Treat Yourself Like a Friend

by Cheryl Rainfield, the award-winning author of STAINED, SCARS, and HUNTED, 2003

We often treat our friends better than we treat ourselves. We greet them with happiness and affection. We listen to them with compassion and understanding, and we don’t try to silence them when they need to grumble or complain. And we are unequivocally, unalterably on their side. How much of this do we do for ourselves? And wouldn’t we feel a lot better if we treated ourselves with the same generosity and love that we do our friends?

There are so many ways we are good to our friends. We take them out for coffee or bring them little treats. We encourage them to be in their feelings, and offer them what support we can. We give them hugs, advice, and love, and even when our friends have made mistakes, we rush in to support and reassure them.

But when it comes to ourselves, we can often be quick to judge. We may silence ourselves when really we need to complain or to talk something through. We may withhold treats or small pleasures from ourselves until we have completed a particular goal. But would we treat a friend that way? No, of course not.

Often we don’t actively look for hugs or praise—even when we need them—and we may forget to give these things to ourselves. We may be quick to criticize ourselves, to notice our mistakes, and to point out what we see as weaknesses or faults in ourselves. But if we can just reach inside for a little of that compassion, good will, and generosity that we give to our friends, how much better we could feel. Like we have a friend inside us all the time, instead of a critical parent, a harsh taskmaster, or an enemy.

Constantly criticizing yourself, silencing yourself, or suppressing yourself takes a lot of energy. So try to see yourself the way you would see a friend. Try to give yourself that same affectionate, indulgent treatment—and you may find yourself feeling happier and lighter, with more energy to do the things you really want to. It’s worth trying, isn’t it? You probably would for a friend. 

©Cheryl Rainfield, 2003

Written by Cheryl Rainfield, award-winning author of SCARS, STAINED, and HUNTED

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