By: Mae Lewis
One of the most important lessons that you can learn in life is to be a friend to yourself. Many times in your life, you will be alone — alone with your thoughts, alone in tragedy, alone in triumph, and at the end of the day, the only person you have is yourself. The one person who you will spend forever with is yourself. Your relationship with yourself extends into eternity, so be a friend to yourself sooner rather than later.
Some of the most painful times in my life were when I was alone. I grew up surrounded by people. I didn’t know how to be alone. Even when I was surrounded by people, I was lonely. I didn’t know myself, and so I couldn’t appreciate who I was. Being alone meant being depressed. As a result, I sought out validation from unhealthy sources. Some of the biggest mistakes I have made in my life were because I was afraid to be alone. When I learned to sit with myself in the quiet and embrace the parts of myself that I didn’t like – as I would do with a dear friend– I was empowered and healed. I recognized that I didn’t need to continue to seek out validation from relationships or friendships because the only person whose opinion mattered was my own. I learned to comfort myself. I learned to heal myself. I learned how to be a friend to myself. I’ve stopped feeling lonely.
Love and accept yourself FIRST. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone that you loved. I often hear people say things like, “I’m so stupid,” or “I’m so ugly.” The truth is that you would not say those things to someone you really cared about…so why are you saying them to yourself? On the other hand, if someone spoke to you the way that you speak to yourself, would you allow them to be your friend? Would you allow someone to speak to your child that way? There is a piece inside of you that is a child. Don’t bully yourself.
The second greatest commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31). It starts with loving yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how are you going to love anyone else? If you make friends with yourself, you will never be alone. If you aren’t friends with yourself, then you are going to work against yourself. You can be your own friend, or you can be an enemy to yourself. If you are your own enemy, you won’t truly be happy or at peace.
It is much easier to be kind and supportive to others than it is to be kind to yourself, but if all you are doing is being unkind to yourself, you destroy your ability to be happy. You will undermine your own self-confidence and set yourself up to fail. Showing compassion to yourself, as you would to a friend, is important for being happy, for being confident, and for being emotionally healthy.
Some days, there will be no one there for you but yourself. In those times, are you going to tell yourself what a loser you are? Or are you going to take that part of you that is hurting in your arms and say, “Hey, it’s okay…you are loved.”
With today’s technology, it is very easy to create an environment where you are never alone with yourself, and many of us can quiet our “inner demons” day after day by surrounding ourselves with noise so that we don’t have to face our inner self. It’s easy to fall asleep with the television on or by taking sleeping pills so that you don’t have to have conversations with yourself as you lie awake at night. But no matter what you do, you will not be able to get away from yourself, either in this life or the next. If you see yourself as broken and wounded, be a friend and help yourself pick up the pieces.
Learn to enjoy the company of yourself, even if that means having some hard conversations with yourself first. Learn to forgive yourself and extend grace to yourself. Recognize that you are not perfect and you will make mistakes, but you can always try to be better. Accept yourself the way you are. Fight for yourself. Appreciate yourself. Believe in yourself. Be compassionate to yourself.
At the end of the day, the only person you will be alone with is yourself. “Sometimes, you are all you have, and sometimes, that’s all you need.”
By: Mae Lewis