Are you your friend? This is one of my goto CBT examples in my therapy practice. I remember the first time that I used it. I was counseling a teenage girl in her freshman year of high school. Beautiful girl, smart girl, and overall wonderful compassionate human. The kind of girl that most people would think has it all together. But as I got to know her, I realized that she was so incredibly mean to herself. Because she valued friendships on such a deep level, getting her to start thinking of herself as her own best friend was a real game changer. It was almost magic.
Would You Say That To Your Best Friend?
Most of us can be pretty hard on ourselves at times. It comes with being a discerning creature. We want to do right by others and by ourselves. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In certain situations, we should be conscientious of how we present ourselves. There is nothing wrong with a little self awareness and self reflection, it’s actually quite healthy. However, when you take it to the extreme and start to berate and emotionally abuse yourself, it defeats the purpose and you end up feeling like dirt. This is why it is so important to learn to be your own best friend.
Think about it. Would you say that to your best friend? Over half of the stuff that we say to ourselves would never leave our mouth if we were talking about another person. Let alone your best friend. When you are talking with your best friend about a challenge they are facing, you will probably be real with them. You will probably offer ideas or suggestions. But you will probably not talk to them like they are a tiny piece of dirt. So why do we do this to ourselves? This simple step of pausing and asking yourself, “wait, would I say that to my best friend?” can help you flip script on the negative self talk and start to be your own best friend.
Be Your Own Best Friend By Seeking Your Own Counsel
So, yes, I am a Gossip Girl fanatic. I don’t know what it is about that show, lol. But it is not often that I actually quote GG in my therapy practice. Well, sometimes it is all of the time, but I digress. One of my favorite quotes from the show is in Season 4 when Blair says to Serena, “The simplest way to turn an enemy into a friend is to seek their counsel.”
Just Be Kind To Yourself
If all else fails, just be kind to yourself. It’s that simple. We owe ourselves the decency to at least treat ourselves like human beings. If you cant take the deep dive into starting to be your own best friend, at least treat yourself with the same dignity that you would treat an enemy. If you really reflect on how you talk to yourself, I bet you will find that you say some pretty rough things to yourself. Would you even say that to your worst enemy? We all deserve kindness even when we make mistakes. You owe yourself at least that.
Putting It All Together
All of this to say, the way we talk to ourselves matters. The more you start to recognize the your own inner narrative, the more you can move towards developing healthier patterns of positive self talk. So the next time you catch yourself bullying yourself, pause, take a breath, and step in and be your own best friend.