Being your own friend

I’ve noticed something odd us humans do.

Say your friend is feeling down or makes a mistake and needs a bit of reassurance, what would you do? I bet you’d remind them how brilliant they are, make excuses for them, and tell them it’s all going to be fine. You’d protect them and fill them with positivity.

But what do you do when you’re feeling down or bad about something? Do you beat yourself up, think about the worst case scenario and refuse to think of much else?

Thought so. Why do we do that?

And if your friend tried on an outfit and asked your opinion, you’ll probably tell them they look great. If they really didn’t look great, you might blame the clothes and say: ‘Oh, that top’s a weird shape. You’d look better in this’. But what about when we’re facing ourselves in the mirror? How many times have we told ourselves we look fat, that our bodies are a weird shape, and that we need to fix this or that?

That needs to stop.

If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself

This is my new motto. I know it’s easier said than done. But maybe we could all try it for a week and see what happens? What changes might we see if we treated ourselves like friends instead of enemies?

A friend once told me: ‘If I’m slagging myself off, I’ll imagine someone else is saying those things about one of my friends – and I think about what I’d say back to them, there in my friend’s corner.’ And now, if I ever say something a little mean about myself, she says: ‘Hey, that’s my friend you’re talking about!’

Maybe it will take a bit of practice, but it’s definitely something worth trying. Friendships are wonderful and life-changing but, ultimately, people may come and go – your relationship with yourself is forever.

Words of advice

If you ever need a little pep-talk, here are a few wise words my friends have told me over the years:

When there’s that thing you keep meaning to do: ‘If you want to do something, make time for it. Set aside a few specific time slots to get the ball rolling. Whatever you put your mind to, it’ll be great.’

When you need to stop listening: ‘Don’t let other people’s fears affect you. Don’t let them project their fears onto you.’ (Ruined somewhat when my friend added: ‘And don’t blame me if you die single.’)

When you’re losing your dignity: ‘Hopefully there is something in you, that bad ass, independent person, who will hate this and think: “I am NOT yours to pick up and put down whenever it suits you.”‘

When you have butterflies: ‘Try to turn your nervous energy into excitement.’

When you’re not sure: ‘If you don’t go into an experience open-minded, you’re unlikely to get anything from it.’

When you need to sparkle: ‘Give your friends awards, award yourself, and be the gold you wanna hold.’ (OK, this wasn’t one of my friends, it was Solange Knowles.)

When you’re in any doubt: ‘Never forget you’re amazing.’

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