Are You A Good Friend… To Yourself?

if you had a friend that spoke to you in the way you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?

yesterday, as i clicked through my daily reads outside of the black blogosphere, most of them sites like Pick The Brain, Lifehack and CNN, i came across a site that i used to absolutely stalk when i needed to build a character’s personality and wholeness when writing a story. the site, called Thought Questions, has a relatively simple yet genius premise: pair a thought provoking or life question with a visually stunning related photo, and have people answer it. it’s rather amazing what happens when you have a character you’ve just thought up, answer a question about their life. suddenly this whole person starts to form, with dreams, and aspirations, and a detailed history.

the above question made me pause. i stared for a moment, but before i could form a character response, i started to consider all the hurtful adjectives i’ve slung my way during not-so-happy days. all the cruel words i’ve thought about the image staring back at me in the mirror, or doomed my life’s trajectory with a few dismissive and counterproductive conversations with myself on particularly negative days. i thought, what if a friend, even my best friend had said these things? would i appreciate her honesty? would i be able to take her words without any animosity and love her as the great friend she is?

the answer was no.

and honestly, i’d probably be devastated and completely hurt.

i’d never really considered this perspective before reading that question. did other people beat themselves up, disrespect and berate themselves at times in ways they’d absolutely not tolerate from anyone else? of course, i took my thoughts to twitter. i posted the question and before long, the answer that i wasn’t alone was quite obvious:

 @skinnyblackgirl: absolutely not. I’d fight someone for talking to me the way I talk to myself.

@MF_Greatest: The things I say to myself are absolutely ridiculous. I am so mean.

@Lifeinbmajor: a very interesting concept; that friend wudnt last long, they wud be slightly neurotic, paranoid, self-doubting, and indecisive.

it was eye opening. with the exception of one person, everyone claimed they’d definitely have no words, much less friendship, for anyone who talked to them like they talk to themselves. the idea that someone would have the gall to speak to you in the way you speak to yourself is apparently like someone agreeing with your angry words in a vent about your mom: you can say it, they better not.

it made me realize how important it is to Love self first. i mean truly Love yourself, the good and the bad, like you’d expect a best friend or a romantic partner to do. approach everything from a positive center, even aspects and traits that you deem negative about yourself, and more than likely, you’ll feel motivated to change it, instead of defeated and depressed about it.

we expect encouragement, loyalty, Love, consideration of our feelings, sincere interest in our happiness, and most of all, respect from friends. so why doesn’t this standard exist for ourselves? how quickly we’d disown someone who thought of us what we think of ourselves. it doesn’t make sense to demand someone treat a precious stone with care and love, while we drop it, step on it with dirty soles, and crush it to dust time and again.

most of the time, i think i’m pretty dope. i try not to allow myself to get down, repeat positive affirmations and truly believe them, and try to emanate a general positivity and awesomeness. but during those quiet times of doubt, those moments not broadcast for public, i will now remember to be a good friend to myself, and not dwell on the negativity.

remembering that you do possess the ability to change how you think, what thoughts you choose to accept, and how you act on them, is a step in the right direction. i truly believe we are what we think, so remember to do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you.

note: @skinnyblackgirl wrote something amazing (as usual) about her battle with internal dialogue based on this twitter convo. read it here: The Mental Rope-A-Dope.

4 comments

  1. I saw that floating around twitter and never got a chance to retweet it. To answer it, yes, I would be friends with someone who talked to me like I talk to myself.

    There are many people who can’t be or remain friends with me BECAUSE of how I express myself. I am frank/direct, blunt, and sometimes can come across insensitive. I get right to the point of things because too much deliberating and rehashing might make me choose something I know is not good for me. That is how I interact with others and I am not offended when others deal with me in the same manner. Sometimes it can come across as me being mean because of my tendency to not sugar coat things but there is never any ill feelings or “hatred” attached to my words. I am starting to use “softer” words with other people though because I understand no matter how many times I apologize for hurting someones feelings, they will always take it the way their perspective tells them to.

    Life…it is always a work in progress 🙂

  2. I sincerely doubt I would be my friend. Me and my internal voice go AT IT. And it is usually not pretty.

    My friends know me to be bountiful with praise and encouragement and unfailing in my confidence and support of them. I recently had a friend that asked why I couldn’t turn that cheerleader inward. I had no answer. And still don’t.

    Now if you’ll excuse me…*goes to camp out in my feelings over this post* lol

  3. I’M like La. My internal voice is a bitch, most of the time, and there is a tiny grain of truth in what she says, and thus begins the struggle.

    Most people don’t know this about me, I’ve ALWAYS struggled with self doubt, self image and self worth (that bitch again), which has led me to make some really bad decisions. She likes to create chaos, then leave me to clean it up, without really understanding how it got to that state.

    Anyway, it’s good to know that other people share the same struggle.

Say it loud, say it proud... just not in all caps.

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