My eldest daughter Scarlett is going through a phase of ‘trying to make me laugh. It’s very cute and most times she does make me laugh a little. Her most recent thing is to say ‘Scarlett’s my best friend’ She finds the notion of being her own best friend amusing. Her constant repetition of calling herself her best friend resulted in me thinking , What if I was my own best friend? What if I treated myself like I did my close friends? Would things be any different? I am hoping to unpack this train of thought in this blog. The wisdom of a 3 year old may even change your thinking.
A close friend is normally in your life because you enjoy their company and see attributes in them that make you want to be around them. The way we speak and act in front of them is done so out of love, honesty and compassion. Times of laughter are common. We don’t tend to hold their mistakes against them. Little bumps in the friendship are easily overcome because we recognise that they often make the relationship stronger.
How would things look if I was my own best friend? In my description of a good friend I talked about the way in which we speak to them in love. The big question is then how do we speak about ourselves? Lets be honest as we all speak to ourselves in a way even if its in silence. We can sit and think about all our failings and how incapable we are but what if instead we cheered ourself on? What if we became our biggest encouragers? I often speak out loud to myself and say ‘ You can do this Rachel, you are an overcomer’ I don’t even care if it makes me seem mad because I am just speaking out the truth. We are so fast to bring ourselves down and it does nothing but holds us back in life.
What about the truthful side of friendship? A good friend will speak the truth in love and not allow you to shy away from issues that will cause you harm. Do you tend to sweep things under the carpet or just pretend they are not happening? Imagine you sat down with yourself and were honest about what was going on in your life and what needed to be changed? A good friend would do this for us out of love and concern so therefore we should be free to speak to ourselves about what needs to change and why. Its great to have a friends wisdom but we are just as capable of speaking into our own situation.
Laughter is such a key thing in friendship in my opinion and a good belly laugh with a friend is priceless. What if we just relaxed a bit more an actually just had a laugh at some of the stupid stuff that we do or silly things that happen in life. Sometimes I do just laugh at days that just seem to go horrifically wrong in every sense. It certainly is a tonic as I feel better for it. What if you did not take yourself too seriously and actually let yourself unwind? When was the last time you just let go and acted all silly? I look at my children and they definitely know how to have a good time and just be silly. Watching their child like fun has inspired me to let go and just live life.
I talked about bumps in friendships making them stronger in the long run and it got me thinking about how much I can allow little bumps in my life define me and make me that tad bit weaker. When I mess up I can tend to stay stuck in my own mess rather than forgiving myself. I need to be able to recognise poor choices and allow reflection to make me stronger. In a friendship we can find it easy to forgive wrong doings. When it comes to ourselves however it can be so much harder!. Extend the same grace you would to your friend to yourself and see how freeing it can be. I do believe it is important to learn from theses mistakes and allow an extra layer of character to develop. A good friend won’t hurt you in the same way repeatedly. We can learn from what they did and move on.
The more I think about the whole ‘ being your own best friend’ the more I love it. Lots of people don’t love themselves and as a result hurt others and live a life full of heartache and self rejection. It can be seen as selfish to put so much emphasis on loving yourself but I think its the most selfless thing you could do. A person who knows who they are is a powerful person and someone who is infectious to be around. We live in a society where people are just crying out to be loved when really they need to learn to love themselves first. I want to be a mother , wife and friend who loves herself so she can love others in a healthy way. I love that a simple phrase from my child has me thinking about who I am and can ultimately change who I will be in the future.