Are you your biggest fan or your worst enemy? Or maybe you’re a little bit of both? Do you cheer yourself on when you’re going through a hard time or do you further your own depression with critical comments directed at yourself? Are you the kind of person who wakes up in the morning and tells yourself you are a badass and you’re going to show today whose boss or do you wake up and allow yourself to feel defeated before your day has even begun?
For a long time I was definitely my biggest enemy. I continuously woke up on the wrong side of the bed no matter how much sleep I did or did not get. Anytime I had a new idea or wanted to try something, I would shoot myself down before I had even attempted it. I rarely ever gave myself any kind of positive feedback but was quick to critique myself in the worst of ways.
One day, my mom and I were having one of our regular visits when the topic of my future came up (as it generally does). We talked about all of the things I am good at, where I need improvement and what I could potentially do with my life. My mom, being the bold and wonderful woman that she is, quickly called me out on something that she had noticed during our conversations; “Anything that you talk about doing, you find one reason or another as to why you can’t do it or why it won’t work. A negative comment comes out of your mouth for everything I suggest.” I was slightly shocked at this accusation. I, who had up until this point considered myself to be a positive sunshiney girl was actually quite the pessimistic Pamela, and I was the only person in my life that I treated so poorly.
Like I said and will continue to say throughout this blog and my life; recognition is everything. When a person begins to look within themselves and truly recognizes not only their flaws but their how’s and whys, they can begin to make some efforts towards changing. Becoming self-aware of my many flaws and character traits has been a huge part of my ability to seek the best in myself.
Once I recognized that I was my own worst enemy and that I was harder on myself than anyone else in my life was, I began to change. What should have been a relatively easy single step process became a multi-step life lesson. I stopped beating myself up over silly things and tried to compliment myself more. I wrote down a bunch of inspirational things about myself that I should know and believe; “You are beautiful, amazing, talented, able and smart”, “You can get through today”, “Love yourself more”, and so on. My goal was to read these when I was doubting myself. Well, that didn’t go as planned. I read the statements a few times and they had zero effect on me, so I threw my motivating mantras away. I was genuinely trying to make a change within myself and become my own friend and ally but was unable to do so. No matter how many times I reinforced or complimented myself, it really didn’t matter. I continued to hit a brick wall face first every single day. That brick wall was a huge, Great Wall of China sized reminder that I was a liar. I could tell myself whatever sweet compliments I found on Pinterest, and change the background on my phone to a motivating image but it was all a waste of time if I didn’t believe myself. I was trying to be a friend to myself and instead I became a frenemy.
In some ways, I still am a frenemy to myself. No matter how hard a person tries, we still have emotionally draining days where we want nothing more than to eat a box of mallow pies, drink wine and wallow in our own self pity. This is normal. Sometimes, we just get in our own way no matter how much we wish we wouldn’t. The problems only arise when you find yourself being more negative than positive or more self deprecating than encouraging. There comes a point when you need to grab yourself by the ponytail, put the mallow pies and alcohol away and become your own BFF. This goes along with learning to love yourself truly, madly and deeply. Think of it as being in a serious committed relationship. What kind of person do you see yourself marrying and spending forever with? Does that person encourage you to do your best? Do they tell you all things are possible and that you can do anything you put your mind to? Or do you see yourself exchanging vows with someone who brings you down on a daily basis? Someone who tells you that you suck and are going nowhere with your life or someone who nitpicks every single mistake you make? I know I want a man who tells me I am amazing and encourages me every single day and I want a man that means it. I want a person who lifts me up rather than drags me down. However, there is no way in hell that I can expect this from another person nor will I ever believe the words coming out of their mouth if I don’t believe myself and believe in myself.
I want to marry my best friend someday because I believe the best relationships are with those who are your true friends first and your lover second. If this is my expectation of a man, my expectation needs to be the same for myself. I have to be my own best friend, partner, ally, cheerleader and advocate. I need to be my own everything before I can be anyone else’s anything. I learned that being a frenemy to yourself is a huge injustice. You have to give up the negative feelings you harbor towards yourself before you can truly love yourself, and unless you do this, loving anyone else will be a recipe for disaster. Give yourself a hug; you are so much more amazing than you give yourself credit for.