Who’s Your Best Friend?
By: Beth McHugh 2006
When someone asks you this question, how do you usually answer? Do
you mentally run through a list of friends deciding which one is really
your favorite? Or perhaps you would answer immediately that your best
friend is your spouse or partner.
I’m hoping that you answered that your best friend was you!
Are you a good friend to yourself? Sadly, most people are their own worst enemy. We are often especially hard on ourselves, reserving the harshest of criticisms and the highest demands upon ourselves: terms that we would never dream of applying to others.
Why do we do this? Well, the reasons could be many, but they are usually learned very early in life, and usually at the hands of our parents, siblings, and teachers. Later in our lives, our peers may reinforce these early beliefs. But for whatever reasons we came to be hard on ourselves and to trust other’s opinions before our own, or simply regard ourselves as second best to others around us, we can change.
And it’s important for our mental health that we do take steps to change. Consider the words of Dan Millman:
Be gentle with yourself. If you will not be your own unconditional friend, who will be? If you are playing an opponent and you are also opposing yourself – you are going to be outnumbered.
Just thinking about this statement reminds us of what we are doing to ourselves each time we put ourselves down. What Dan Millman is saying is so true. How can you beat your tennis opponent if he wants to beat you, and you think he can? You are indeed going to be outnumbered!
Our opinions of ourselves rule every minute of our lives. Even when we sleep we may dream about ourselves being hopeless or unable to accomplish something. Our self-belief permeates our whole existence. This is why it is so important to have a strong self-belief and to genuinely like ourselves.
Learning to like and accept ourselves just as we are is one of the most worthwhile goals we can attain in life. When we like ourselves, it no longer matters that our hair is not perfect on every occasion, or that our thighs are a little dimpled. These things are a part of us and what makes us special. They are also irrelevant to who we really are. When we like ourselves, there is no need to beat ourselves up for imagined imperfections anymore. We simply accept, even embrace them!
How can we learn to be our own best friend? Stay tuned!