Are You a Good Friend to Yourself?

Written by Dr. Perry, PhD
Image Credit: Pixabay


“A friend is a gift you give yourself.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

What kind of friend are you? Are you attentive, kind and compassionate or, are you neglectful, uncaring and critical? Scrolling through quotes on the internet, I was reminded of the immense value we place on friendship. Throughout the ages, the special bond that forms between two strangers has been the source of poetic inspiration and noble reflections. Often, the friendships we choose and nurture are more fulfilling and meaningful than familial relationships. The foundations of these friendships are forged one interaction at a time with each shared experience adding to the strength of the bond that provides us with a sanctuary from the turmoil of the world.

While many have written beautifully about the importance of having a loyal and forever friend, I believe that one type of friendship is often overlooked. This is the most important relationship you will ever have in your life; the one with yourself. Unfortunately, many of us forget or are unable to honor and respect ourselves. We may treat ourselves with little to no kindness or compassion. We may talk to ourselves in ways that we would never dare talk to our friends. After a perceived failure we may be the first to berate ourselves with a shower of unkind words such as “You are such a loser!”, “What is wrong with you?!”, “You never get anything right!” and many others. After a lifetime of self verbal abuse, this form of toxic self-talk becomes an automatic reaction to anything we perceive as a failure. Who needs enemies when we have this type of internal dialogue?

It is important to acknowledge that we have engaged in this type of behavior in order to put a stop to it. This type of self-talk often is unnoticed, since we have been doing it for most of our lives. Our earliest failures that perhaps were pointed out by our parents or others, activates an internal self-critical loop in our subconscious that we need to consciously deactivate. Life is difficult enough without having a toxic passenger in your head constantly pointing out your faults and failures.

The next time you make a mistake, reflect on the internal dialogue that is activated. For some, the internal critique is on pointing out everything you are doing wrong; seeing fault where perhaps there is none. Ask yourself if you would say the things you are saying to yourself to a friend who was in need. Also, what if someone spoke to you in such a negative way? I guarantee that you would think twice about having that person in your life.

In order to silence the negative talk, it is essential to cultivate a loving relationship with yourself. It takes practice and self-awareness, as well as, the ability to look at yourself from the outside. For example, say you become overwhelmed in crowds and are at a family gathering with a large group. As hard as you try, you are not able to fight the urge to flee. After you leave you are disappointed in yourself and the negative self-talk takes over. If you stop and look at the situation from the point of view of a loving friend your thoughts would be kinder and more accepting. Your friend would point out that you tried your best and not to be so hard on yourself.

You have to have compassion and kindness for yourself. No one is perfect and we all do the best we can with whatever obstacles come our way. Of course, it is important to acknowledge a fault, shortcoming or a mistake, but mentally beating yourself up is not going to help any situation. Give yourself the gift of a lifelong and loyal friendship by being a kind and compassionate friend to yourself.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

The thoughts expressed in this blog post are my own and are not meant to create a therapeutic relationship with the reader. This blog does not replace or substitute the help of a mental health professional. Please note, I am unable to answer your specific mental health questions as I am not fully aware of all of the circumstances.

Kindly,
Dr. Perry


CREDENTIALS
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
M.A. in Clinical Psychology
B.A. in Psychology


image2 2.JPG

miualmostdne

FullSizeRender


DISCLAIMER
The materials and content contained in this website are for general information only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users of this website should not rely on the information provided for their own health needs. All specific questions should be presented to your own health care provider.

USE AGREEMENT
In consideration for your use of and access to this website, you agree that in no event will MakeItUltra™ be liable to you in any manner whatsoever for any decision made or action or non-action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this website.

FOR IMMEDIATE SUPPORT
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.


© 2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

155 responses to Are You a Good Friend to Yourself?

  1. Littlesunshine says:

    Excellent post. I think I’m a very good friend but not to myself. I have to be more mindful of this. Thank you for reminding me.

    Liked by 12 people

  2. S.B. says:

    “Who needs enemies when we have this type of internal dialogue?” So true! Often time we are our own worst enemy!

