I was listening to the Therapy For Black Girls podcast earlier, and something the guest speaker (Dr Kristin Neff) mentioned stuck with me. She talked about having self-compassion and asked to check if "you are a good friend to yourself."
I couldn't stop thinking about it, it stuck with me the whole day. I realized that maybe I have been coasting through life not being kind enough to myself. I can't say I am my good friend; and I'll admit how terrible I can be to me. How ridiculous is that?
I started to think about the qualities I love that my close friends show towards me, and checked if I offer myself same. How do we assess if someone is a good friend to us? When do we realize they are truly on our team, fighting, championing, encouraging, and rooting for us? What do we want from our close friends and family? and what are the things they do/ have done that make us hug them a little tighter, and warm our hearts a little longer? Do you take time to extend that love to yourself?
For me, I would want friends who while being honest are able to do so kindly. Using their words to build me and assuring me that they want the best for me. I would like my friends and family to respect and accept me and my opinions. I genuinely wonder if I am that kind to myself. Do I respect myself enough to always know when to walk vs when to understand? have I accepted myself? Am I always honest with myself even kindly or do I slice myself in honesty - silently confessing negative descriptions of me? How would you feel if your friend tears you down all the time? What do you think that does for your self-esteem?
Most of us would love to be surrounded by people who show us grace, who can forgive us and think the best of us. I am not talking about always making excuses for wrongs, I am talking about being given necessary time to right wrongs, to do better, or to be heard before being judged or cancelled. Do you take time to hear yourself out and assess what you are feeling, acknowledge it, and deal? Do you give yourself another chance when you have messed up or failed? Or are you so quick to cancel yourself, singing songs about how unworthy you are? Do you show grace to yourself?
What kind friend would you be if you are not humble enough to acknowledge your wrong towards others, with the intent and courage to do better. I think we need to direct same energy when we do ourselves wrong.
Do you remember how far you have come like your friends do for you? Do you take some time to accept the blessings and opportunities before you, like your loved ones do? Or are you continuously feeling like you do not belong on the table God has rightly prepared for you? You should look into the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful, intelligent, and worthy you are - it is yours.
For someone like me who is very self-aware, I am also quite critical of me and I think these make it difficult to be a great friend to myself, but I want to be intentional about being kind to me. However, it is a muscle that needs continuous work & I'll try to keep lifting. I hope you are encouraged and have found some ways through this post to be better to yourself. We need to be on our individual teams too; fighting, championing, encouraging & rooting!!!
To improve our self-care and mental health, I think it is important to be kind to ourselves, to be a support to our own selves, just like we want our support to.... and yes, we all still need people because there will be moments when you are unable and that is one of the reasons we all need each-other; so, we can lean on.