With a Friend Like Me—Why Would I Need any Enemies?
Recently I made the very most important decisions of my life—to be my very best friend.
After years of telling myself I should be wearing sackcloth and ashes because of my inadequacies, I now wear the best brands with pride. It’s radical, it feels good, and it works.
Perhaps you, like I was, were raised by stern authoritarian figures/influencers—they were parents, school teachers, religious authorities, scriptural teachings, summer camp leaders, visiting lecturers, coaches, and scout masters. And that’s a small beginning.
All these authority figures have two things in common:
- None of these influencers have been involved in my life for many decades—they have all gone away.
- Each of these people/influencers live in my head, uninvited, rude, aggressive, caustic, and demeaning seven days a week, 24 hours a day if you give them control.
These authority figures of the past are now disembodied voices of the past, and they pass judgment on everything I do. Did I work hard enough today? Did I eat too much? Was I kind enough? Was I too much of a pushover? Was I too aggressive and unyielding? For God’s sake, why didn’t you handle that better? They love to bring up past mistakes.
Turns out I seldom passed the test, I never did anything quite right in the opinion of the authoritarian figures living in my head.
I began asking myself, “What would I do if you came to live in a backroom of my house and the only thing you contributed was this constant barrage of criticism. I’d ask you to leave and call the sheriff if you didn’t.
Only a few years ago, I would have thought that as my best friend I’d let myself off the hook way too easily. I’m happy to report that I haven’t robbed a bank, slugged a senior citizen, failed to pay a bill, and I still go to work every day and try to be helpful.
I just try to be as good a friend to myself as I am to my other friends. If I make a mistake I’m quick to say, “You’re such a great friend, Jack. As a human being you’re going to mess up. Besides that, you know what? I’m going to love you anyway. I love you because you’re you. In fact, It’s me and you until the end.
If narcissism is catching, I really need to catch a little Donald Trump. He does everything great. There is a fine line between a healthy self-concept and upchucking egotism, I know. But I can’t wait for someone to tell me my ego is way out of control. I’m not near The Donald at this point.
And probably you’re not an egotist either. You are now in charge of raising yourself, not the authority figures of your past. Tell them you got the lessons they taught you way back then, and that you’re in charge. Make the decision to be your own best friend.