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Best Friend Forever: Who qualifies? On Mother’s Day, some of us think of our mothers. On other days, we may think of precious friends or family members who’ve been nearby through the storms. But other than religious/spiritual entities, who is there every minute of every day of your life—up close and personal? You.
We’ve all heard advice that you need to love and respect yourself. You can only share what you already have, so if you don’t have healthy love inside, you don’t have healthy love to share. The same goes for those you WISHED could love you. People can talk the talk when they’re empty, but then they’re done.
Part of loving your self is being your own best friend—first, honoring the child inside you. That doesn’t mean giving yourself permission to ignore the hallmarks of maturity (i.e. empathy, self-control, altruism, etc.). Presently, some people are basking in the unfiltered, self-oriented bullishness of one of the American presidential candidates. Beset by anti-heroes in pop culture, they admire the fact that he can behave irresponsibly without regard for others and seems to get away with it. (A lack of civilized behavior historically results in the decay of that civilization.) Anyway, honoring the child inside should mean that you pay attention to your basic needs for affection, belonging, fun, and good health—responsibly.
Beyond honoring the child within, being your own best friend means you treat yourself as you would treat your dearest friend. You won’t outlive you. You won’t move away from you. You won’t divorce you. As your own best friend, you talk to yourself in your mind exactly as you would talk to someone you cherish. You forgive mistakes. You look for the good inside and out. You remind yourself to take care of your body/mind and stay away from people who tear you down. You give yourself permission to say no, to stand up for yourself. You remind yourself not to act badly when you know better—and inside, you should know better.
Recently, I read an engaging book by Dr. Mimi Guarneri, a renowned cardiologist: THE HEART SPEAKS. In one chapter, she discusses hostility, depression, and loneliness as damaging side effects that can accompany modern life. Like other health workers, she has witnessed them triggering disease. One suggestion she offers for those who suffer is journaling. The depressed person takes time to write thoughts and feelings daily in a private notebook. Psychologists agree that sharing unfettered thoughts and feelings with ourselves through writing elevates us to being the kind of best friend we need most—honest, nonjudgmental, caring. (Of course, being overly self-critical is counterproductive.) My guess is that when we write our feelings, we’re employing different parts of our mind/body system to solve our problems.
In the stage play of PETER PAN, Peter vows, “I’ll never grow up!” We want to sustain the curiosity, playful fun, and open loving hearts we had as children, and we wish we could reject the burdens of adulthood. The recent digital interview series THE FOOD REVOLUTION SUMMIT underscores what happens to you when you pretend you can’t learn how to make better choices in food, recreation, and even love. You become the friend you had as a child who got you into bad trouble. You bet your life.