By David Joel Miller.
How much do you really know about you?
Most of us can tell the world quite a lot about the others in our lives. If you have a friend and I asked you about that friend you could tell me a whole lot. Why even an enemy, someone you could not stand, you could go on for a long time telling me all about their defects. But let me ask you about yourself and most people could not tell me much about them and what they did say would likely not be very accurate.
Start right now to get to know yourself the way you would come to know a very best friend.
You will spend more time with you than with anyone else you ever meet in your life. Everywhere you go, when you wake up the next morning you will be there. You need to start right now on becoming the world’s expert on you. You should strive to be your own best friend.
It is said that we teach others how to treat us. We need to begin by learning to treat ourselves better. Compassion like charity begins at home. Treat yourself kindly and you will encourage others to treat you better. Is there one thing that you could do today to get to know yourself better?
Learning what makes you happy goes a long way to becoming happier. Make a list of all the things that make you happy. Decide which of those things you want more of. Decide right now that you intend to be that best friend you need.
Some of us have been blessed with true genuine friends. But whether you have had the experience of a trustworthy friend or not you can determine here and now to become that best friend you need. Treat yourself well.
For many of us, empathy for others comes more easily than tender feelings for ourselves. Learn to honor and respect yourself, learn also to identify those things that cause you pain and resolve to eliminate those causes from your life.
It is difficult for others to care any more about you than you care about yourself.
Learn to accept the defects in yourself in the same way you might accept defects in others. Believe that you are a worthwhile person, not because of some great accomplishment but just because you are a unique individual. You are special in your own way, just like every other person on planet earth is special in their own way.
Some people can’t stand to be alone. They have never become comfortable spending time by themselves. Learn to occupy yourself. Be happy being in your own company. You will be with yourself all your life, start by learning how to mindfully do things with and by yourself.
What is your favorite color? What activities make you happy? What things in your life have made you sad? Hear your own pain and tell yourself it is all right. Learn to give you comfort and reassurance.
What has been the best moment in your life? What was the worst? It may help you to take notes.
What makes you feel loved? Couples tell me they do not feel that their partner loves them but they have never considered what makes them feel loved. How do you show yourself self-love? Loving yourself does not make you vain, it makes you mentally healthy.
If you want your children and your partner to do things that make you feel loved, you need to demonstrate how this love should be displayed.
Often I find clients are unable to tell me anything good about themselves. They have been so concerned about sounding conceited they have been cruel to themselves.
Taking good care of you is not being selfish. Giving yourself credit for things well done does not make you conceited. Failure to recognize and give yourself credit for things well done is a form of false modesty and is detrimental to your self-esteem.
I ask them what would a friend say about you. What would they say was your best quality? What do they like about you? If you don’t know, ask that friend and while you are at it share with them the things you like about them.
In parenting class, one exercise we have used is to have each client sit in the center of the circle and as we go around the circle have each person tell them one thing they really like about that client. People often hear positive comments from their peers that they have never heard before. We often think good things about our friends but fail to tell them.
Tell yourself what you value about you. If you can’t make a list right off then make that a project to work on this year. Find the true value inside you.
Learning to accept praise, thanks and congratulations is a part of beginning to see yourself realistically as a worthwhile person. Accept that you are someone who sometimes does well and sometimes makes mistakes but is always a person worth having as a friend.
What will you say about yourself? What you tell yourself about you will determine the kind of person you become.
Become the kind of friend you will want to spend your life with.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books
- Your autobiography as therapy (counselorssoapbox.com)
- The question why? – In therapy (counselorssoapbox.com)
- What do you most want in your life? (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Are you successful? (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Danger at the crossroad – changes you can’t take back (counselorssoapbox.com)
- How heavy is your baggage – Unpacking your baggage (counselorssoapbox.com)