    Liked by 11 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      Indeed. It is important to identify if our internal dialogue is potentially harmful so we can learn a healthier vocabulary. Thank you for your comment✨

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Bethula says:

    Wow, what a wonderful article you wrote Dr Perry. Only yesterday I had yet another great and heartful conversation with one of my dearest friends which showed what a great mirror on myself a friendship can be. And yes, the friendship to myself ‘gotta be good’ or else it’s reflecting something unhealthy back into the friendship hence the relation with this other human being. Thank you!

    Liked by 10 people

  4. Sammy says:

    Hi Dr. Perry, I useto tell myself such awful things whenever I made a mistake or if I felt I failed at something. I have learned to slow down and tell myself to have compassion for myself. I usually say it out loud to myself so I can snap out of the automatic thinking. It works!

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Fabulous post, absolutely right, even religious people forget the commandment
    “love thy neighbour as thyself,” refers to loving and accepting yourself as well as the way we treat others x

    Liked by 10 people

  6. This post is so beautiful and true. Respect yourself!Honour yourself ! It’s truly the best gift. Showing yourself kindness is a strength many mistake for weakness. Thank you for the reminder Dr. Perry ⚓

    Liked by 11 people

  7. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past four years since getting divorced and moving half way across the country. As a single mom there was no time for friends and I’m actually grateful for that because I’ve learned to like my own company and be the friend that I really need.

    Liked by 9 people

  8. earthskyair says:

    The day someone spoke to me about learning self compassion changed my life. At the time, it was a concept I had difficulty understanding. So important. Thank you for another great post. 🙂

    Liked by 9 people

  9. A very important thing to remember, right there. I suppose one can only be a good friend to others only when one learns to be kind to oneself first.
    After all, most of the time, it’s negative internal chatter that prompts us to look negatively upon other people and doubt their motives.
    While it’s essential not to be gullible and utterly trusting, it also pays to be a little more loving and a little less judgmental.
    And that starts inside our heads.

    Liked by 11 people

  10. Susiewoo says:

    How serendipitous that you posted this as I’d just posted yesterday about inner voices and how I’m in the process of conquering mine. It can be a really hard process to learn to be kind to yourself and it’s a skill that I’m still polishing, owing to the fact that I keep finding long-hidden inner voices!

    Liked by 9 people

  11. Completely agree that we need to befriend ourselves. I recently came across this unattributed quote about friendship: “Friendship is not about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said ‘I’m here for you’.” I think that applies to ourselves as well as to other people.

    Liked by 9 people

  12. Mrs.J says:

    Wonderful post. I think a lot of us forget to be kind to ourselves. I’m much older now and the one constant that has been with me is myself. It took some work but I am a good friend to me. I find at the end of the day all I need is myself.

    Liked by 7 people

  13. Maria says:

    Well said Dr. Perry! I love when I get an email with your latest post. I love your blog. Have a great day❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  14. shobhna says:

    Thank you for this post on friendships. Beautiful!
    I read a quote once that has stuck with me, “If I asked you to name all the people you love, how long would it take to name yourself”
    Its important to cultivate loving kindness for ourself and others.
    Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 11 people

  15. queentracey1 says:

    From feeling invisible, and unimportant during my youth to being abused by everyone really, to marriage to an abuser due to fear and thinking” my son needs his father”, to now, being a woman who loves to help others, loves my house and husband , and mostly enjoying my time myself all the time without needing the radio or tv on, loving myself has been a 43 year old process that was filled with self sabotage and family who always starts with,” what did you do “, but it was sooo worth it. I am my own best friend and biggest fan! ( and just so you know, when he was about ten I told dear old dad, either call when u r sober or don’t call at all!, for my son, he was better off with out him, he still hasn’t called back)

    Liked by 6 people

  16. klrs09 says:

    Thank you. Timely words in my current state. I am not a good friend to myself – never have been. But I’m trying to change that.

    Liked by 7 people

  17. Couldn’t agree more and what a great reminder! Such great tools to keep on hand for when the going gets tough. On the worst days I will ask myself what I’d say to my younger self in that scenario and then I say it and let it sink in. It seemed silly at first but I’ve found it to be rather helpful. Thank you for another great post!!

