Do you have a best friend or a group of friends that you enjoy spending time with? If so, what do you like about them? Why does it feel good to be with them? Sometimes we like people because they share our interests, or our sense of humour sometimes we enjoy their company because we like the fundamental qualities they have like honesty, trust, loyalty or support. When we think of our friends we do so with admiration and warmth noticing all the good things that make them special to us.
Now I want you to imagine having a ‘friend’ that constantly judges you, and that thinks nothing of calling you stupid or fat or useless. A friend who has difficulty in forgiving you for even the smallest of mistakes and who does this on a daily basis. How do you think your relationship would last with such a hard critique of your perceived faults?
For many people they have a friend like this. The one that exists in their head judging them harshly for every misdemeanour and imperfection. It’s no wonder that we sometimes struggle with self esteem or the ability to challenge ourselves to achieve more than we think is possible. How we speak to and about ourselves is just as important as how we speak to each other. Most of us would not dream of talking to our friends in the same way that we talk to ourselves and let’s face it, if we did we would not have any friends left.
When we continually criticise ourselves we are doing ourselves a terrible disservice and creating a negative relationship in which we feel unsupported, unloved and unworthy. So for all of you out there that recognise that you have been giving space to this unhelpful friend take a moment to stop. Imagine that you can transform that voice into the best friend that you could ever wish to have.
How different would it feel to be talked to in a wholly positive way? It doesn’t mean that you can get away with being badly behaved, as a good friend will be honest and always keep you on track. It means that criticism becomes constructive and you would be supported and encouraged to be the best possible version of you that you can be. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a friend like that you could talk to everyday?
I want to challenge you to try it. Actively engage in the process of transforming that voice in your head to create a new best friend. Try it for a week and I doubt that you would want to invite that old voice back. So please give it a go and let me know how you get on.