Be Your Own Best Friend

What do you say to yourself? Who is your best friend?

I want you to think for a moment about the last thing that you said to yourself. Was it something kind or was it a criticism or self-berating. What is your general pattern of the things you say to yourself? Is it kind or cruel?

So many of the people I meet in my 121 work have a huge set of very negative things they say to themselves and this can feed into a whole host of behaviours which can hinder them in their personal and professional lives.

Procrastination, avoiding sales calls and a fear of public speaking can all be consequences of negative self-talk and the limiting beliefs we have about ourselves. And, when we continually say unkind things about ourselves, we reinforce our negative beliefs and feel less able to do things which might be a little outside our comfort zones.

Many of us speak to ourselves in a worse way than we would dream of speaking to anyone else in our lives. Many of the things we say to ourselves we would never consider saying to another person we care about. But, perhaps that is the issue, we don’t actually care about ourselves as much as we do other people. We don’t care about ourselves enough to say kind and affirmative things to ourselves.

And, the more unkind things you say to yourself, the less you tend to like yourself and the less likely you are to take care of yourself by doing things like putting healthy food into your body or doing some exercise. After all, why would you take care of something you don’t really like. Self-love is vital to attaining and maintaining your ideal weight, shape and size.

But, where does all this come from? Why do we treat ourselves unkindly in this way?

Not surprisingly, the way we feel about ourselves is installed early on in our lives. We don’t have to hear many negative messages about ourselves to begin to believe them and once they are installed as limiting beliefs, it is all too easy to find ourselves repeating those beliefs to ourselves in our everyday lives.

So, how can we counteract this?

Firstly, it’s a good idea to realise that you are the only person who accompanies you all day long, throughout your life. Imagine the effect of you having your own personal cheerleader with you all day long; having someone who keeps telling you that you are amazing. Imagine if you were your own best friend.

Start with awareness as awareness brings power.

Just start today by noticing how you speak to yourself. Do you berate yourself out loud or do you do it in your head? I used to call myself a b****y silly woman out loud if I even made a simple mistake like dropping something. When I started to notice this, I began firstly to tone it down. Firstly, I changed it to ‘silly sausage’ or similar which felt less severe and gradually over time I reduced this to ‘oops’. In order to make this easier, it is useful to realise that ‘to err is human, to forgive divine’ as Alexander Pope wrote in his famous poem ‘An Essay on Criticism’. Making mistakes is okay, we all do it and it does not make you a particular type of person e.g. stupid, an idiot or even silly just because you make one mistake.

To help you on this journey, affirmations are a very powerful tool. Positive, present tense, possible and personal statements can help you to rewire your brain if used as part of a programme of repetition. Because your negative view of yourself has been installed through hearing it repeatedly from others and then from yourself, you need to hear the new positive affirmations over and over to rewire your mind, so you can feel better about yourself. Try repeating your affirmations 10 times every morning and evening and add visual embedding by writing them on post-it notes around your home and workspace or even on the dashboard of your car.

Some examples of affirmations might include:

I am confident
I am motivated
I am energetic
I am learning to love myself (and then as you feel better ‘I love myself’)
I am beautiful

Although, saying these may feel hard at first, please persevere so that your mind gets a chance to take them onboard. If you would like any help writing affirmations, please get in touch.