Be Your Own Best Friend

First, I’m hoping someone else remembers those little “broken heart” friendship necklaces that were all the rage at White Oaks Elementary circa 1989*. Anyone?

Anyway, as you know, I’ve dedicated myself to evaluating my mindset, especially when it comes to things that make me happy (or not so happy). In so doing, it’s become quite evident that I’m rather self-critical. I think a lot of people are. It’s an easy trap to fall into. When you call yourself “stupid,” you generally don’t have to worry about a counter argument. I know I’m guilty of saying things to myself that, frankly, I wouldn’t tolerate coming from a friend.

But… what if I treated MYSELF like a friend? What if I was my own best friend?

Well, certain behaviors would have to end. Namely:

  1. Negative references to my weight need to cease, pronto. I’d never call a friend (or anyone else, really) a “pig-cow” (a common animal hybrid I use when I feel I’ve over-indulged). I wouldn’t dream of pinching a friend’s middle disparagingly or calling her disgusting.
  2. I’d have to start cutting myself some slack when it comes to relaxation time. I know, I know, we’ve been here before, but it’s a hard one for me. I can easily tell a friend she deserves to take a break, but reflecting that back on my own life has been tricky so far.
  3. I’m not stupid (at all, really). I make mistakes, yes, but I’m not stupid. Time to stop telling myself that I am.

Now, while I’m all about increasing the self-love, sometimes friends DO have to tell one another that they are making choices that are not ideal. Friends would encourage one another to stay healthy (e.g., take a dance class, quit smoking) or to stop dating losers (I finally kicked that phase, thank goodness). While I think it’s good to have a realistic self-image, I think a lot of us have a long way to go before our heads get too inflated. I know I do.

* Personally, I always made sure to get the “Be Fri” part of the heart. I pronounced it “Be Free” and saw it as a personal declaration of sorts. Either way, it beats “Stends”.

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About Helena

Helena lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and two cats. Her boyfriend thinks she's awesome. Her cats agree.

Posted on March 31, 2011, in Miscellany and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I stumbled onto your blog through tag surfing, and I have to say good post; very good post!

    I too would never call a friend “Lard A**”, but I don’t hesitate when it comes to calling me one. I never look at a friend in the face and openly insult her.

    Why do we, mainly women, do this to ourselves? It’s a vicious horrible cycle.

    * by the way I love your personal statement at the end. Be Free fellow beautiful blogger.

  2. I love this post and it’s a great reminder about how dangerous uncontrolled self-criticism can become when it is a habit that spirals out of control – particularly when a person’s external environment is putting additional stress on him or her. I think it’s at this point when it becomes important for friends to give each other a shot of reassurance and ego as a reality check. I know you definitely did for me at one point.

    Also, in defense of “St Ends”…I always enjoyed the somewhat macabre overtones of wearing this part of the heart…

    • Emily, you are so right about the influence of negative environments. I know for me it sometimes seems like everyone else does things so effortlessly and flawlessly and I beat up on myself as a result.

      Also, I never thought of St Ends as “Saint Ends,” which does give it a touch more panache.

  3. H, not sure if you saw this in the NYT, but your post reminded me of it, for obvious reasons: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/go-easy-on-yourself-a-new-wave-of-research-urges/?src=me&ref=general

    I’m gonna have to remember #3 more often, especially at work — my boss once actually said that I don’t need to be so hard on myself. Yeesh.

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