How many of you remember the Beyounce song Me, Myself, and I? I loved that song! Still do. “I’m gonna be my own best friend” such a powerful message. We all need to be this for ourselves, but we’re not. Why? Because we don’t even know what it means to be our own best friend. I know for the longest time, I didn’t. I never even gave it much thought. It’s just self care, right? To me, self care meant facials, exercise, eating the right foods, and taking time to learn. But, friendship is so much more.
Let me ask you this, when you think of friendship, what comes to your mind? For me, it’s about being present, being their cheerleader and also the person they can trust to be honest with them. Its love, laughter, joy, sadness, and being able to be with each other without the need to fill in blank space. Friendship is care and comfort. These are all the things we strive to be for others. But, we don’t strive to be them for ourselves. Just like me, I bet most of you never gave it much thought before now. You may have told yourself you were your own best friend, but were you really?
I have an exercise for you. Its juicy too! You’re going to need paper and a pen. It doesn’t have to be a special notebook. Grab it. Now, imagine your best friend calls you up and tells you her husband asked her for a divorce, or her pet died, or she’s feeling lonely, whatever plausible scenario you can think of. In detail, I want you to write out for each scenario what you would do for her. Write it out in detail. Start with the phone ringing and you answering “what’s up” or “hey girl”, whatever your usual greeting is. Then she reveals the reason for her call. A knot forms in your stomach, your shoulders tense up, and tears well just behind the surface of your eyes. You can hear the shaky sound in her voice, you know she’s hurting.
As her best friend, what do you do? Write down everything you would do for her to try and comfort her and ease her pain. Do you make plans to spend the day with her, do you rush over to comfort her with her favorite food or wine, do you turn on her favorite song and dance it out, do give her big hug and just sit with while she cries? Write down all the things you would do. Then, I want you to imagine the worst thing that has ever happened to you. If it was her, what would you do? Write it out.
Why? Because the things we do for others is really the things we want them to do for us. You already have all the knowledge and tools to be your own best friend. You just have to learn to recognize them. Everything we do for others is simply a projection of what we want others to do for us. We try to make others feel the way we want to feel. It sounds selfish, but we’re all just doing the best we can with the tools we have. We’re not them so we can’t know exactly what they need. We think we do because that is what we would need if we were in their situation.
Here is the most important part. Teach your children what it means to be their own best friend. Have them to do the same exercise that you just did, adjust the scenarios to something more relevant to their lives. If you don’t know, ask them. Yeah, they’ll sigh and pretend you’re crazy, and that’s ok. Because our job is to help them become strong, successful, and capable adults. But, while they’re out there slaying it, it can get a little lonely. There may even be times when they are their only friend. They have enough shit to figure out on their own. Let’s give them this one. I mean hey, we’re lecturing all day anyway, may as well throw this one in there a few times too. It’ll be like an affirmation. If we say it to them enough, it’ll stick