Be Your Own Best Friend!
By: Beth McHugh 2006
In Who’s Your Best Friend?, when you were asked to name your best friend, did you answer with a name other than your own? If you did, it’s no surprise. Most people do not seriously regard themselves as a friend and will nominate a host of names without once considering themselves to be a friend.
Yet as Eleanor Roosevelt once said:
Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one
cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
Eleanor was right on the money, as usual, with this quote. If you cannot accept and love the quirky things about yourself, how can you really hope to be a genuine friend to others? If you cannot accept and like others, how can you have any real friends? It becomes a circular argument. So in learning to like and accept ourselves, we give ourselves two gifts. The first and most important is that we become our own unconditional friend. The second is that the friendships we share with others are true friendships, true meetings of the heart, and not superficial relationships that will vanish at the first sign of trouble.
Learning to like yourself is paramount in the ability to enjoy a happy and fulfilled life. It means that you have set yourself free from the need for approval from others, even love from certain others. And yet it also means that those friendships that we do have are deep and meaningful meetings of the mind and heart.
Learning to love yourself usually means unlearning to dislike bits about yourself. It may be the way you look, it may be your perceived lack of abilities. Whatever the reason or reasons we don’t like ourselves, there are steps we can take to change this situation.
Sometimes the reasons are deep-seated. Sometimes, without the aid of counseling, we may not even really be aware of just why we don’t like ourselves. It has gone on for so long that we don’t really even know when it started. We can’t remember an existence without it. All we know is that we are left with this legacy of self-loathing. Often in counseling, it comes out that the reason why we hold a certain negative self–belief about ourselves doesn’t even make sense. The reason for it has passed and there are numerous examples in our lives where this belief clearly no longer holds true. And yet we continue to believe it.
Or maybe we believed something that someone once told us about ourselves when we were very small and did not have the skills to logically think about whether that statement was true or false. Nevertheless, like an automaton, we still believe this lie to this very day. Again, counseling can assist in identifying, then destroying negative beliefs that are simply not true.
Meanwhile, write down all the things about yourself that you do not like. Ask yourself: Who told you this? This simple exercise can be a starting point towards a happier future.