• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
8,521
Points
48
By Cheryl Rainfield
from Treat yourself like a friend


We often treat our friends better than we treat ourselves. We greet them with happiness and affection. We listen to them with compassion and understanding, and we don't try to silence them when they need to grumble or complain. And we are unequivocally, unalterably on their side. How much of this do we do for ourselves? And wouldn't we feel a lot better if we treated ourselves with the same generosity and love that we do our friends?

There are so many ways we are good to our friends. We take them out for coffee or bring them little treats. We encourage them to be in their feelings, and offer them what support we can. We give them hugs, advice, and love, and even when our friends have made mistakes, we rush in to support and reassure them.

But when it comes to ourselves, we can often be quick to judge. We may silence ourselves when really we need to complain or to talk something through. We may withhold treats or small pleasures from ourselves until we have completed a particular goal. But would we treat a friend that way? No, of course not.

Often we don't actively look for hugs or praise (even when we need them) and we may forget to give these things to ourselves. We may be quick to criticize ourselves, to notice our mistakes, and to point out what we see as weaknesses or faults in ourselves. But if we can just reach inside for a little of that compassion, good will, and generosity that we give to our friends, how much better we could feel. Like we have a friend inside us all the time, instead of a critical parent, a harsh taskmaster, or an enemy.

Constantly criticizing yourself, silencing yourself, or suppressing yourself takes a lot of energy. So try to see yourself the way you would see a friend. Try to give yourself that same affectionate, indulgent treatment, and you may find yourself feeling happier and lighter, with more energy to do the things you really want to. It's worth trying, isn't it? You probably would for a friend. :)
 

secendart

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
7
Points
1
This is a really really good artical. There should be a link to this thread on all the other pages for all to read, as a sticky.
 

Mrs. King

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
42
Points
6
My counsellor had a sign which read "be your own best friend", and I really liked that. But sometimes, if I pat myself on the back for things, or think I am actually a really nice person, afterwards I modify my generous thoughts towards myself with the idea that I probably don't see myself the way the rest of the world sees me. How is it possible to introspect objectively? ;o) Is that being too hard on yourself, do you think? Or just honest?
 

prayerbear

Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2005
Messages
187
Points
16
Thanks Janet! Great advice

I agree that I have always been a little too hard on myself. I grew up in an environment where my family members were so undisciplined and just did what they felt like with no regard to how it may affect others! (They lived like animals!) I got so disgusted with people who are sloppy, slept around before they were married, were selfish, moped in self-pity) because of my family background.
I think I used my inner critic as a defense mechanism so I wouldnt go out of control, so to speak! But it got so loud that I had to ease on myself gradually and allow for more flaws and enjoyment of life without losing my self-discipline.
What drives me nuts, though, are people who are undisciplined(severely), have no morals, are very selfish, live like animals, are self-centered, etc. On the job I feel like pulling out my hair because I am still a little hard on myself, but dont want to lose control over my own self. I noticed the rewards of self-discipline are great!
I am not saying, however, everyone is like this. I am saying that those who are, but this lack of self-discipline bugs me completely!
Sometimes, others might think I am trying to be superior to them by my stubborn hard work, chaste life, but truly this is my defense mechanism against a very out of control family background!
Does anyone relate to this scenario?
 

comfortzone

Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2005
Messages
405
Points
16
Hi Mrs. King,

I think it is easier to be too hard on oneself. I once heard "what other people think of me is none of my business." Words to live by. Self worth is based upon the qualities you have and share with others. I have found that other people's opinions are based merely on their experiences and not my own. Therefore, their opinions of my self worth are only their opinions, not necessarily based upon facts.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,856
Points
113
On a bad day, if I pat myself on the back, I jump around and tell myself, "Hey! Don't ever do that to a person before he's had at least his first cup of coffee!" Then I get cranky at myself and start a fight. After that happens a few times, I realize it's just not worth it and I just don't pat myself on the back any more... really, around this house it just causes more trouble than it's worth...

:eek:)
 

Mrs. King

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
42
Points
6
Dr. Baxter - one of yourselves is a bad-tempered so-and-so, and really should not be allowed down to breakfast ;o)
 

Mrs. King

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
42
Points
6
Bye the way, Dr. Dobson, great philosophy -what other people think of me is none of my business- it really made me laugh! On the other hand, could just be a good excuse for unbridled Hedonism!
Does what other people think of you really not matter, do you think? Many aspects of my life are governed by what other people might think about my actions. Except my house is a pig-sty, as I would rather read a book, or attend a class, than wash my floor. Why is it that I don't care if people see my unwashed or unvacuumed floors, and so on, yet I would care very much if people thought I was unkind, or selfish?
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,856
Points
113
I think you're right. I'm whispering because the grumpy one is sleeping right now and I don't want to wake him up...
 

comfortzone

Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2005
Messages
405
Points
16
Hi Mrs. King,

Laughter is great! Your unwashed or unvacuumed floors represent things you know you can change about yourself; however, you may not feel like you can change the perception of others especially when your opinion of yourself is already low. The opinions of others seem to reinforce your own feelings about your self worth. You see...you are valuable and worthy without other people's opinions.
 