    Liked by 10 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      You’re welcome! You suggestion is not silly at all. It’s actually a great way to see yourself through kinder eyes. Thank you so much for your comment✨

      Liked by 3 people

  18. Oh my – I could write a book on this! I spent a good third of my life with an inner judge/critic who could be the meanest S.O.B. you’d ever meet. I hungered for acceptance without truly accepting myself. The whole world could stand in line telling me how great or wonderful I was, but that inner voice would drown out all their voices in a remarkably short time.

    I learned – it took a long time, but I learned. It took a LOT of practice to be kind to myself; to hear that inner judge or critic and tell it that it was wrong. Compassion for oneself seems to be at an all time low in this world. I wish everyone experiencing low self-esteem could learn to be kinder, gentler with themselves. For it follows if you are critical of yourself; judgmental of yourself, you will be critical and judgmental of others. Self care does not equal selfishness.

    The world would be so much better, so much kinder, if we could follow your sage advice and be our own best friend!

    Thanks for the reminder yet again! And thank you for your generous heart!

    Liked by 6 people

      • You’re welcome. I’d just like to add that changing the thoughts that can keep us stuck is so liberating and so worth the effort. I am so much happier today than I was when I was mired in negative self-talk. Thank you again for the wonderful reminder to guard my thoughts.

        Liked by 4 people

  19. Nadine says:

    “If you stop and look at the situation from the point of view of a loving friend your thoughts would be kinder and more accepting. Your friend would point out that you tried your best and not to be so hard on yourself.” Yes! This is something I started doing the past year and it has helped a LOT. I have one friend in particular who is very encouraging. Whenever I feel terrible, I think of what she would say to me, and I use her imaginary words to replace what my inner critic is saying. “Give yourself the gift of a lifelong and loyal friendship by being a kind and compassionate friend to yourself.” Your articles are kind and compassionate and thus you’re also a good friend to your readers… thank you.

    Liked by 6 people

  20. onmamasmind says:

    Very timely post, thank you! This week, my goal has been to treat myself just as I would a friend in need of compassion and protection. It has worked so well I think I should extend it for another week, or perhaps for the entire 2019….Reading this was a good reminder to keep checking that inner voice.

    Liked by 7 people

  21. I am always ready to be friends with people and once I am friends with someone, I stay friends, unless they decide otherwise.
    I am not always good at keeping in touch, but no amount of time or distance will stop me from picking up the friendship where it left off. I am always up for a chat.
    I am not a critical person but will offer my honest opinion if asked.
    I try to be friends with myself but I often do beat myself up about my faults, mainly my inertia due to anxiety.

    Liked by 6 people

  22. JanBeek says:

    How timely! I wrote a post this week about “Long-time Friends” and the value of friendship. But, in it I forgot to mention being our own best friend! My oversight! You reminded me that I need to “Give [my]self the gift of a lifelong and loyal friendship by being a kind and compassionate friend to [my]self.” I sometimes forget that. Thank you for the reminder, Dr. Perry. I can see I’m not the only one for whom this blog was a touching point!

    Liked by 6 people

  23. imghostlypale says:

    I love this. I’ve been struggling with myself recently. I’m trying to always be aware of my thoughts so I can direct them somewhere else if they become negative, but lately I feel like I don’t have much control over them as I did before. I spiral into talking down on myself and end up making myself feel like shit, I cancel plans that I had, I stop being productive and I seem to ruin everything then. I needed this post!

    Liked by 4 people

  24. This is such a good post Doc and so true. I look in the mirror and I’m not happy with what I see for several reasons. Maybe it’s time to cast out demons that aren’t there. Thanks again 👍🏻😁.

    Liked by 5 people

  25. Socks in my Rocks says:

    As someone who grew up with these thoughts on the regular I can say that the way I was directed to correct this pattern was to think like my mom (or in other folks cases, a person who is a big part of your life and loves you) and talk like her when I talk to myself in times of self-criticism. If I tripped on a sidewalk she wouldn’t say, “Everyone is laughing at you now at how dumb and clumsy you are” She would say “It’s ok, just get up and pretend you did it on purpose.” (Sarcastic and loving is her way) You are right when you say that our friends and family would tell us we tried our best, and it should be practised by ourselves to say these things too.

