For an individual to hold oneself in “proper” self-regard I would view it as knowing one’s own worth and value. Not in terms of what one thinks they are but to understand one’s own strength and weaknesses. It’s like holding oneself to a higher standard in terms of being open-minded towards friendships. Just as Aristotle wrote, close friendships requires an individual to possess a greater range of qualities than just a fulsome capacity for reciprocal goodwill. (Vernon, 2010, p. 252) This is in my mind the value one must understand. How is an individual going to look beyond their own desires to cultivate their friendship with another? They must get over their own wants and selfish desires to the benefit of the friendship itself. They are absolutely contradictory roles, how do you place your own desires for friendship aside while trying to develop friendships that fulfill your own growth and happiness? I believe it is only truly possible when both individuals bring the same level of self-understanding to the friendship. Aristotle and Plato understood that an individual must commit to the concept of working on you in a pursuit of the good life. (Vernon, 2010, p. 252) Simply put in order for an individual to be able to put aside the contradictory roles of self-regard and getting over oneself, the individual must know themselves. I feel this goes back to understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. This in itself is difficult and it may take knowing individuals who have your best interests in mind to help you and in doing so your friendship will continue to deepen.
I believe this also opens each individual up for a certain level of uncertainty, how can we be certain we know ourselves or that the other individual in the friendship knows themselves and has the other individuals best interests in mind? There have been many occasions in which I have had to get over my own wants and desires in order to understand what another individual needs or desires, I would not say it was in terms of developing a deeper friendship with that individual but it was in a way that once I was open to trying to understand who that individual was I found it easier and more fulfilling to work with or for that individual. In many cases I found that my own self-regard got in the way, I was looking out for number one! I have found the more I understand about my own biases and flaws the more I am able to develop many different forms of friendships. Some are simply of utility or pleasure but in the rare case some have developed beyond that.
As we examine having a wider love for live itself, I feel it’s important for any individual seeking happiness to have a wide love of life. I believe God has given us this amazing gift of life and it’s our ability to love life and in turn it will bring us happiness. So if friendship can bring about happiness and happiness is what each individual desires, then it stand to reason that a love for live can be greater through friendships. Thomas Aquinas found insight in the belief that God is friendship, or in secular guise as the conviction that friendship is fundamentally a form of other love. (Vernon, 2010, pp. 253-254) Once again if you consider friendship to be a form of another love it becomes important that we have a greater love for life itself.
Vernon, Mark. The Meaning of Friendship (pp. 252, 253-254). Palgrave Macmillan UK. Kindle Edition.