I pulled this quote from an interview with Mindy Kaling a few years back. She was talking about her mother and the pieces of advice she was giving Mindy when she was dying of pancreatic cancer. This one hit pretty close to home — not because my mother has cancer, or is dying, or is even remotely unhealthy (in fact she is embarrassingly better in shape than I’ve ever been), but because my mother, too, is my rock. If I had to go through what Kaling went through, watching her mother pass away, I’m not sure I could survive it.
As far as the quote goes though, I’ve never agreed more. I’ve gone through life with a small number of great friends, a few not so great, and a lot in between. In fact, friends haven’t exactly been my strong suit. I’ve had a string of bad luck, where many of them have either let me down or disappeared completely, without explanation or justification. It’s hurt, but I’ve had one person that’s always lifted me back up, kept me strong and reinstated my confidence: myself.
Yup, you read that right. I am, without doubt, my own best friend. Some of my most treasured moments have been spent alone. And to me that’s okay. In fact, it’s great — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The world has become a place where we more often talk about learning to like ourselves, how we must come to terms with our flaws and push past them. To me, this is not enough; we need to learn to be our own best friends. We need to treat ourselves with the respect, admiration and pride we would with any other best friend: if someone was putting them down, we’d stand up for them. If someone was hurting them, we’d pretty much kick their ass. If good things were coming their way, we’d jump up and down with excitement, proud of what they’ve accomplished.
Maybe it’s odd, but I make myself laugh on a daily basis. I sit down and binge-watch episodes of Shameless in complete solitude. I sit in my favorite café and sip on lattes, alone with my thoughts. I make time for myself, the same way we would with any other person we cared about.
Maybe it’s not “PC” to admit this, since mostly what everyone talks about is what they’d changed about themselves, but… I actually like me. Screw it, I love me. I think I’m fairly awesome. I think I’m funny and kind and warm. I feel good about what I’ve accomplished and I look forward to the possibilities of what my future holds. That’s not to say I think I’m better than anyone else, and I definitely don’t think I’m a prodigy of any kind.
Of course there are times I’m angry with myself or sad or disappointed at my shortcomings. But when a friend messes up, do we stay mad at them forever? If they’re worthwhile of our friendship, then the answer is no. We forgive. We move on. So, the next time you feel yourself looking in a mirror with disgust or thinking self-defeating thoughts, ask yourself if you’d look at or speak to your best friend that way. Trust me — it works. And if you don’t believe me, ask my best friend. She’ll back me up on this one.