    We are, after all, stuck with only one person for our entire lives, and that is ourselves. We need to treat ourselves with the respect and kindness we deserve. If we can do that, we will thrive.

    Liked by 5 people

  26. Jenny Baird says:

    Yes so true. When I am suffering, and acting as someone who suffers does, I like to remind myself that suffering hurts, and when I am in pain, it’s like talking to a 3 year old who didn’t get the toy they wanted. When I put it into perspective like this, it almost seems easy to navigate and they way I would talk to a 3 year old, needs to be the way I would talk to myself. With kindness, understanding, and a reminder that there will always be more “toys” and some stay and some go. A lesson of letting go is universal and timeless. No matter what age we are at.

    Liked by 6 people

  27. DorothyMarie says:

    I used to beat up on myself all the time prior to my divorce. But after that monumental event, I got to know the true me and she’s pretty darn wonderful! So I treat myself a whole lot better now. I take pictures of myself all the time and I smile and I see the beauty that so many have pointed out in the past that I never saw before. It’s so nice to have this improved relationship with myself. I love the new me, but no I’m not arrogant. Big difference.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      Thank you for sharing Dottie. I hope many are encouraged by reading your comment✨

      Liked by 2 people

  28. Sylie says:

    ” Who needs enemies when we have this type of internal dialogue?”
    Beautifully written, feeling so relieved and grateful that you have given this piece as a gift to the world. Human kind needs it the most. Thank you

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      It is a privilege to be read by those who follow my blog. I am happy to hear this resonated with you. Thank you for your comment✨

      Liked by 3 people

  29. unangreyna says:

    Very well said, Dr. Perry! Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve started to be friends with myself when I made a mistake and said “I’m really so stupid! I should have known better!” My then 4-year-old kid surprisingly said “Don’t say that, mommy! Have pity on yourself! I know you’re not stupid. You should know that, too!” ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      You are most welcome. Your child is very wise! Thank you for sharing your insight✨

      Liked by 2 people

  30. I believe also that negative inner talk has a root, and it must be traced. ‘If’ the issue is found it must be dug up. And like a cancer, it must be removed. It stays in recession when we truly stay on top of it.

    Liked by 4 people

  31. What a perfect way to help us “see” how we often talk more down to ourselves than we would another person. Great points made in such a helpful way…hope I can use this idea with my young adult son, who loves his friends, but often criticizes himself way too harshly.

    Liked by 4 people

  32. Richard says:

    Great post and one that I needed to read. I tend to speak very harshly to myself whenever I make a mistake. I’m going to work on this ASAP.

    Liked by 5 people

  33. Sunnysideup says:

    Another great post! Thank you for being so caring and positive. Have a great weekend🌟

    Liked by 4 people

  34. Wordcipher says:

    A lot of people are so harsh on themselves they forget that even if you want to be your biggest critic, you should not criticise yourself in an unloving way. The reality of this has driven many into depression. An avoidable mental stress upon the mind.

    Liked by 6 people

  35. Kristie Konsoer says:

    Great angle on being a friend to yourself. I enjoyed reading this post as friendships have been on my mind a lot lately.

    Liked by 6 people

  36. Sara Hoffman says:

    I wrote about the freedom I now feel after recently making a pact with Abba to let go of the shame I have carried since childhood. It was the root of my anorexia, alcoholism and drug addiction; not to mention my codependency in toxic relationships with narcissists. You make a difference, Dr. Perry. For that, I commend you~

    Liked by 6 people

  37. This is really great, next time I become ‘Toxic’ with myself I will make sure to come and find this post before putting myself down.

    As for friendships with others, I like to think I’m a loyal and honest friend who will put neck out the line for those closest to me, but in the past, I have found that I don’t receive the same back and often find myself neglected.

    It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learnt to put myself first more and be more selective with who I choose to stick myself out for, while with others I’ve learnt to keep a different kind of friendship with, so if it fails I won’t be as hurt as I have been.

