From Our Readers
September 06, 2013 6:00 am

Being a good friend to yourself. This idea didn’t come into my consciousness until I read a quote by David Foster Wallace from David Lipsky’s, ‘Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself’. It wasn’t until I read David Foster Wallace’s words where it really struck me and knocked me to the ground. I think it can be a lot easier for us to treat our friends/family/friendly acquaintances extremely well but often not use that same kindness with ourselves.

It takes a lot more effort and energy to stop that negative chatter in our head, or what I like to call, “the crazy lady (or man)” who we all have living in our upstairs conscious, who is often in battle mode. If you aren’t being a good friend to yourself then how can you be one to others? We deserve to give ourselves just as much, if not more love than we give to our friends and family. Isn’t life about finding our own inner happiness and learning how to love ourselves? If it hasn’t been, it should be.

When I think of this term, being a good friend to yourself, it means being kind, gentle, compassionate, respectful, to truly listen to your inner voice and love who you are. When I’m upset, stressed or angry with myself or a situation I try and think about what I would say to a friend if they were telling me this. I think of what my response would be and I say it to myself, sometimes even out loud, so I can fully take in my words. When I’m being hard on myself I will often think, I wouldn’t say this to someone I love so why am I saying it to me? It can take a lot of effort to be cognizant of this and to stop the thoughts dead in there tracks but I think it’s one of the most important acts of kindness we can give ourselves. It’s a crucial reminder that we are never completely alone because we always have a friend within us. For some, it might not be so easy to find that friend, deep down inside. If this is the case, it might be helpful to do some exploration and reflection as to why this is, while thinking of ways that might aid in diffusing this inner frenemy.

I will leave you with this inspiring quote from David Foster Wallace, “If you can think of times in your life that you treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child that we loved more than life itself. And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do it.”

Treat yourself like a good, precious friend. Take yourself out for dinner, or treat yourself to a massage, or take yourself for a long walk. Most importantly, be kind, be compassionate, be open, listen wholeheartedly and forgive yourself. Try and work every day at treating yourself with extraordinary decency and love, because throughout this whole universe there is only one you and you deserve to love yourself, your inner friend, with all of your heart.

You can see more from Lucy L. Fisher on her blog.

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