A Dear Friend
Hello and welcome to Friday, October 1, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
We can be so mean to ourselves, so unkind, so abusive. We often compare ourselves to others who, on the outside, appear to be organized and have their act together. We look at ourselves and see a hot mess. We are overly critical of and set unreasonable expectations for ourselves. Our daily to-do lists don’t include time for fifteen-minute breaks, food preparation, eating, exercise, and showering. When we’re exhausted and fall into bed, we forget all we’ve done and shame ourselves for what’s left to do. Seldom can we recognize the benefit of we bring to the world – it’s often overshadowed by our mistakes and by the things we should be doing.
The fact is, we get to spend our whole life with one person. What if we were to treat that person as a dear friend?
If we knew our best friend was struggling, we would first console them and likely say something to effect of, “You’re awfully hard on yourself. Take it easy. Slow down. You’re a wonderful person and bring so much to the world. You’re my best friend and I care about you. I don’t want to see you hurting.” Would we say this to ourselves?
Following a heartfelt discussion, you would likely get into solution mode and inspire them to better care for themselves. You would likely reach out more often with genuine concern for their peace, happiness, and well-being. For a dear friend who is struggling, you’d be empathetic and supportive.
Most of the time, we simply need to take some of our own advice. We can also become more aware of the ridiculous stories that we tell ourselves. These stories do not apply to your best friend, and they don’t apply to you.
Though you may have times when you’re lazy, you’re not always lazy. Though you may procrastinate now and then, you don’t always procrastinate. You never exercise. Not true. You never eat healthy. Not true. You always screw things up. Not true. You’re not organized. Not true.
Though there may be times when we struggle with laziness, procrastination, organization, and not exercising as much as we would like, there are times in our life when we have been organized and energized, got things done promptly, and have exercised. There are times when we have eaten healthy. You don’t always screw things up.
Much of our problem is that we don’t assess our life accurately. We typically evaluate ourselves when we’re feeling down, are tired, or overwhelmed. Seldom do we take an honest look at our life when things are going well, or at least neutral.
If we were to take an accurate look at ourselves, we would likely find that while we get so much done in a day, we pay more attention to what’s not happening, to what’s not getting done, or to all the things that we don’t like about ourselves. What we pay attention to grows and expands. The more we attend to the negative, the more of it we will see.
Is this what we pay attention to in our dear friends? No. Their healthy qualities far outweigh their detriments. The same is true for you!
I used to despise myself. I used to hate to look at myself in the mirror. I was not nice to myself. With patience, practice, and guidance, I’ve learned to appreciate who I am. There are of course unskillful things that arise now and then, but most of time, I make pretty darn good value-based decisions. Through a Mindfulness practice, not only am I beginning to appreciate who I am, I’m learning to trust and treat myself just as I would a dear friend.
If you’re ready, I’m here to help.
You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
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