    Liked by 5 people

  38. I absolutely love this. I don’t recall the exact words of this quote, or who said it, but this post reminds me of something I read that said be careful how you talk to yourself. Because no one will talk to you more than you talk to yourself. As a person who has survived a multitude of toxic relationships, this was the most important lesson I have ever learned. And it requires intentional, daily practice to be kind to ourselves.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Trupti says:

    What a wonderful post!!
    Thank you so much Dr. Perry for your insight, its always helpful….
    I must say You are “a beautiful soul, healing thousand souls”

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Wonderful post! It is a good reminder to love yourself so you can love others. So many times the toxic relationship is the one with yourself. Self love is a great gift.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. reesec says:

    Wow, this is beautiful and well written. I definitely need to reflect on my actions to not only be a good friend but also to be more loving towards myself. Thanks for this wonderful post!

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Erin W says:

    There’s a quote many people use, something like, “You will find no one more deserving of your love and affection than you,” misattributed to Buddha. But I was able to find a translation in Sanskrit text that is closer to the real thing: “Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself. But exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial … Let one not neglect one’s own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one’s own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.” Easier said than done in any language. : )

    Liked by 3 people

  43. Kristin says:

    Great post Dr. Perry! When my inner voice starts to criticize I tell it to stop and ignore it until it goes away. It’s works for me and I’m a pretty happy person! Love your blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  44. This post was Amazing. I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is an important issue— thank you for addressing it. I am a great friend to others but the very best friend to myself. Self-love, self-care and self-awareness are a few of the main issues I focus on in my daily interactions with people in person or in any of my platforms. Again this was great. Keep them coming!

    Liked by 2 people

  45. shelie27 says:

    I think I’m going to observe my thoughts the next time I make a mistake. I’ll see what kind of friend I’m with myself. Great article!

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Khan says:

    It took me a long time to master positive self-talk. I think of self-talk as a conversation between friends is a great way of looking at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. dawnhirn says:

    You are so right in this article. How often I berate myself for screwing up or forgetting something. I’ve even slapped my head in anger at having messed up something. You’ve written with wisdom. Thank you for the reminder to love myself more.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Nat says:

    This is interesting. I’m always being told I put myself down and can’t accept compliments when they’re given but always tell others they’re special and beautiful. I’ve had low self esteem since my childhood. My Dad used to say that I changed at about 5 years old but we had no idea why. I’m trying to be kinder to myself and have improved a little – I say I’m growing into my own skin, some self acceptance in my late 40s.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. mariocarrt says:

    I always think to myself and say to others “You are your own worst critic” but I never listen to my own words. We don’t usually listen to our own words until someone else points it back to us. So thank you. Maybe this time I’ll listen and be nicer to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Mama Buzz says:

    Thanks for the reminder. This is very true. In order to silence the negative talk, it is essential to cultivate a loving relationship with yourself. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  51. You are absolutely right. This internal dialogue also makes us more prone to believing negative things others may say about us (to us) – and dismiss the many positive messages and encouragements we receive.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Liola Lee says:

    I totally agree with your concept of treating yourself as you would a dear friend! You are correct in saying that we talk to ourselves in a way that we would never talk to our friends! I think we have to become aware of how we talk to ourselves so that we can change that dialogue and show compassion to ourselves, and of course be kind and loving! It is not selfish to put yourself first sometimes! By looking after yourself, you will be able to look after others! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Nassima says:

    Just this morning I was giving myself a hard time because ( well! After reading your post) I would say the reason for that is that I have been too honest and spontaneous with others, and this hurt me, so instead of comforting myself I shut it down😭 Thank you so much for this beautiful reminder Dr. Perry 🍀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr. Perry says:

      I am happy this resonated with you – thank you so much for sharing your experience✨

      Liked by 1 person

  54. Great post on such an important thing to remember! You’re right, we would never treat a friend the way we treat ourselves.

    Being kind to myself is something I have gotten much better at, but that little voice still tries to have it’s say.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Snowbird In Training Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Pingbacks & Trackbacks