My good friend, Simon, and I were talking at the post-festival celebration way-too-early this morning, and he told me about this idea he had through conversations with others. He talked about how we know that we all have that voice inside our head that can either really motivate us or make us self-conscious and self-doubting. But we also actually say these things to ourselves out loud constantly. We audibly tell ourselves all the time that we can’t get things done today because we’re out of time, we’ll never complete our tasks, we’re totally failing, etc. etc. And we do this quite often, maybe without even giving it a second thought. I know that if I’m not hitting my goals for the day, or even for the moment, I’ll often mumble something to the effect of, “Pick it up, Rodriguez. What’s wrong with you?” We are far more open and accepting of putting ourselves down than with anybody else.
Simon extrapolated this idea of our audible self-criticism and came up with a “what-if” scenario where that voice was an actual being. Imagine that voice being a you that just hates on you. Then, imagine if all of those things that you say to yourself was actually said to somebody else. That would be intolerable in almost every case that it could happen. What if you had a person that just walked beside you all the time telling you what you can’t do and what you won’t get done by your deadlines? I’d imagine you’d want to punch that person in the face after a certain amount of time. So why do we put up with ourselves doing it to ourselves?
When we help out our friends, family, or even strangers, we do it out of kindness. We’re friends for a reason, and we’re respectful for a reason. Simon poses the question, “why can’t we just be friends with ourselves?”. And he’s right. When we see someone we love struggling with a task, we immediately do our best to encourage and uplift them to reach their goal. We push them to better things, bigger results, and into an more positive mindset, overall. We know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that kind of motivation, and that’s what sparks us into reciprocating or even paying it forward. There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be doing that to ourselves. And that’s not to say that we don’t do it from time to time — we’ve all given ourselves that “talk” before a big presentation or speech or sporting event, telling ourselves that we can do it — but if we did it more often than putting ourselves down, the positive energy and outcomes would be tremendous.
We always hear that we should love ourselves more, but we tend to forget that part of loving ourselves more is hating ourselves less. Don’t dwell on mistakes; they’ve already been made. Learn what’s necessary to grow and evolve, and tell yourself that you’ll make it happen next time. And if that fails, congratulate yourself on not giving up. Question why things didn’t work only as a strategic self-conversation as opposed to thinking that there’s something wrong with you.
Be your own best friend. Your other best friends will thank you, especially when you teach them how to be best friends to themselves, too.
Thanks, Simon of Thunderheart Guidance for the idea for this post. I don’t mean to steal your…thunder…but I needed to write this down, if only to remind myself about this in the future.