- Mental Health
Have You Learned to Be Your Own Best Friend?
"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." ~ Proverbs 16:24; King James Version (KJV)
Mahatma Gandhi said: “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
I agree. I believe that by training your subconscious mind to be a source of strength, speaking kinds words to yourself instead of mean-spirited, negative ones, you can empower you to become your own best friend. Using positive self-talk can help you come face to face with the truth about what you can do, about your belief in your own potential. Being honest with you can also help when you're struggling to come to terms with major personal challenges you need to face or problems in your life that you need to solve.
Learning to be your own best friend through positive self-talk can provide for you a continuous source of empathy and love, when you need one. it is a resource that can help you be honest with yourself when you’re trying to find out if you are where you want to be in your life, or it can help you discover where you feel you really need to be, no matter where you might want to be.
“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.” ~ Anthony de Mello
Talk to yourself using positive, self-confidence affirming words. When you do, you will provide you with an unending source of unconditional support, from the heart. And that is what your willpower feeds on. It is possible, no matter who you are or what you believe when it comes to God, religion, or faith, to become negative in what you are saying to you, about you. In fact, it is possible to allow negative thinking to replace positive thoughts so often that you can find yourself on a negative spiral, out of touch completely with your inner, spiritual self.
"Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." James 3:12; (KJV)
People who learn how to be their own friend learn to give themselves the mental and emotional support they need. Because no matter how much others might support and believe in you, it is all for naught if you don't believe in yourself. When you are your own best friend, you, when needed, will summon the will—the internal fortitude and the determination that you need to move forward and to strive and to fight to meet challenges, overcome obstacles, and triumph over setbacks. Want a quick demonstration? Repeat the following sentences, to yourself, silently, or out loud:
- "I have what it takes, already, to accomplish some of my goals."
- "I am going to find out what I need to know to accomplish my Number One goal."
- "I know what I need to know, already, right now, to at least get started on this."
- "I love myself, and I believe I can do this; I am strong, and I have faith that once I begin trying, I will accomplish my goal."
Doesn't it make you feel more positive, more confident in your own abilities, to say something positive to yourself? Life can be filled with hope just as easily as it can be filled despair and depression, and often, how you look at things is what makes the difference. Even when there is something you must learn before being able to accomplish a goal, attempting to learn what you need to know can become part of working toward achieving that goal. Being your own best friend, your own most readily available source of support and strength, can help you let go of anything or any idea that might be obscuring your view of your present, and your future.
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Proverbs 15:1 (KJV)
The Holy Bible teaches us to wait before responding to someone who speaks to us in anger, or who is irritated for some reason, and may be taking out on you their own frustrations. "Brokenness," or feelings of despair or hurt feelings can cause people to say or to act in ways that are negative, toward self and others. But just as you would speak kinds words to turn away the wrath of someone else, you must also turn kind words inward, because there are many times in life when you need to hear kind words from you.
I am not a psychologist, but, like you, I do have a mind. In addition to having a mind, I've devoted years of research, thought, and writing on the topic of self-talk as well as on the power of positive (and negative) thinking. I'm sure you know that it is possible for your conscious mind to be unaware of the power of your subconscious thoughts. But did you know that "unawareness," when it comes to conscious thoughts, does not stop the subconscious mind from accepting negative thoughts and ideas about you and what you are capable of doing or achieving?
If you’re not moving forward toward achieving goals you have set for yourself, it could be that part of the problem is what your subconscious mind is saying to you, about you. Your inaction or inactivity toward striving to reach your goals might be your conscious response, or non-response, to subconscious programming.
"Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees." Job 4:4; (KJV)
When life takes a negative turn, it could be a good time to search your soul, to examine how you are talking to you. When times are tough is when you really need a positive mind-set; that's when you really need to talk to you the way you would talk to a friend who is going through a rough patch. For example, you would never tell a friend who just lost a job, “You lost that job because you are worthless, and you really should never have been hired in the first place.” Since you would never say those words to a friend, it should never be all right for you to say them to you.
Instead of spouting mean-spirited harshness at your friend, what you might say instead would probably sound more like, “You are a strong, capable person, and you will get another job—maybe even a better job. So don’t go beating yourself up over this. This situation is temporary. You are an experienced, highly skilled, talented and deserving person, and I am certain that you will get another job, soon.”
When you are a good friend to someone, you are going to be there for him or her though thick and thin. Through the good times as well as the bad, and you will always be positive and encouraging, because you know that your friend needs to borrow some of your strength while they are going through hardships or adversity. You also know that what you say and how you say it can be a source of inspiration for your friend.
What is Standing Between You and Accomplishing Your Goals?
