You’ve heard the cliché: “Looks like you’re your own worst enemy.”
This is applicable to almost everyone; but, there are a lucky few who learned the way out a lot sooner, and at a younger age, than you or I.
What is that way out? Answer: What if you were your own best friend? Now, wait. It’s not just another cliché. Take the time to process this. What exactly would this look like to you personally?
I might look at an idealized, fantasy friend who would treat me exactly the way I would want her to. No, not one that lies and coddles. Everyone knows that flattery only leaves you worse off. But from where I’m sitting, she’d have to let me out of jail first before she can start her “work” on me. What does that look like?
I’ve been a toxic person all my life. Only briefly would I be “sweetness and light” enough to make it worthwhile for a friend to prolong her stay with me in our friendship. I never liked myself. As a child, I blamed it on my being disempowered and disenfranchised, controlled by elders. So I thought growing up was my ticket to a happy life. I hated being a kid, and I also hated other kids. I spent most of my early childhood watching tv and listening to music.
Fast-forward 40 years. I am older, but no better off. I live under tyranny of something. I slowly am coming around to see that they are thought patterns. My pdoc has been graciously teaching me how to break negative thought patterns through CBT, a therapy that is not a drug therapy, but that does complement it. Several times now, he has said, “Veek, you’ve gotta let yourself out of jail.” And, “If you don’t call yourself on this one, Veek, then I will.” I thought, Oh great, he’s spouting psychobabble. Then as I got to know him better, I realized he was a lot smarter, and a lot more down-to-earth, than I was. I have this grandiose belief that I am one smart woman, and possibly can judge you rightly on almost anything. Then, this.
I lost another associate/friend to my temper tantrum. I started to notice I was really my own worst enemy by the time Day 3 of the aftermath came around. As I sat on my local park bench, looking at how beautiful and out of sync my surroundings were with how I felt inside, I crumpled. “I am my own worst enemy. My own saboteur.” Then I asked, “Well how would being my own best friend look like?”
So, I sit here, learning. The first lesson is respect. Self-respect, (such as, not letting my ex’s wife treat me like a servant or dog) and respect for others. The latter is easier once the former is in place. Self-respect is a lot harder if you’ve never received that sense of dignity or respect for your boundaries growing up. Nevermind. It starts here. Now. Right now.
Paradoxically, it starts with treating others with respect–not grovelling–but with the honour they deserve as humans and living beings. It comes from compassion and empathy, humility and acceptance. It’s not good enough to merely tolerate or push away people who rub you the wrong way. It is good to establish boundaries meant to preserve, and not defend belligerently, the “YOU” in you.
This comes from a place of deep searching that I will embark on as I latch onto this new insight: How I can really be my own best friend.~V
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