When I walk through my volleyball gym, I hear a lot of talk about BFF’s, which, of course, stands for Best Friend Forever. These magical creatures rarely exist forever, yet having friends who support you for the long term is like building a house on a solid foundation. When we are surrounded by supportive friends, our whole lives seem brighter. And on the contrary, without supportive friends life is bleak. I read a study somewhere that loneliness is as damaging to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Since we know the importance of good friends, why are we so nasty to ourselves? We talk to ourselves on the daily in a way that we would never talk to a friend; sometimes our self-talk is so cruel, we would hesitate to talk to an enemy in the same fashion.
If we aren’t kind to ourselves, why would we expect anyone else to be kind to us? And more importantly, if we don’t pattern kindness to ourselves in front of our children, we may be setting them up for the same lack of self care. This was brought to my attention when we were gazing at wedding pictures from my middle child’s lovely nuptials. In one picture, I looked, well, slightly broader than a barn. I said the same out loud, and my youngest looked at me gravely, “I don’t like it when you say mean things about yourself.” She was not kidding, and something clicked in my head. I realized all the times I make self-deprecating humor about my looks, but I didn’t realize that it had an effect on my girls.
Right then and there, I apologized to my daughter, and myself, and vowed to do better. And now I challenge you to do the same. If you notice that your self-talk is mean, stop and ask why. Is it because you think barking orders at yourself is motivating? Do you FEEL motivated by that? Or do you just feel deflated. Pretend as though you are someone very precious, and treat yourself accordingly. How will you Be Your Own BFF this week? A date at a bookstore? A walk outside? A small shopping trip for a new pen, scarf, Range Rover? It’s up to you and your needs. Try treating yourself as you would your oldest, dearest friend, because you are.