If you met you, would you like you?
Ahh, the question I am always reminded of when I tell this story.
It’s true when I look back on my life I have not had many best friends. And any best friend that I had throughout my adult life soon dropped off, stop coming around, stopped calling me, and cut off all connections completely.
I used to think it was me. And the question would always come…what did I do that ended the friendship? I took the blame. Was there something in particular? Perhaps, the way I ate, the way my jaw cracked, my very dry sense of humor, my low self-esteem.
It could be any one of many things…but the fact still remained none of these things were, in my mind, reasons to end a friendship. And then it was time that I finally conceded and told myself that every reason was a reason to not be a best friend with me.
And so it is always…self-defeating “put-downs” are not happy moments but they are what we know.
They make a strong impression on others causing many people to crash, burn, and turn away from us. Sometimes that means ending a friendship. Leaving us wondering what we did to deserve this betrayal.
So as I reached my mid-40’s and in my silent reflection, on more than one occasion, I thought about it. These silent reflections weren’t just passing reflections but troubling, late-night, insomnia-induced reflections.
I reflected so much, my brain hurt and I was tired in the late afternoon. I took three-hour naps. My energy was zapped. My legs were heavy. But why after so many years did this best friend question bother me so much? Well, the truth remained that I wasn’t getting any younger. And it was well past time to have a best friend.
And then one afternoon while getting the mail the answer came. Looking back it really was a sad (imaginary) realization but it really was something I believed and thought was the answer.
I wasn’t good enough to be anyone’s best friend.
I was troubled by the thought of having no one person that I wasn’t related to walk with me through my ups and downs, through the good times and bad times. I had no one to listen to me as I cried over a man that broke my heart, no “Let’s meet for lunch.” Or “Let’s go shopping on Saturday.” No one to laugh with, go to the movies with or, really, do anything with.
I felt alone in a world full of people
There were people that seemed so connected. Every time I heard laughter and good times being had by women, that were obviously best friends, I felt a pang of jealousy in the pit of my belly knowing that I wanted a best friend more than I ever knew I did.
And overtime I was compelled to compile a “Best Friend List” of the best friend I would like. It went something like this:
- First and foremost, “she” had to be a she (because, in my world, there really never is a platonic friendship with a man if you both are heterosexual ...everybody knows that, duh!)
- My best-y must not like extreme sports…or cold weather (the two usually go together)
- She must like to read books (and preferably the old-fashioned paper kind…kindle lovers need not apply) and also drink hot beverages while cozily reading
- She must love corny movies
- She must love Christmas anything
- She must enjoy an occasional glass of wine
- She must be able to calmly reason through unhappy dating experiences
- She must accept frantic late-night chatter when sleep is impossible
- She must love to tackle any sticky situation that has no apparent answer
- She must have a bit of introvert-ness thrown into the mix, where there will be days that “not much happen”…because sometimes…that’s how I roll.
- And lastly, be available 1–2 x’s a week for fun-loving and frivolous activities that bring great joy
And so it went…on and on.
The longer I went without a best friend, the longer my “Best Friend List” became. And the more desperate I actually looked. My eyes and ears were wide, open, and buzzing. Looking and listening for the same best friend that I wanted to be.
After months of this “odd behavior”, as an acquaintance noted, it became clear to me (through the good old silent reflection) that the traits I wanted in a best friend were the traits that I loved about myself. Yes, although obvious to the outside observer, there was no doubt that I loved all of the things on my “Best Friend List”…a lot.
And then a wonderful realization happened. I found that I was not seeking a best friend outside of myself but rather acknowledging that I loved everything about myself just the way I was and I knew with conviction that I was my own best friend.
This realization would prove to serve me well and be much easier than desperately trying to seek a best friend from another person. My personality was perfect for me. I met all of my best friend criteria and checked all the boxes on my “Best Friend List”.
And soon after that a funny thing happened. When I stopped agonizing over not having a best friend I actually did meet a friend who loved all the things that I loved. And she became my best friend.
I made peace with myself and shed those “I’m not good enough to have a best friend” self-sabotaging thoughts that I had been silently telling myself all of my life. Of course, everyone is worthy of every want, dream, and desire.
You cannot seek something or someone without seeing it within yourself first.
The day I discovered that I was my own best friend there was a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I relaxed in knowing that I was enough to be anyone’s best friend.
That was the day that I threw my “Best Friend List” in the garbage. A liberating day, for sure. A banner day. A lesson learned kind of a day. A knowing that there would be no going back. I had grown in the most beautiful way.
Now if you, my dear reader, are where I was…take heart. You are not alone. Everybody is struggling with something. Be patient, gentle, and loving with yourself. And you will soon find that the struggles (whether it be wanting a best friend or anything else) you have aren’t struggles at all but only fleeting thoughts that no longer need to be a part of your life. You have taken your inner power back and chose to be the best you that you can be.
Now…how about that question in the very beginning? If you met you, would you like you? The answer remains and is always a resounding YES!