It was the early 90s and I was in a dark, dark place.
I was the mother of four children—from teenager to toddler. My husband and I were busy building a life together. In a lot of ways, we looked like a happy family. But I hated myself for all sorts of reasons. I wrestled with deep depression. I yelled at my children and I argued with my husband. I had grown up in a contentious family and I was continuing that pattern. It was a daily struggle to see myself in a positive light. I hated my looks. I hated myself. Really, I was tormented by being with myself all the time.
Here’s the thing – you never would have known how depressed I was.
On the outside, I was busy and ambitious. I always had entrepreneurial projects going. I was the PTA president and volunteered at my children’s schools. Busy, competent, go-go-go mom: that was me. “Busy” or “Ambitious” can get confused for self-esteem, but they’re not the same thing. I was actually very fragile at that time.
Here was my first step to recovery: I was in my room, sitting on the bed. The self-criticism and the pain felt like too much. I didn’t know if I had it in me to go on. And on top of that, I felt guilty that I actually had a decent life but I still felt this terrible! I was totally paralyzed from moving forward.
And then, I heard a voice in my head that wasn’t even my own:
“You’re always going to be with you, Carol. There’s no getting away from you. You might as well be your own best friend.”
This sounds like such simple advice. Almost too simple… but it woke me up – I had spent so much time and energy despising myself. In an effort to get away from everything I hated about myself, I had treated me horribly. I had said critical words to myself that I would never say to anyone else. I had pointed out every flaw I could see. I had actively caused harm to myself out of hate.
Some deep part of me had believed that I could somehow get away from who I was. So, the realization that I would always be with me was huge. If I would always be with me, I might as well be my own best friend.
So I asked myself: What do friends do for each other?
Friends speak to each other with kindness and humor. I started speaking kindly to myself. Friends take each other’s concerns seriously. I listened to the reasons for my pain. Friends encourage each other. I cheered myself on.
I didn’t do all of that perfectly every single day. But over time, and with practice, I trained myself to speak positively about myself and my experience. When things weren’t going well, I treated myself more kindly, as a friend would.
Here is YOUR next step to truly loving yourself. This moment is a crossroads. And here’s the decision that will change your life: Will you be your friend or not? That’s the choice you have right now. It’s the choice you’ll keep having in every moment, long after you’ve read this post. If you do make the choice to be your own friend, you take steps on the road to recovering your sense of self.
The next time you’re stuck, ask yourself: What would a friend do for me? Then do that—for you.
Carol Tuttle is a teacher, speaker, energy healer, online influencer and pioneer in the field of personal development. She’s the best-selling author of 5 books: “Remembering Wholeness”, “It’s Just My Nature”, “Discover Your Type of Beauty”, “The Child Whisperer”, and her latest book, “Mastering Affluence”, was released nationwide in September 2018. In the last few years, she went on a personal speaking tour and was met with sold-out audiences across the United States.
Be Sure And Share This Inspirational Advice With Your Friends On Social Media – Representative photo by Quinn Dombrowski, CC