The answer to this question is one of the indicators of how healthy that voice in your head is, and therefore, it’s effect on your mental wellbeing.
Do you treat yourself the way you’d treat a best friend?
Because the healthiest answer to the question “who’s your best friend?” is “I am”.
I used to be hard on myself — I was a really hard task master!
Mentally, I used to beat up on myself for all sorts of things. For not doing “enough”, for making “mistakes”, for not doing things “properly” (read “perfectly”), for all sorts of things… The voice that went on in my head was mean — if anyone else would dare speak to me the way I had been speaking to myself, there’s no way we’d still be friends.
And there I was, speaking to myself that way.
This is probably one of the most damaging things to our mental wellbeing, for the obvious fact that we’re with ourselves all the time and it can be really challenging to ignore it when it’s inside your own head.
For a long time now, I’ve been consciously cultivating a healthier voice in my head.
Roz Lawler is a wonderful lady who has been a teacher to me for many years. Her advice was:
“Think about how you’d like a best friend to treat you, and then do that for yourself.”
Creating a positive change
I thought about how a good friend would treat me. One of the things I came up with is that they would acknowledge my birthday. It was such a simple thing, yet it was about to make a really big difference in my life.
In the past, I barley acknowledged my own birthday. I never told people it was my birthday, yet secretly wanted them to know. I never planned to do anything, yet secretly wanted others to do something for me without actually letting them know that was what I wanted. I wanted other people to make me feel special, yet I did nothing to make myself feel special.
When I didn’t get what I wanted, it was a huge disappointment. With each year that passed and with each birthday that had been a let down, I had used it as proof that I wasn’t special. I used to be someone who had very few friends, even though I’ve lived in the same city all of my life. The truth was I used to believe that I wasn’t worth knowing – that people just wouldn’t be interested in knowing me.
‘Special’ was not something I had felt as a child, and had continued that lack into adulthood. There was a big lack of self worth. It was up to me to give myself the thing I’d missed out on and was craving.
So I decided to be a good friend to myself, and acknowledge my birthday. That was the first year I asked one good friend to come for a picnic with me in the National Park. It was great. And I continue every year to acknowledge the day in some way.
It was one of the turning points in my relationship with myself. Looking back now, I can see how my circle of friends has been expanding since then, and how this simple act from me was one of the instigators of that.
What are some of the things you do to be a good friend to yourself? Or what’s the thing that you’re still waiting for someone else to do for you?
This is really important because…
The quality of the relationship you have with yourself will determine the quality of the relationships you have with others.
The way we treat ourselves sets an example to the world of how we are to be treated.
If you feel the desire to have a better experience of life and all that life entails, then consciously create a better connection with yourself and you will feel your world shift… little by little, till one day you look up and realise how good life is.