicious, you find that young people especially this is my advice to them, that when you become friendly with someone as we spoke about the earliest CD, you do not you do not own that person, that person is your friend that that. But that does not mean that person cannot be friendly to another person. Now, why people have difficulty is for many reasons, and one of the reasons is perhaps through some disappointment in their life, the other did not have enough confidence, they have a low self esteem. And sometimes it is because they did not understand the
value of friendship. And we are living at a time where parents, for example, have given children so many toys, those toys are so self absorbing, you don't need to engage with another person and play with the other person. And therefore some of them lack those skills. We need to develop in people, how do you contribute to the growth of a child? It's about the socializing process. And, for example, there are people today would say, Well, I don't want to go to the function. I don't know anyone, my gosh, what is salaries?
Do you not have the ability to greet someone? Do you not have the ability to ask the person where you come from? Do you not have the ability to engage the person on some current affair? And they see a stranger is a friend whom you have not met. The potential is very, very great. There's a book that is called the luck factor. And this writer says luck favors those who are not afraid to speak to strangers. You might be sitting in the plane, a total stranger right next to you. And you might engage in a conversation and such
Do you realize that the values you espouse have the same value as he is, and something that you had a particular need, and he's there to respond to your need, there is no coincidence. So what is important is that we need to develop it is your God given right to have friends, a true friend is a gift from God, and you need to find, and you'll find that you mustn't get frustrated, there is a time and place for it. There are some people who have such loveless ly loveless lives at school did not know many people, when they go to university, they meet some very good people in the workplace, perhaps better people, you'll find your true friend. Now to find a true friend, you must become the
true friend in discussing the friends you choose Chef saddler, the question arises, who should one choose as friends, that's fundamental, that's very, very fundamental. As we mentioned, you know, friends can elevate you Association, or they can devalue you.
Researchers. In fact, in America, Johnson and trial in 1994, did the research and they concluded that an individual's opportunity to make and maintain friends over the life course, is greatly influenced by various factors, such as age, gender, physical status, ability, or disability levels, living environment, cultural, ideological, or religious background, social economic status, and psychological characteristics. They've said, these are the factors that determine the people's ability or inability to make friends. One point I want to add to the dress as mentioned early on, sometimes people isolate the children.
And it may be For this reason, because we you know, we are too good for our neighbors, or we are, you know, have a different faith or so. So become overprotective given the tools with which to deal with themselves, and to deal with others who are not exactly the way they may be. But they are still human beings, and they are people and they are potential people who can enhance your life, and whose life you can enhance, like the person who does not go to a to an event, because they don't know anyone there. But do you realize that you preventing other people from meeting you? You're preventing another person, as good as you may be? You're preventing them from meeting one good
person. So when you choose friends, the question I think each of us need to ask ourselves, and you know, maybe this can further add on to some of the points. But I think that what qualities are important, we need to ask ourselves which qualities are most important? Do you choose a friend because of social status or popularity? Many people do that you move in a particular circle. Sometimes people are not even rich. You know, there was a time that people move into in South Africa into so called white areas, because they feel it'll elevate them. You know, it makes you feel the only non white in the white area. I mean, of course, we are beyond beyond that state now, but I'm
saying for example, its immense inferiority complex that makes you feel you become enhanced by moving somewhere else. So did you choose people because of their social status? Or their popularity? What is the popularity fades is a true friendship. If I'm a French was the minister today, and tomorrow is not the minister anymore? Or the judge today? Isn't the judge anymore, or the priest or Rabbi or Mr. Musharraf, or someone or a professor, and he's not dead tomorrow, it doesn't hold that position. Am I defending a position and the title of the person because if I am, then I'm like a leech. I'm like a parasite. Many people are like that, because any relationship in any engagement,
you either deposit something or you withdraw, some people just withdraw from you so much. At the end of it, whenever you're with them, you are completely drained and bankrupt. So
