One of my favorite things to indulge in lately is the Tiny Buddha website. In fact, you will see it listed along the side bar of my homepage, as one of my favorite places to spend my time. I am not practicing Buddhism at this time, but I have recently been drawn to this site by so many of the inspirational articles that I have read. I highly recommend subscribing, because it has been known to change my life for the better, a time or two.
Recently, I read an article titled, “Motivating Yourself Without Pushing Yourself” from the Tiny Buddha website. I am pretty sure that the “future me” could have written this post. The “future me” has learned a few lessons from this article, but the one that stuck out the most was this:
Be your own best friend.
For some reason, this hit me like a ton of bricks. It made me think of my best friends and how I treat them.
I decided to write out all the things that I would never do or say to my best friends:
I would never tell my best friend that she is not a good mother.
I would never tell my best friend that she is not a good wife.
I would never tell my best friend that she is fat or ugly or lazy.
I would never tell my best friend that she couldn’t be successful.
I would never tell my best friend that she wasn’t good enough.
I would never tell my best friend that she didn’t deserve happiness.
I would never tell my best friend that the sky wasn’t the limit.
I would never tell my best friend that she couldn’t do anything she put her mind to.
I would never tell my best friend that I didn’t love her.
I would never make her feel bad about herself.
I would never lie to her.
I would never hurt her feelings on purpose.
I would never ignore or abandon her when she needed me.
I would never let her feel scared and alone.
I really love, honor and care about my friends with all of my heart. My friends mean a lot to me.
So then I thought, just for shits and giggles, let’s see how many of these I could apply to myself.
Out of FOURTEEN lines, I only found ONE thing that I could honestly say that I follow for myself (lately) and that is: I would never ignore or abandon her when she needed me. It has taken me thirty years to be able to recognize when I need to “be there” for myself, and it hasn't been easy.
But, what about the rest?
I realized that I am more like my own worst enemy than my own best friend most of the time, and it’s not good. How is it even possible that of all the women in my life, I could treat the one I am closest to with the least respect?
I am borderline ashamed of myself for needing to admit this. I feel like the only way that I am going to be able to improve here, is to be honest and start paying more attention to how I am treating myself.
If I am going to be my own best friend, some things need to change around here...
If I miss a day of exercise, I will NOT feel lazy, useless and destined to be fat.
If I forget that it's Crazy Hat Day at my daughters school, I will NOT feel like the worst mother ever.
If I fail to make a three-course meal and grilled-cheese is for supper, I will NOT feel like a bad wife.
If I set a goal and don’t achieve it, I will NOT feel like a failure.
If I am not perfect, I will understand that I AM NOT PERFECT.
This is just a start.
Self-Compassion. What a concept. What a difference it can make for how you feel about yourself. My biggest mistake has been confusing MOTIVATION and just plain old BEING MEAN. I have a feeling that if I stop being so mean to myself then I will find the greatest motivation of all. Love.
I have decided that my personal mantra/slogan/motto for the next little while will be as follows until I get my feet on the ground with this:
Maybe this could also help you to be more compassionate with yourself during whatever struggle you might be having today or tomorrow.
*This is NOT a drill. (What my sister said after I asked her if she was really going to eat ALL of the “Trucker Breakfast Special” that was spread out before her on the table after a full night of drinking. “I AM gonna eat it all,” she said. And she did, because it wasn’t a drill. It was real life.