Have you given yourself a hug today? If allowing a hug for yourself seems too hard, how about a pat on the back? Is that not feeling right either?
When I think back over my growing up, the messages I received about loving myself was that it was SELFISH, even BAD. I absorbed this and never thought much about it…until I began to feel that something was not right.
Each and every time I made any kind of mistake or didn’t measure up to where I thought I must be, I was full of negative self-talk and self-defeating messages.
“What a stupid thing to do!”
” What an idiot!”
Does this ring a bell for you? up over
What if we didn’t beat ourselves up over making mistakes? Could we accept instead, that making mistakes is part of our glorious imperfect humanity? Mistakes are how we learn and strive to reach beyond what we ever thought possible. A best friend would be there for us and remind us of that.
” Friendship with ones’ self is all important, because without it, one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Let’s imagine what it might be like if we were to be our own best friend. First we need to define what qualities make up a Best Friend. Someone who is:
1. Loyal and kind.
3. A good listener.
4. Knows all our faults and loves us all the same.
5. Can level with us honestly, with humor, caring and support.
6. Is someone we trust enough to open ourselves up to and be vulnerable.
Maybe you can just picture your best friend hearing you out when you’ve been hurt or disappointed. You can call on your best friend when you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed. Our best friend knows us so well and is not turned off or away by our quirks, fragilities or the mistakes we make.
“Healing the self means committing ourselves to a wholehearted willingness to be what and how we are…beings frail and fragile, strong and passionate, neurotic and balanced, diseased and whole, partial and complete, stingy and generous, twisted and straight, storm-tossed and quiescent, bound and free.”
Paula Gunn Allen
How can we get to that point of becoming our own best friend? It is very challenging to change those long held thought patterns and habits that tell us it is not allowed. With patience and self-compassion, it can be done! Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Grow your awareness of negative self-talk. When we tell ourselves we are “stupid” because of a poor choice or mistake, we label ourselves as “bad”.
2. Challenge your negative self-talk. ” No…I wasn’t stupid…but I did make a mistake”.
3. Imagine what your Best Friend would say. ” Oops…guess you missed that…but you’re okay!”
4. Be aware of how your negative self-talk hurts you. It’s pretty hard to believe in oneself when we keep calling ourselves names!
5. Be aware of how you feel when you substitute positive and supportive self-messages.” Hmm, I may have made a mistake this time, but I’ll give it my best shot not to do it again. I’m feeling better now.”
Have you given yourself a hug today? Give it a try and see how good it can feel!