I would rather ask the question by asking the questions, when you choose a friend and we should decide this, do we choose them because of social status? Or popularity? Do we choose them because of the income level of their wealth, how to make sure they're wealthy, some people are dirt poor, they'll borrow money, just to go on credit to buy a car like the neighbor so that they can also live with the Joneses. But you never become the Joneses. So, income level or wealth which can change overnight By the way, and looks for appearance which can be damaged overnight looks appearance, sometimes you want to be with people who look beautiful, maybe because you feel you know, that's
beautiful, or you assume that what you think to be beautiful, everyone assumes to be beautiful. So they go for looks appearance, sometimes for race, race, or ethnicity, you know, that we feel even more secure, sometimes, because of faith and character, which is normally a good one. character is always a good one, a very important component. Is it because of political affiliation,
or the political party fails, or if they switch their allegiance, then intelligence or education, maybe you are in same college, you're doing the same studies, you're doing research together, you're doing a PhD or a Master's at the same institution, for example, because of the interest in hobbies in school,
shields up the same sports very often. That's the reason we can meet in the same place, we go to the beach, or we go cycling on Sundays, or whatever it may be, because of compassion and care, because you do the same things, you may help the poor, feed the needy, care for the orphans, always because of loyalty and reliability, because they are loyal to you, and reliable, irrespective of the background, whether rich or poor, your faith or not your faith, that you're able to find someone who is like family and to whom you can be like family. The questions are, who do you choose as your friend? Why? Because of wealth, appearance, because of popularity, ethnicity, character, education
level skills, because what they compassionately involved in, because of reliability. These are the questions that we need to focus upon, in order to be able to, to to realize, really, why is this and why are you really befriending? What am I offering? What am I expecting?
And you know, where am I in the relationship? And where am I going with this relationship? It reminds me of a story just to summarize the points that Sheikh saddler raised about a father and his son. And the story goes something to this effect, the son was waiting for his friend to visit him. And the father realized that that friend of his is unreliable. And his son waited too quite late at night, and his friend did not come. So the father said to his son, my beloved Son, I want to show you what a true friend is. I'm going to visit and I want you to come with me, an old friend of mine.
And I know he loves me and I love him. Although I do not communicate every day with him as you do. Let us look at him. Let his visit him. It was the early hours of the morning. He knocked at his friend's door. His friend was so happy he got from his sleep to see him. He said oh my brother, welcome, welcome. How can I help you? Is this something you want something you need my beloved friend? He said, No, nothing. I just came to show my son. What a true friend is. These are important things. Because as you rightly indicated, that if you have a true friend, and your motivation is right in terms of reliability and loyalty, because your friends accept you for who you are. They
accept you for what's in all your weaknesses and your strengths. But they are there to support you. You go to them. And sometimes they such a relationship that you have, by your opening words you can make or you can make out these as kind of sadness and lingering sadness. And I know this happened to me, a very dear, very dear friend of mine, from Portland, Bethel mentioned his name for whatever reason, Dr. Saliba math. He one day I phoned him. And I said, I greeted him. And his opening words. He greeted me. I said, Sally, what happened? He said, No, my brother passed away. You know, I could sense something was wrong. And it's about debt when you have a relationship that goes to that level,
because friendship is not only about getting and receiving. It's about consolidating, working at it, making sure that your friends become your priority, as someone rightly said, What's the use of life? If you cannot share your joy with someone and your sadness with someone? If you cannot do that, then surely that you are living in a world of isolation, a wall of gloom and depression. And I found, in my own experience, trying to heal people, that many of them will come to me are victims. Why they are victims? Because they do not have true friends. Yeah, I think just to add that, you know, it reminds me that you know, true friends are those who give and forgive. Not only those who get and
forget what they got. We are discussing the friends you choose. And we realize that friends and friendships in the arena of human social relations are very important. Brother eateries. What are some of the underlying reasons why some people avoid making friends? I think this is important. Some people
fail to make friends and the underlying reasons are the following. It often stems from insecurity, a fear of being rejected. So they prefer to be alone. For example, many people prefer to be introverted and shy in that way they know they insulate themselves, they will not get hurt. And what happens to them is this. They prefer to be that what has happened to them, in fact, is many of them have failed to realize how they life can be enriched by others, how they could get meaning. And the other important reason for this is something that underpins all relationships. It's about your own self esteem, as I said early on, because if you do not love yourself, then how can you love others?