Are there mountains in your life that you would like to scale, only you feel as though something always seems to hold you back from moving forward? Often, when I feel there is something standing between me and a goal I want to accomplish in life, I look inward to try to discover whether or not the primary barrier might be, simply, what I am saying to myself, through self-talk.
If you had a friend who wanted or needed, badly, to change his or her career, and every time they talked to you about it, they ended up talking themselves out of doing anything about it, would you be encouraging or discouraging? If you knew your friend was right, that he or she was definitely in need of a new career for either important financial or personal reasons, would you be a good friend to him or her, if you were discouraging? Well, if you know how to be a good friend to someone else, that means you also know how to be a good friend to yourself.
You may not be consciously aware of what you are saying to you. But if you feel you’re being held back from going after what you want in life, and you don’t know exactly what is stopping you from exerting the effort you need in order to move closer to your goals, then it’s time to at least consider that your self-talk could be your biggest problem. With this in mind, now is the time to get more “in-tune” with what you might be saying to you, subconsciously. It could be that those mountains sitting between you and achieving your goals are only in your mind.
The question is: Are you programming yourself for failure? Are your allowing any subconscious or conscious negative thoughts to make you complacent? Are you accepting, without a fight, thoughts that are keeping you from becoming involved in positive activities? Are you allowing your own mind to be your enemy, instead of your friend? Are you keeping you from believing in you, and in the power of your potential? In could be that through negative self-talk or by accepting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, that you are effectively keeping yourself from doing all you can to achieve your goals.
No matter what you might be saying, consciously, to yourself or others about your abilities, your subconscious mind is aware of your true belief in your abilities. It is aware of whether or not you really believe you can (or cannot) do what you want to do. Maybe it is time to begin the process of erasing negative thoughts that might be holding you back from doing all you can to set goals, and then to work toward achieving them.
If you agree with me that it might help you to change what you are saying to you, I challenge you to begin keeping a journal of your thoughts about you and your abilities. Listen, not just to what you say to you, but also to what you think about what you are saying to you. Listen closely for any signs of negative thoughts and negative self-talk that you might engage in, and then write about how these thoughts and self-talk could be infecting or influencing your actions.
Isn’t It Impossible to Be Positive All the Time?
How can anyone keep a positive attitude, in general? As the saying goes, it rains on the just and the unjust, so doesn’t that mean it is not possible to always have a positive outlook?
While it may not be possible to be positive one-hundred percent of the time about all things, it is possible struggle to find the positive way to look at any situation, one-hundred percent of the time. It is true that even with years of practice; even the most positive thinkers will sometimes have to struggle hard to remain positive. But the struggle to remain positive, itself, is a positive thing. Choosing not to struggle to remain positive would be negative.
Keeping a positive outlook is the result of many years of “practiced positive thinking.” The more you do it, the better you will become at readjusting your mind when the negative thoughts begin to multiply.
Ultimately, everyone has to find what works best for him or her in the very personal and private struggle to remain positive. What works for me may or may not work for someone else. Still, surrounding yourself with positive people, with reading material about the power of positive thinking, and choosing to fight to remain positive in your thinking and in your outlook on life, is something that anyone can do, and it's something that can help anyone get closer to achieving goals. The Bible is filled with scripture that evokes positive thoughts.
- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
- “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Romans 10:17)
- For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
- “Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)
Reading and reciting scripture related to my faith, for me, is a good way to begin to feel empowered to believe that you have everything you need, right now, to do anything you set out to do. Remember, negative thoughts have just as much power as positive thoughts, and you are the only person who can shift your gears, and change negative thinking to positive.
Learning to talk to yourself the way you talk to a good friend, and learning to treat yourself the same way you treat your best friend, is a step in the right direction toward gaining more control over your self-talk. It is the way to begin to be your own best friend.
It might help a lot to journal about challenges you are facing, or hardships you are enduring or going through. Whenever you are going through rough periods in your life, or whenever you find yourself sinking into feeling hopelessness, or feeling as though you are at the end of your rope, you might find it helpful, even therapeutic, to write it all down.
Writing it down is a way to free your mind, body and spirit. There is something about seeing your struggle or your challenge written down on paper that can help you begin to be able to pull back, to look at it as an objective observer, and to perhaps see your way past it. Writing it down, for some reason, helps you to be able to visualize yourself going through the steps you need to go through in order to get beyond your present set of circumstances.
Once you begin to use positive self-talk to help you find solutions, instead of simply dwelling on problems, you will be on your way to becoming your own best friend. It is empowering and strengthening to see your own progression—from acknowledging the problem, to seeing how working to change negative thoughts to positive ones can help you. If you keep a journal, the next time you’re facing a challenging situation, one that could cause negative thinking to reoccur, you will have a blueprint for replacing negative thinking with positive.