ThatLady

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
4,104
Points
36
Mrs. King said:
Bye the way, Dr. Dobson, great philosophy -what other people think of me is none of my business- it really made me laugh! On the other hand, could just be a good excuse for unbridled Hedonism!
Does what other people think of you really not matter, do you think? Many aspects of my life are governed by what other people might think about my actions. Except my house is a pig-sty, as I would rather read a book, or attend a class, than wash my floor. Why is it that I don't care if people see my unwashed or unvacuumed floors, and so on, yet I would care very much if people thought I was unkind, or selfish?

In my opinion, what others think of you is of absolutely no importance, in and of itself. What's important is how others are affected by you. If we just try to treat others as we would like to be treated, that's the best we can give. Nobody can possibly please everybody.
 

Mrs. King

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
42
Points
6
Hand on heart, ThatLady, that is exactly how I try to live every day, with all people. Trouble is, I find that people take advantage of me. I cannot abandon the philosophy because I believe it is the right way to live, but I really dislike people who take advantage. Then, how can I be nice anymore to people I think are ungrateful or selfish? I know I sound really pious and morally superior, but this is my major problem with all my relationships; especially relationships with men. I start out with them liking me, then end up as a door mat, and neither of us have any respect for me anymore. I don't know how to stop this pattern.
 

ThatLady

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
4,104
Points
36
Treating someone else as you would be treated does not mean letting others use you, or take advantage of your good nature. If you think about it, you wouldn't want others to prostrate themselves at your feet asking you to walk all over them. That would be pretty darned uncomfortable, as I see it.

Instead, you want to be able to respect others, and have them respect you. That's done by giving respect and expecting to be respected in return. It's done by standing up for yourself when need be. I admit, it took me quite awhile to learn that, but once learned it's a lesson not soon forgotten. It changes your life for the better.

Nobody can take advantage of you unless you give them that advantage. You can be a good friend, and do your best for other people, without being a doormat. When you feel you're being used, speak up. Announce, clearly, that you're not anybody's goat, and that you don't intend to be. It's not easy to do the first time, but it gets easier as you practice letting others know that you are a person in your own right...with the same rights and feelings as they have, and that you expect those rights and feelings to be honored.
 

Benjamin

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2005
Messages
33
Points
6
We may be quick to criticize ourselves, to notice our mistakes, and to point out what we see as weaknesses or faults in ourselves. But if we can just reach inside for a little of that compassion, good will, and generosity that we give to our friends, how much better we could feel. Like we have a friend inside us all the time, instead of a critical parent, a harsh taskmaster, or an enemy.
I was doing the equivalent of criticizing myself -- I was replaying the criticisms of me by others, over and over in my head. If I was having a hard time with something, I'd recall someone treating me like I was stupid... that kind of thing. I've been doing this for years and I'm finally beginning to stop that destructive behavior by being a friend to myself. Now, when I catch myself recalling how someone treated me with disrespect, I tell myself, "Awww don't do that to yourself, buddy. Don't beat yourself up. You're a good guy." It's making me feel better about myself. I was so bad to myself for so many years, I know I'm not going to get better overnight, but I do feel like I'm finally making progress.
 

comfortzone

Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2005
Messages
405
Points
16
Benjamin,

I appreciate your input as it is a useful way of working to stop the negative self-talk. Good job!
 

Modus.Ponens

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2005
Messages
74
Points
6
I've been doing this for a long time... :( . A lot of my stress comes from being too demanding to myself and excessively critic.

But a few days ago, after a very important therapy session, I realised that I must treat myself with kindness. Enough of this "autofascism"! I've been treating myself with kindness for a while and I feel a lot of peace inside me... :) There's a buddhist meditation to cutivate loving kindness were we start developing it to oneself. I find this very helpfull.
 

jlconsultants

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
3
Points
1
Excellent article, Janet! I have often asked my clients how they would treat their own best friend in a given situation, and then openly asked why they weren't treating themselves in the same manner. I believe it is vital that we be our own best friends, and treat ourselves as we would our best friend--with our advice, with our concern, with our thoughts, and with our actions.

Take Care,
Joanna Leigh
 

Top Bottom