One of the women at the retreat, whom I’ll call Willow, said something early that morning that was so unquestionably profound. She was telling us a story about this phrase she tells her children, a phrase she realized we should all say to ourselves.
Would you say that about your best friend?
We hear people talk bad about themselves all the time. “I’m fat.” “I’m ugly.” “I’m so stupid.” “I can’t do anything right.”
But I guarantee that if they were asked if they would say the same things about their best friend, their answer would be no. In my case, it would be heck no. (And honestly, if you would say those awful things about your best friend, you are not their best friend.)
I started wondering why we say terrible things about ourselves that we would never say about anyone else we love. Why can’t we give ourselves grace, especially when we need it most? And really, why aren’t we best friends with ourselves?
I mean, no one knows us like we know ourselves. No one has the exact same thoughts in the same way. Why is it so hard for us to love ourselves?
There is one thing I know for sure. My depression has kicked my butt for the better part of 17 years, but I was shy and insecure before then. In 6th grade, the boy I thought I was in love with mocked me and teased me until I cried, calling me fat and telling me I needed to go on a diet. This happened nearly every day. Almost all his friends in that class laughed and “joked” along with him.
You can bet I hated myself and my size after that. I never felt skinny enough. I lost a bunch of weight but still didn’t feel thin. I was so sensitive about my weight after that. Whether I was thin or curvy didn’t matter. Especially now. I am finally feeling comfortable with my size and how I look. Do I plan on losing the weight? Yeah, I’d love to. But this doesn’t mean I will hate myself if I don’t.
Then there are all the other insecurities I have. Added up together, they don’t leave much room for self-love.
Even the most confident people you or I have ever seen still feel insecure about things. There are still pieces of themselves they don’t like, no matter what others around them say.
So what do we do about it?
Honestly, I wish I had the answer. I will say this though. I think we need to be as kind as possible. We need to compliment the best things of others, and no, I’m not talking about just physical or outward stuff. I mean things like telling a person how intelligent or funny they are. Telling them they have a great heart or are a great listener. We also need to give others grace when they make a mistake. We are all going to misstep at one time or another. I think we should be nice to others when they do.
There is also the thought that keeps coming to me that we need to be as authentic as possible in order to love ourselves as much as we love others. I think hiding in the shadows or lying about who we are makes us turn against ourselves.
Of course, these are just my thoughts. I might be right. I could be wrong.
Either way, I still think you and I should find ways to be as nice to ourselves as we can. Remember, if you won’t say it about your best friend, why would you say it about yourself?