Recently I found myself going through a tough time in my life. Like anyone else, I think I’m so much harder on myself and less forgiving than if it were someone else.
Why are we so good at making others feel seen and heard? Why are we so good at comforting them and making them feel better? You know you have a good therapist when she asks you point blank, “Would you talk this way or be this hard on a friend?” The image of my reaction is forever in my head. I was truly taken aback. And I needed that. I paused and said, “No.”
From then on, any time I caught myself in the same bad habit of blaming myself, taking so much “fault” in certain situations I didn’t have full control over, instead of seeing them as lessons to be learned, or truly not being kind to myself, I thought of those words.
Each time, I would take a deep breath in and out, pause, and think of how I would respond to a friend. Slowly, I’ve made it a habit to be kinder to myself, to stop and think about what might make me feel better in a tough situation and how I can learn to be there for myself and be my own best friend. That’s important too!
Slowly, I started stopping and thinking of how far I’ve come and the things I’ve accomplished, especially when things weren’t going right. We all have setbacks, and somehow those can overshadow all of our greatness and accomplishments. Sometimes we put so much effort in thinking about why something didn’t turn out the way we had wanted it to or how it went wrong that we forget all the work we put into trying.
I learned to stop letting fear and anxiety get the best of me. Instead of telling myself I couldn’t do something, I started asking myself, Why can’t you? What was stopping me? I started telling my anxiety, “You’re not stopping me,” and telling my mind, “We can do this!” Slowly, I overcame those fears and kept moving.
Don’t forget to practice self-care. Take time to breathe and appreciate all the little things. Talk to a friend, spend time with family, talk to a therapist, get out in nature. I realized I needed to start listening to every piece of advice I had ever given to my best friends and apply it to myself.
So if you find yourself in a rut or in a tough patch of life, every time you start doubting yourself, change the way you talk to yourself and start treating yourself like a friend. A good friend is a great listener. Write down those thoughts and get it all out. Buy yourself those beautiful flowers and champagne at the grocery store. Have a night in and watch a movie—do whatever it is you would do for a friend and be there for yourself! Call up your bestie and have a vent session, indulge in that chocolate cake, or go for a walk in nature.
Most importantly, talk yourself through situations like you were talking to your best friend.