Imagine a close friend coming to you and expressing their doubts about being able to find a romantic partner.
“Why would anyone want me?” says your friend, “I’m not good-looking or smart enough to have someone in my life. All the good ones are taken, anyway.”
Imagine responding to them without any sarcasm, “You’re right. You don’t deserve a good relationship. You’re probably gonna be a miserable and lonely wretch for the rest of your life.”
It’s funny to visualize such a scene playing out since we know it would never go down like that. Quite the opposite, you would have words of encouragement for your friend. You would remind them of all their good qualities and tell them that of course they are good enough to find love and companionship.
It’s no secret that we tend to be much harder on ourselves than we are on others. Many of us go about life engaging in self-talk that is harsh and unreasonable. We each have a cranky taskmaster inside who gives us millions of reasons to feel unworthy, weak, hopeless and guilty.
We are usually ready to offer support for friends and loved ones in their times of need, but when confronting our own struggles, the taskmaster often takes over, psyching us out and keeping us stuck a state of fear and inaction.
Fortunately, you don’t have to submit to the harsh dictates of your inner tyrant. Here is a wonderful technique you can use to drown out self-criticism and generate positive emotional states that ultimately empower you to take action and live better.
The Be Your Own Best Friend Blueprint
1. When you notice that you are being hard on yourself, take a moment and with your eyes opened or closed, imagine floating out of your body so that you are able to view yourself from above, about 5 feet away.
2. Let go of the idea that the person you see down there is you and instead view the person as a great friend deserving all the best this world has to offer. Feel the loyalty, compassion and love for the friend you see there.
3. Just like you would for any other good friend, offer them whatever words of inspiration and comfort they need to hear.
- What progress can you remind this person that they’ve already made to help them recognize how capable and worthy they are?
- What sort of things, small or large, are going on right now in this person’s life that you can point out that show them how good they are doing?
- What does the future hold that they can be inspired and excited about? Explain to this person in great detail all the promising things that are still to come.
Don’t hold back heaping on the praise and encouragement. After all, it’s your good friend you’re talking to.
4. Finally, imagine that you can send down to your friend a special energy of confidence, peace, or whatever other emotion is most needed. Imagine that this positive energy would have a particular shape and color. Allow it to just pour around and through your friend, giving them all the power they need to move forward in the best way.
I’ve observed this simple technique yield powerful results. When practiced consistently, it can significantly alleviate anxiety, boost confidence and increase motivation. The reason this is so effective is because it allows you to tap into the formidable power of the subconscious mind, which responds extremely well to metaphors and perspective-shifting exercises such as this one.
Your relationship with yourself is the most long-term relationship you’ll ever have and it’s worth investing in. By practicing self-kindness regularly, you pave the way to greater professional success, better relationships with others and a healthier, happier you. You’re a good friend to others, it’s time to give yourself a break and be a good friend to yourself.
Jeremy Stillman is a New York City-based hypnotherapist and integrative life coach who specializes in helping others manage stress and anxiety, overcome bad habits and achieve their goals. Jeremy’s integrative approach incorporates Ericksonian hypnosis, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), energy medicine, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and the latest advances in neuroscience to lay the internal groundwork for success. Looking for ways to live better? Connect with Jeremy on Facebook, Twitter, and visit JeremyStillman.com for more insightful articles, hypnosis track downloads or to schedule a Skype or face-to-face session.