Welcome to Adulthood

Adulthood and the Forever Friendship with…YOURSELF

 

“The person I am is forever with me.” – Louis Hay

When I was in elementary school, my mom would pick me up from school and ask me two important questions: 1) How was your day today? 2) What was one new thing you learned today?

These questions (though my answers were simple as a 7 year old) are still really fundamental to my life. So much of my blog (and my life!) is dedicated to recalling back on each day (“How was your day today, Mara?”) and then thinking about one new thing I learned.  

I remember one day in second grade when my mom picked me up from school and I was crying. “How was your day?” she asked in a consoling tone.

Between sobs I replied, “Baaa-aaddd! Melissa and Nicole wouldn’t play with the ball with me today!” I guess I was very upset that my two little elementary school buddies didn’t include me in whatever they were doing that day.

My mom, always wise and insightful, said, “Well, people aren’t always going to want to play with you, and that’s okay. Tomorrow why don’t you bring your own ball and you can play with it.”

The next day, I brought my own ball. I remember that day well. I was embarrassed to play alone with my ball, but I did it. And I did it the day after that, and the one after that, until it got pretty easy to play by myself (because it was actually fun). Luckily, Melissa and Nicole must have eventually played with me again (we are still best buddies 20+ years later), but in the recalling this little childhood experience I am able to learn a lot about adulthood. That is, no matter who plays with you, always be your own best friend.

This means, even during the worst times, be able to love and console yourself unconditionally. Be able to give yourself positive self-talk to remind yourself of all of your great attributes, and all of the awesome things you have to offer to the world.

This idea of “being your own best friend” came up yesterday with one of my girlfriends. This particular friend, a smart and beautiful twenty-something, was voicing concern about wearing her bikini in front of her serious live-in boyfriend during a vacation they have planned for the summer. “As strange as it sounds, I have never worn a bikini in front of him, and I really don’t know if I would feel comfortable.”

This is an instance where being your own best friend becomes invaluable. So, I gave my friend a challenge: “Every day tell yourself five positive things about yourself. Maybe things like, I am healthy and active. I am beautiful. I am smart and funny. I am a great catch. I love my [insert favorite body part here.]”

My friend wrinkled her nose at this challenge and blushed, “I’m going to feel silly saying that! Especially about my [insert chosen favorite body part here]!” (…)

I recounted to her the story of when I brought my ball to school, and how felt silly and embarrassed to play with it alone. Then, slowly but surely after doing it every day for a while, I felt good about it, until it became normal and fun. Certainly a child “feeling good” about playing with a ball alone in a playground is a very different scenario than a young woman feeling great about strutting her stuff in her bikini in front of a boyfriend, BUT the idea of being your own best friend is applicable in both cases.

Sure, you might feel silly at first telling yourself how wonderful you are, complimenting yourself on all of your virtues and attributes, but after a while you start to feel good about it – because you start to realize that what you are telling yourself is true! And like a true friend, you are just reminding yourself of your greatness. As a true friend should.

Being your own best friend is not just about reminding yourself about how great you are. It is also about being the absolute best to yourself and treating yourself with love and respect at all times, and how we accomplish this is personal to each and every one of us — be it by loving our bikini bod or being content to “play alone.”

For me, being my own best friend goes a-little something like this:

I wake up in the morning and, if even for only a moment, I recognize that I am grateful to be alive. I try to respect my body by eating healthy foods (and rewarding it with some junk food too) and giving it exercise. After a hard day, I tell myself how proud of myself I am because I tried my best and I learned. After a heart break, I tell myself I am kind and smart and pretty and fun and I deserve an awesome partner to match me. After something awesome happens in my life, I jump for joy or dance around my apartment, just by myself, and tell myself I am awesome. I listen to my own advice (after all, I know myself best) and if I start to go down a path that isn’t a positive one for me, I give myself a stern talking to – and I heed my own warnings. I do the things I enjoy for myself (because no one has more in common with me than me!) I surround myself only with people who are good to me, and who I can be good to in return. I tell others that I am grateful for them and that I love them. I tell them this warmly and often. And I tell this to myself too….  

If you love yourself unconditionally (and sometimes it takes practice), every thing else will fall into place. I believe that.

In what ways are you “your own best friend”? During what instances is it most hard to be your own best friend? When is it easiest? These questions or any other comments are up for discussion. Share your thoughts!

Photo by Mike Baird via Flickr.

Author:

3 Responses to “Adulthood and the Forever Friendship with…YOURSELF”

Author comments are in a darker gray color for you to easily identify the posts author in the comments

  1. carla says:

    my long lost friend 🙂 i love your blog. visit mine here – http://www.theprettydish.com. i’m gonna go find you on twitter now! –Carla

  2. Lexie says:

    For me, it is sometimes the hardest to be my best friend when it’s advising me against something, or being super honest with myself. Obviously my inner friend knows me and wants the best for me, but sometimes I just want to do what I want to do. In the end, it is always best to head the advice of my inner best friend. Because the worst is when the “I told you so” is coming from yourself.

    Also, it is hard to be your own best friend when things are really down in the dumps. It takes a lot of inner strength to be able to look yourself in the mirror, remember why you are kick ass, and embrace life to the fullest. Lately, my own best friend has had to remind me that I have a choice to be emotionally affected and hurt by things people do to me. Only you have the power dictate how long negative things will affect you.

    Thanks Mara!!!!

    • Mara says:

      Lexie,
      Wow, what an awesome response we can all learn from. You are so right! It is so hard to be your best friend when the inner “devil on your shoulder” tells you something that the “angel” knows isn’t the best for you. Sometimes, truthfully, I have to make the mistake before I can learn the lesson. And when I make that mistake, it hurts — a lot. And when it hurts a lot I sometimes forget about my own best friend — but like a true friend, my own best friend always returns to me.

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Welcome to Adulthood

Powered by WordPress and Made by Guerrilla