Become Your Own BFF

by Roselyn Poon

We humans are great at telling each other what to do. We have entire media campaigns telling us to be kind to animals, be considerate to those who are disadvantaged, don’t bully, help our brothers and sisters, support people who need moral support, encourage people whenever and wherever we can, remind people that if we can do it they too can do it—whatever that means. We are even to the point where we are so concerned about discouraging people who try that we give every competitor a trophy or award.

There is nothing wrong with any of this; in fact these social tenets form the backbone of a wonderful society. However, what happens when it comes to how we treat ourselves? Have you ever congratulated yourself on a job well done? Have you ever given yourself credit for overcoming fear and tackling the unknown? Have you ever licked your wounds after losing a battle and checked off all the points you won, even though you didn’t win the war? Or did you continue the battle by beating yourself up further?

How would you react and what would you say if your best friend forever (BFF) was in pain due to the following? To make my life easier, let us assume your BFF is a woman; however, everything equally applies to a male as well.

How do you treat yourself? Are you your BFF or your personal bully? ….giving yourself a break is in fact the break you are looking for to propel yourself into a wonderful future.

She didn’t make the cut in a competition. Would you try to lift her spirits and encourage her to try again, or maybe look for other options, or would you confirm her worst fears in that she just isn’t good enough and will never be good enough no matter what she does?
Her significant other just ended their relationship. Would you be there for her and when she has stopped crying long enough for you to get a word in, suggest a hot shower followed by a cup of tea and a walk in the park to clear her head? Or would you confirm her feelings that it was all her fault and she just isn’t good enough to keep such a great person in her life?

She missed out on getting the job. Would you tell her to lower her sights and look at dropping her salary expectations? Or would you help her to realize that the chances of the right person matching the right job at the right time is like playing 3D Snakes and Ladders and that maybe she could determine why she missed out and start working on addressing these issues?

No luck in the dating game. Would you go along with her point of view that dating at her age is a lost cause? Or would you help her come to grips with the fact that it takes two people to make a date work and maybe, just maybe, the guy is the dud?

Regardless of what you would have said or done, the point is that a BFF is generally someone who genuinely loves and cares for you. She is many things: loyal, non-judgmental, respectful, trustworthy, honest and above all compassionate and accepting. A BFF is the person who, given the chance, will give you her hand and pick you up off the floor.

How do you treat yourself? Are you your BFF or your personal bully? Do you beat yourself up and take full blame and responsibility for your disappointments and perceived failures? Do you refer to yourself as lame, a loser, a screw up or a lost cause? Would you talk to your BFF using these terms? I doubt it; because for the majority of us, we try to be kind to the people we care about. Rather than berate them, we encourage them and assure them that it is natural to fail from time to time, as we are humans.

Life is hard enough without you making it more difficult for yourself. It is time for you to step up to the plate, banish your personal bully and become your No. 1 BFF. You need to take on this role because even though you may have a bunch of friends you can run to, they may not always be available, and even if they are, they may be going through a personal issue themselves. You are the only BFF available to you 24/7, and you are the one who genuinely knows what is going on in your life. You have all the information firsthand, you just need to look at your pain from the point of view of your No. 1 BFF.

Think about what you would say to a friend who was going through your situation. How would you best respond and support her? What tone of voice would you use? Now, step out of your situation and step into the shoes of your new BFF. Allow her to speak to you in the soft, caring tone of voice you would use when speaking to a friend in pain. Treat yourself as you would treat your friends.

It takes practice, but let me assure you that giving yourself a break is in fact the break you are looking for to propel yourself into a wonderful future.