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Be Your Own Best Friend: What Advice Would You Give?

A Chronic Voice | Be Your Own Best Friend: What Advice Would You Give?

“Be your own best friend. Never ever, put yourself down.” – Paulo Coelho

What would I say to a good friend, if our roles were reversed? What if I were healthy, and she was frequently unwell? I know for certain that I wouldn’t mutter half the things I say to myself, because it just wouldn’t make any sense.

Would I tell anyone at all to push their body to beyond breaking point, because work was more important than health? Would I berate them for having to cancel dinner plans yet again? Would I blame them for something they did or didn’t do, due to an illness they didn’t ask for?

This quote by Paulo Coelho provokes me to ask myself questions that I already know the right answers to – responses that are all kinder, more tolerant and more sensible than what I actually do to myself.

I believe it bothered me more than the people involved, or they were aware of my limitations to begin with, yet I can’t help but feel apologetic whenever something like this happens:

  • Missing important life events of good friends or family – all these milestones of memory marked by dark holes instead of collective colour.
  • Having to trouble colleagues with my share of work – let’s face it, nobody likes working overtime and I hate being the cause of it.
  • Slowing companions down while travelling – either due to my limited energy capacity which we have to ration amongst activities, or just moving along at a degraded pace.

The biggest ‘crime’ I have committed in any of these circumstances probably has nothing to do with what I am actually feeling sorry for, but rather, the fact that I have allowed external factors to define how I think or feel about myself.

I admire how some (or most?) people know what they’re worth; they are unafraid to apply the rules of fairness not just towards others, but also towards themselves, which is often the more difficult task.

Perhaps it is some kind of inverse ego or inferiority complex, but whatever the reason is, it is time to give it up and start treating ourselves well today – it’s the right thing to do.

    For More Insight:

  1. Stop Saying ‘Sorry’ if You Want to Say ‘Thank You’ (brightside.me): https://goo.gl/XD4Hex
  2. 20 Tips for Living Well with Chronic Pain and Illness (psychologytoday.com): https://goo.gl/8YHoY8
  3. 11 Strategies to Combat Negative thoughts and Emotions (ajourneythroughthefog.co.uk): http://bit.ly/2JR96u1
  4. How Our Stories Make Us Miserable: 10 Types of Negative Self-Talk (and How to Correct Them) (nickwignall.com): http://bit.ly/2OohAw3
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What would I say to a good friend, if our roles were reversed? What if I were healthy, and she was frequently unwell? I know for certain that I wouldn’t mutter half the things I say to myself, because it just wouldn’t make any sense. | A Chronic Voice

10 comments

  • Definitely sharing this article with my support group! Really great advice!

  • Thank you so much for participating in our chronic pain & chronic illness link up party at The Unbroken Smile. I often struggle with this myself. I’m sure our community will love your article and relate to it, thanks so much for sharing! Please join us again next week. ((Gentle Hugs))

  • If I was my own best friend I would tell myself to stop apologising for my illness! We are so hard on ourselves but like you say the truly wonderful people in our lives aren’t at all judgemental and aren’t bothered by our limitations, they appreciate who we are and look beyond the illness. I think we’ve already got it hard enough without beating ourselves up too!

    • Yes, agreed! We didn’t ask for this, and we need to work with what we have (something I try to repeat to myself often ;)). Have a fab day!

  • I think this is a very common struggle for those of us with chronic illness- at least it is for me! It’s always reassuring to read that other people share the same struggles, especially when I don’t know anyone in person with a chronic condition, and only connect online. It’s great advice to repeat to yourself when that inner critic arises: “What would I say if I were talking to a friend?”

    • Hi Katarina,

      I too, don’t know anyone else with such chronic conditions in real life. Seems we all live on the internet ;p Yes it’s a good mantra that I think I’m doing slightly better at following these days. Then again, I have a lot of support from loved ones, so that helps a great deal 🙂

  • This is such a difficult thing to struggle with – always feeling bad about yourself. Just thinking about how your friend would approach the situation is helpful, though, and I’m sure it helps lighten the mood a bit. If I was acting as my own best friend I would encourage lots of rest, self-care, and things that bring me joy!

    • Hi Ava,

      Exactly! We’d be a less hard with ourselves 🙂 I wrote this post a little over a year ago and reflecting on it now, I think I’ve come a fair way in being better about this. It’s a constant practice though!

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