It’s an age old problem that we tend to be terrible at taking our own advice. We are our own worse critics and things that seem logical and sensible when we say it to our friends somehow become ridiculous and impossible when we think about it in relation to ourselves.
We would never look at our friends and make cruel and demeaning comments about their appearance. But we’ll look at ourselves in the mirror or on photos and be vicious in our self-judgement.
We would never hold a tiny mistake or moment of forgetfulness against our friend. But if we are less than perfect we let rip with a barrage of abuse and will come back to those ‘failings’ time and time again, long after anyone else who may have been involved has moved on and probably forgotten all about it.
We would never tell our friends that they are worthless or stupid or ridiculous or pathetic or a waste of space – and especially not for no reason. But when it comes to ourselves we often seem to set out to cause hurt and make ourselves feel demeaned.
So we need to try and change our mindset. When we start talking to ourselves in a negative way, we need to pause and think: would I say this to a friend? How would I react if I heard someone else saying this to a friend? If the answer is that, no, we would never say it to a friend or that if we overheard someone else saying it to a friend we’d be rallying the mob with torches and pitch forks before they reached the end of the sentence, then maybe we shouldn’t be talking to ourselves that way.
Just a thought.
I know I am massively guilty of this. I can sit with a friend and offer comfort and advice and sympathy. Even in situations where the friend might have been in the wrong I am usually generous with understanding because I know we are all human. But if I forget to put the bin out I’m the worst person in the world. If I forget to send an email and it has to be done the next day I’m a useless waste of space.
It really shouldn’t be that way. When we say to our friends “We’re all only human” the ‘all’ includes us. We need to show ourselves a bit more mercy, a bit more understanding, a bit more encouragement and positivity. It’s time we were our own best friends.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.
The Samaritans: http://www.samaritans.org
Young Minds: http://www.youngminds.org.uk
Papyrus (prevention of young suicide): https://www.papyrus-uk.org
Self Harm UK: https://www.selfharm.co.uk
Time to Change: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness: http://www.rethink.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://www.afsp.org
Please do not struggle alone.