Be Your Friend.
The way we keep track of our friends today is so much different than it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago. I remember how my grandmother would get her big address book out on a Saturday or Sunday evening and call friends or family members just to see how everything was going. She had this maroon rotary phone and she would bring it over to the kitchen table, grab her cigarettes, and set up like she was helping out during a telethon. Plus, there was enough cord sagging that she probably could have made it downstairs if she wanted. Then with only the dining room light on, she would sit, smoke, and catch up with those who meant the most to her.
It seems like calling people is thing of the past, kind of like kids just watching whatever the adults had on TV. I know I’m getting old because I’m starting to say, “When I was a kid…” way too much. Nowadays, seems like we have 17 different outlets of social media so we can keep up with our family and friends. We know exactly how many friends we have on Facebook, how many people follow us on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, but there’s one person we never really account for. They always slide under the radar, and ironically this person is there for everything and they feel every emotion we feel. The only difference, this person is so unbelievably hard on us and doesn’t treat us like we want to be treated or how we would treat anyone else. Believe or not, that person is you.
Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend and found out they were feeling unhappy in a few areas of their life. Mainly, they were having a hard time at their job and felt like they couldn’t do anything right. I tried to empathize with them and let them know that things weren’t as bad as they were making them out to be and they needed to take it easier on themselves.
The thoughts we allow our brain to get away with when are going through something challenging, something uncomfortable is absurd. A recent breakup, things aren’t going our way at work, school is becoming unmanageable, kids are acting rebellious, or our relationship with God is falling off track…again. It’s at this moment we decide to become the frontrunner to win an Oscar as the Best Actor for a movie titled, Negative Talk. Although our performance is amazing, the only critique is our character drags the movie out because we never say enough is enough!
Take a moment, think of someone that is very close to you; your father, your grandmother, a best friend, or a sister or brother. Imagine they called you with the same exact problem you had or still have. Now, I realize I don’t know all of you on a personal level, but I have a hard time imagining you on the phone with your grandmother telling her to stop acting so stupid. You wouldn’t call her a piece of crap and ask her if she’s ever gonna get it together. Nor would you say, “What the heck is wrong with you?” Then get so frustrated you hang up the phone and don’t speak to her until she cleans up her act.
The reality is that’s how we choose to treat ourselves. We are so hard on ourselves that it breaks God’s heart. I’m asking you to add one more friend to your already amazing network of people. Treat yourself like a friend. Remember friends are gentle, they comfort, they are there for us to lean on and when they need to be tough, it’s tough-love.
Imagine how different the conversation in your head would go if you talked to yourself as a friend instead of an enemy. Next time you deal with a recurring challenge or have something unexpected happen, grab the rotary phone and dial your own number. This time, be gentle and be your friend.