Sometimes it hits harder than you expect. That familiar feeling of shame. Of incompetence and sadness. Of confusion and feeling lost.
A mistake. A loss. A breakup. A death. A missed opportunity.
We expect so much from ourselves, we are tough and rigid with personal goals and accomplishments; rarely praising ourselves for our efforts and gains. We so easily admonish ourselves for not being good enough or we push ourselves too hard.
Recently, a friend said to me, “I saw you struggling with the same thing I was struggling with, I supported your choices and celebrated you. I wondered to myself: Why am I not giving myself the same considerations? Why am I not giving myself the same permissions and love? Why am I not being a good friend to myself?“
How easily we do this: forget to be our own friend. Forget to hold our own hand, stroke our own hair, and wipe our own tears with the tenderness and kindness of a friend.
As a teenager I was terrible to myself. I’d look in the mirror and say awful things to myself, out loud. Sometimes I’d say them as I sobbed and other times I’d say them with a dead, cold, hard look in my eyes. I’d say unfathomable things about my physical body and even worse comments about my personality and my mind.
Now, I try to treat myself like a goddess, give myself permission to be treated well and respected by myself and others, to put my needs first (before other’s wants). Despite the effort I have put forth to love myself, there are still many moments when I forget to be kind to myself. Sometimes it’s as simple as not being able to receive a compliment with a ‘thank you’ or as complex as not allowing myself to be vulnerable with my friends.
For someone who considers herself to be strong and independent, I am also very sensitive. So that when I need to break down, to totally sob, I usually hide away, licking my own wounds and crying to myself.
While loving yourself and treating yourself like a friend are the best things you can do during tough times, being able to reach out to friends for support and love is also necessary in the healing process.
I work hard to heal myself, to use the tools my mother has shared with me and my yoga teachers have taught me to remain strong yet flexible, to be kind to myself, to be a strong woman and my own best friend. But frequently, I must remind myself that in order to be truly strong I must to be unafraid to ask for help and support. I must continually remind myself to allow others to be supportive, to provide a shoulder for me to cry on, to be there for me in an deeper way.
Asking for help during the most broken and muddy moments has brought me more clarity than crying into my pillow or attempting to distract my worries away.
Ask for the love and support you deserve.