Day 172 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012
For those of you who are new to my blog, I have been writing once a week about learning to ‘Be Yourself.’ The inspiration was taken from my Calendar for May with a caption by the child artist stating: ‘BE HAPPY BE YOU.’
Since then I have been endeavouring to find out exactly what this caption means, bringing you the 10 steps to finding yourself that the WikiHelp website gave me on this subject. Slowly as the weeks go by we are making our way through those 10 helpful steps. Today we have arrived at Step 6: (For details of the 10 steps read my blog 16/5/12: https://tessross.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/how-to-be-yourself-16512/ )
Step 6: Treat yourself as you’d treat your own best friend
Now, all of us have a best friend, or more than one best friend in fact, so we should all know by now how to treat someone whose friendship we value. And whilst we all love having good friends, it is not always possible for them to be with us at all times, so we need to get used to being alone.
It was a bit like me enjoying my time alone whilst having a cuppa in my favourite cafe. It enabled me to do exactly what I like – read the paper – and have time to myself. There is always plenty of time to have a coffee with a friend.
Not only that, but we should not think we need a best friend to complete us, getting depressed when we are forced to be on our own. So folks, it is time we all toughened up and discovered ‘it’s the best thing in the world to be your own best friend.”
Of course, WikiHelp did not disappoint yet again (where do they get their stuff from?) and here is their series on “Be Your own Best Friend!” (http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Your-Own-Best-Friend)
Getting back to Step 6, I am not sure what I think about this step! I always feel the words are such a cliché. However, I have said that about every other step too and as I write about it, things become clearer for me. On this occasion, I would say that I have learned to be kinder to myself as I’ve grown older, but it has not always been that way folks.
It reminds me of a book that I often return to when I am reflecting on why I am being so hard on myself. The book ‘Shame and Grace’ (1993) by Lewis B. Smedes reminds me that any time I have a ‘pervasive sense of shame (it) is the ongoing premise that one is fundamentally bad, inadequate, defective, unworthy, or not fully valid as a human being.” (Merle Fossum as quoted in Shame and Grace)
Now I know all that is quite a mouthful, but I find when I am not treating myself well, it is usually because I feel I am defective or bad or inadequate in some way. Recognising what is happening inside you is truly important to learning to treat yourself well.
Try this for yourself next time you come down on yourself like a ton of bricks for whatever reason! Once I realise what I am doing, I am then easily able to forgive myself or be nicer to myself. Perhaps, I need to remind myself that I am after all, very human indeed! (Oh, do remember, I am NOT a psychologist – but would love to be ha ha – just giving you my own experience).
I think we all understand the SHAME part of things very well, but what about the GRACE part of the title? Smedes says we taste grace when a friend, for no reason at all, tells me she loves me. You get the idea? But I love this next description best:
I savor (sic) it most happily when I accept the fact that I am accepted as I am, with my ogres, my demons and my angels, my blundered past, my frail virtues, all mixed together, undeserving and yet worthy at the same time, accepted by the Maker of the universe.”
And when GRACE comes to us graciously, it heals us; it makes us feel better about ourselves. That is why having a best friend is so good, because their acceptance of us makes us feel good about ourselves.
Why then can’t we be our own best friend in the same way?
So, let us make the connection today between being our own best friend and accepting ourselves when we fail. Be kind, courteous and gracious to our own – often misguided – self. I will leave you with this delightful poem from the book ‘Shame and Grace’. It shows that Grace can arrive at any time my friends, watch for it in unlikely places …
Places to Find Traces of Grace
When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I’m picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes:
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether
Or tell me the truth about Love?
… W.H. Auden