If my friend told me she was lonely, I would offer to come see her, meet for lunch, or suggest opportunities to get out of the house and be among people. I might just listen. She might not want to be fixed.
If my friend told me her child was acting out, and she didn’t know what to do, I would tell her she’s doing a great job (probably the best she can), that the world is a crazy place right now, and that there’s probably a reasonable explanation for it all. I would tell her that her child is not broken.
If my friend told me her husband never pays attention to her, I would make sure I was paying attention to her. I would encourage her to work that out.
If my friend told me her child only eats chicken nuggets and nothing else, I would giggle a little, but I would understand. I would tell her that chicken nuggets are still food, and as long as her child is growing and healthy, it’s probably fine.
If my friend told me her mom was ill, I would hug her. I would agree with her that going through illness with a family member is hard. I might send her a card in the mail or flowers to her office, because it’s nice to be thought of (out of the blue) when you’re struggling.
If my friend told me she was anxious all the time, I would totally relate! I’m often anxious. I would share with her some coping skills I use maybe. Or I would just be close by. Anxious people like for you to just be near sometimes.
If my friend told me she felt self conscious about her weight, her wrinkles, and her look, I would, of course, tell her that she’s beautiful. I would make sure she new she was not alone in her thoughts. We all wrestle with body image and aging.
If my friend told me any of these things, or anything else for that matter, I would offer my best whether that be kind words or a warm hug.
But where is my best…to MYSELF?
I’m hard on me. I rush to make sense of things. I want everything compartmentalized, explained, and tied up in a nice box. I want to lose 50 pounds today and do something with this bird nest hair. I want my kids to be clean, dressed, well-behaved, and well-adjusted. I want my family members healthy and thriving, all living their best lives.
Where is my best…to ME?
It occurred to me this morning to get off my own back a little, talk to myself the way I would a good friend, and make sure the voice in my own head is encouraging. My heart, my body, my soul…the closest friends I have…should be treated with a little more kindness, grace, and respect.
If my friend told me that, I would agree.