You know how to be a friend to others but how about being a friend to yourself?
If a friend is sad, you don’t tell them to get a grip and pull themselves together, do you? I hope not! You tell them that it’s ok to be sad and you make them feel safe to talk to you about their troubles.
You instinctively know how to look after the people you love and care about.
So, why is it so difficult to do this for yourself?
The answer lies in self-acceptance or rather the lack of it!
You accept your friends when they are sad or happy. You know that they are good enough already and you can help them find a solution to their problem. You keep in mind all the things that they already do right and you are ready to remind them. You remind them of their progress and successes.
You remember their earlier good versions of themselves. You don’t do this because you have to; you do this because it’s true and you care about them.
You know that messing up is human! We all mess up! And we all mess up in our own unique ways.
These things are the skills needed to be a good friend. And you are good at it.
The problem comes when you can't apply these skills to yourself. But why?
It’s easy to be self-critical when we mess up and we forget to be kind to ourselves. Being kind is not being lazy. It’s about learning from your mistakes and saying it’s ok to get things wrong.
We live in a world that is obsessed with 'instant' success so we fail to notice our progress in relation to the scale of the task; we want results and we want them now but we don't give enough attention to just how much we've already achieved.
We tend to attempt most big milestones in life blindly. Think about this...
· Did you know what it would be like to commit to another person in a relationship before you did it?
· Did you know what it was like to relocate to a new town or country until you'd actually done it and given it a go?
- When you chose your job, did you know you were going to like it before you started doing it every day?
It’s no wonder we will make mistakes and have ups and downs. That’s the time when we need our friends.
The thing is, the friend we always have with us is actually ourselves. Our best resource can be us; a kind person inside our minds cheering us along.
You are allowed to be nice to yourself. That’s self-compassion.
Self-compassion is the way you relate to yourself in a positive way. The way to do this is by being a friend to you, being kind and your own personal cheerleader!
When you show compassion to yourself, you feel good and safe. This makes it possible to pick yourself back up again and try again. To learn from your mistakes and carry on.
Just imagine if on a bad day, you asked yourself 'what can I do to help?'
If you were a friend to yourself, reminding yourself of ways to fix your problem or by actually listening to how you feel.
Self-compassion is not self-indulgent or selfish. It’s necessary to thrive and grow. It’s also important to have the energy to be compassionate to others.
Ideas on how to learn to become a friend to yourself...
1. Think about the enormity of the task that you are taking on. Failing at something does not mean that you are a failure. It means that you have a chance to learn!
2. Our family history and childhood influence our lives in the here and now. It’s kind to accept ourselves as doing the best we can with the best resources we were given. It’s a chance to learn about new resources we want to add to ourselves.
3. Don’t believe that everyone else is as big a success as they seem. The media is unhelpful so reduce your media consumption, especially if you are feeling sad or low.
4. Listen to the people who love you and care for you regardless of your achievements. Their voices will help you get through any low moments as they don’t define you by your successes. You are more than your achievements.
5. Rest when you need to. Simple.
The common theme with the above is that to be your own friend, you have to accept yourself and show some self-compassion.
If you have any questions or you'd like to talk about what it could be like to silence that inner critic, message me and we can have a chat.