How can you engage others? How can you allow others to engage you and it's important as parents, as caregivers, as
Teachers, we must promote friends. Because when you choose the right friends, these friends, as I said, will support you and guide you will help you understand the turbulence of life. They'll help you in giving meaning to your life. And I'm urging you, our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, to those of you who do not have a friend, for those of you who have a fear, please do not allow the mistakes of the past to repeat themselves, not allow your own insecurities to do that, because friendships are a wonderful thing. Even a king will require a good friend, they are days in His Kingdom, although his subjects at his beck and call, they are there purely because they're being
paid to be loyal. What about that individual who comes to you because He cares for you, because he loves you. And we know that you've gone through an experience, and my father passed away a week ago. And really, I cannot thank God Almighty enough for the wonderful friends that have come around me, who supported me, who reminded me about my own mortality, who said to me that your father was a gift to you, you need to show gratitude to God for who your father was. And he the friends that make you understand and look at Listen, look at that individual who has no friends who goes through this traumatic experiences. How would you interpret those events in a very negative way, he be living in
a life of doom and gloom, he'll feel like a victim. And you find that therefore, true friends really enrich you true friends of people, as I said earlier on, who support you, true friends are also there to chastise you sometimes, when you have done wrong, true friends are there because they love you for who you are not who you want to be. It's not about your profession is not about your wealth is about the qualities you possess. Now, all of us need to possess the qualities of goodness. And really, even a pauper can be a true friend to a king. Even a king can be a friend to a Papa is not about wealth and status. It's about you being the person. I remember, when I talked to a friend, I
have many friends. But if I'm going through some deep issue, I choose a friend who I know, would listen to me without interrupting me. And when I finished talking to him, he lost me breeze How can I help you? I said, No, you're listening was enough. I feel calm. I understand. Thank you, God for such a wonderful friend. She said earlier on, we spoke about who we should choose as friends. Could you explain the various reasons people choose different kinds of friends?
Yeah, of course, we're just very moved by what they said, of course, his father just passed away last week as we do this recording here. But
for people who choose different kinds of friends, of course, there are different reasons why people choose friends I mentioned early on, but also there are different kinds of friendships. One is friendship for pleasure, which can be positive or negative, can be used, abused, people do things together, fun times, and so on and so forth. But if you're not in a moral framework, it can be very, very negative, it can be very negative. Then you find for example, you have people who choose friendship, for usefulness and utility, which can be positive, but also negative. Sunlight, people, people have tendency of using you or abusing you. Now, don't forget a friend in need is a friend
indeed. But you can't just be a person needing all the time. This is very, very important. Some people has no limit some people feel they have a right. Whenever they ask you and for example, the next time you can't help them they upset previous time you help me Why can't you help me now for example. So be very careful the kind of person you are will also determine the kind of friend you become and the kind of friend you solicit. And will people want to be your friend, I want to have a good friend, but am I a good friend to a good friend, this is very, very important. Sometimes because the way we are we lose friends as well. So sometimes people choose friends for pleasure,
which can be positive or negative, depending on what the pleasure is. They can choose friends for usefulness, or utility, which can be positive or negative because it can be abused.
It can be friendship for virtue, because of character. You choose someone because association with them will involve in particular activity. Maybe it could be prayer, it could be caring, it could be feeding, it could be helping people with literacy, whatever it may be empowering people. So your friendship is based on a virtue, a friendship, of, of character, in other words, or it can be natural friendship, for example, which you sometimes don't find. Natural friendship is written father and son. relationship between siblings brother and brother.
Brother and sister or sisters, sometimes you find that people are closer to the neighbor than they are to the brother or sister. And it's a problem, because people who can't be good friends, to their own family without justification cannot really be good people, to those who are outside the family. So I believe that you should think what kind of friendship is it is for pleasure, for utility or usefulness for character.
