Are You Your Best Friend?

by | Jun 2, 2020 | Beth's Voice, Experiences, Observations

Peter and I were back on the Purdue campus this year, just before the Coronavirus pandemic began. We were there as part of their Executive in Residence program within the Residence Halls sharing our experiences with students. As part of the EIR program, we were able to talk one-on-one and in small groups with students about their concerns as they continue their studies and think about life after Purdue.

When we were asked “What is the one thing you wish you had learned before venturing off into the real world?”, we said:

“Learn to be your best friend! You are always with yourself. How do you want to treat yourself – like your best friend or your worst enemy? You can choose.”

We’ve had many different career opportunities after we graduated including work in the corporate world, consulting, and then starting and selling our software company. In spite of our many years of education and work experience, we were clueless about how important it is to be our own best friend. It’s amazing we didn’t learn this earlier. Both of us would have benefitted greatly from understanding how important it is to think about ourselves in a supportive way.

You are the one you are in constant dialogue with in your head. You can choose how those conversations go – are they generally upbeat or are they frequently downgrading to yourself and your effort to grow and learn?

The way you think about yourself will reflect the kinds of opportunities that show up in your life and this is what we mean by being your own best friend.

If you are forgiving of yourself and look at those difficult experiences as a chance to learn something new instead of beating yourself up for making a mistake, you will find that you are much more interesting to be around!

Another way to look at negative self-talk is to ask if your best friend would treat you that way if they were giving you their best advice. Probably not.

Next time you catch yourself beating yourself up for a choice you made or giving yourself grief for not working hard enough on something, stop and ask: ‘okay, what would I do differently next time’ and shut down the negative self-talk.

It takes some practice, but it’s very doable.

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