If it's all three together, a complete package, and if it is the fourth one as well, where they are also natural Association, like father and son, and so on, like Jesus and his mother, like Abraham, in a sense, the kind of relationship is built on all of them. Look at the Scripture, how beautiful and how loving it was, how caring it was, despite the great odds, despite people standing against them, you tried to humiliate them and belittle them, yet, the relationship was intact. And we learn from that. That's why they are models of excellence. One of the caliphs of Islam in Mali said, befriend the righteous, flee from the transgressors and the oppressors. Avoid the hypocrites, and do
not associate with the deceivers, you know, those befriend those who are good, free from those who are oppressive, avoid those who are hypocritical, and do not associate with those who are deceptive at the same time. Remember, it's also a warning to you, because someone will use that measure against you, or for you as well. Are you a good person? Are you one who is oppressive? Are you a hypocrite? Are you a deceiver, because then they shouldn't be your friend either. So to form a healthy and long lasting relationship, people must be productive in that relationship. And they cannot be causing harm to themselves, or to others who are involved in that relationship. You know,
one person once said, If destructiveness enters into relationship, it can no longer be a friendship. Very often you find people are married to one another. And they, they live under one roof, but live separate lives. So the point is, it's not even friendship anymore. So how can you have a relationship?
And this is not only true for friendship, by the way, for any other kind of relationship? I believe. So.
Why do you choose the friends you choose? And what kind of friendship you have? It's very, very important, they are somewhat different. And they in many ways intertwined. Make sure even for pleasure, or for utility, there will be positive things for virtue, ideal for character. And more than that, if you can be loving and friendly with those whom you are closely associated with all the best for the 80s What are your parting thoughts on good friends? In the shuttle I was speaking, I was reminded of a book that I read many years ago by George Eliot, I think it was called Middlemarch, where in the opening page, he said, or friendship is a finest balm for the pangs of
And our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said something so beautiful, he said was to this effect, you must keep your relationships moist, is a beautiful analogy. You cannot all water it, neither you can deny the water. You got to keep it moist. It requires nurturing, caring, and cultivation is such a beautiful image. Friendships are very critical. We need to look after them. They are a gift from God. And you find and many people look at you, they say, you know what, you are blessed. You've got great friends. If you got great friends, you're going to be happy. What about those individuals who have lots of wealth, but no friends? What about those individuals who have wealth, but many people
who are the parasitic, and they feel insecure, they know that he's my friend only now, when I do not have the wealth, I did not see him. So friendships are very important for human growth, human development, to unleash your potential to have meaning in your life. And to those individuals over the years, whose intentions were not Noble. When they engage the friends. God Almighty is merciful. You could renew your intention. Look at your friend with new eyes.
Tell him you are sorry. reengaging reaffirming and hopefully, that bond that you're going to forge will be so useful in terms of your own growth. And more importantly, look at your family as I mentioned, you often forget, we are there in marriage. But do you look at your wife as you should look at her through eyes of a friend, a person that you talk to a person that you can be with and smile at by just looking even your silences I eloquent it says so much. Oh, I love you. My shoe shoe bouboulina.
Only this will say that she is a doula your parting words on a best friend. Your best friends on
born, they are made, and they are made one memory at a time. You know, it's about character. It's about consistency. It's about genuineness. It's about caring. It's about sharing.
Aristotle once said, and I quote, complete friendship is the friendship of good people, similar in virtue, for the wish good in the same way to each other, in so far as they are good themselves. Such friendship last as long as they are good. And as long as there's virtue involved in that
many people walk into our lives,
that only true friends will leave implants. Some people walk all over life, and they leave footprints over your body, a true friends, they live imprints upon your heart, which you can never forget. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said the best friend, according to estimation of God is the one who is best to his or her friend. So if you want to know how good a friend you are, judge the reason why you are a friend, the kind of friends you choose, and how good you are. Those are good to you.
the question each one should ask after all of this, are you the kind of person am I the kind of person that means the standard of a good friend? If I was someone else would I choose Abdullah is my best friend? If so, why? If not, why not? So, to have a good friend is a great thing. But great that is to be a good friend. Thank you. On that beautiful note, we thank brother Idris camisa Angela Khan for an uplifting and practical presentation on the friends you choose. Having explained the significance and benefit of friends, advice on who we should choose as friends, on the problems some face in building friendly relations, describing the various kinds of friends and what it takes to
have and to be a best friend. In this series, our presenters, Idris can be used to answer dilla con focused on the path to positive relationships. The themes we covered were one, getting in touch with a real you to emotional wisdom, three, improving human relations for the friends you choose. We hope that you have benefitted from treading the path to positive relationships, and that this series and those that will follow will enhance your ability and empower you to move from where you are to where you would want to be. Thank you, and peace be unto you