10 Nice Things I’d Say to Myself if I Was My Best Friend
You know that thing people say about negative self-talk? How when you’re beating yourself up, you should imagine as if a friend was having these feelings and tell yourself what you’d tell them. With the exception of an extremely toxic frenemy who you would shit on anyway, I consider this to be excellent advice. Though, what seems good in practice is not always easy in execution. So, in an exercise that’s as much about forcing myself to write as it is to make myself feel better, I present to you the 10 nice things I’d say if I was my best friend (with whom I had a very healthy, supportive, loving relationship).*
*Though, as always, with a layer of cynicism because it’s me.
10.) That person didn’t mean that thing you thought they meant.
Generally speaking, people are not out to get you. Their sole purpose in conversing with you is not to point out everything that is wrong with you. Most of the time, they’re not saying you’re stupid, or ugly, or untalented, or a failure. Unless they’re actually the worst human on the planet, in which case they probably aren’t able to provide you with an accurate assessment.
9.) You’re not a worthless piece of shit.
You totally have so many things going for you! You’re smart, funny, and sometimes even look pretty if the light is dim and I’m squinting in one eye. You have a good job. Your eyebrows have a good arch most of the time. You have an apartment with a LANAI, and though you have to explain that word every time you use it, it’s great having a lanai.
8.) 30 isn’t actually that old.
Just because you turned 30 last January doesn’t mean you’re old. You are roughly a third of the way through your life expectancy, so all things considered, you’re still pretty young. Also, people are having babies later and later, so milestones by age are less of a thing. Look at it this way! You still have three decades left before you can retire, though it’s yet to be seen whether you’ll get social security or not. Oh, sorry, did that just bum you out? YOU’RE THIRTY AND FLIRTY AND THRIVING!!!
7.) It’s okay to make mistakes.
You forgot to do that thing that time, but it’s okay. You learned from your mistake and now you won’t do it again. Mistakes are beautiful gifts wrapped in shit and self-loathing. You just have to peel back the layers of defecation to truly discover what you can learn. Making mistakes doesn’t make you a terrible, insufferable human being who doesn’t know how to do anything right. We all make mistakes!
6.) There’s no such thing as perfect.
It’s better to just do the thing and have it be less than perfect rather than avoid doing it at all. As they say in the movies, it’s a numbers game! Some things will be trash, other will be magic. It’s like the Schroedinger’s Cat of potential ideas — until you do the thing, it’s neither trash nor magic. Just like Steve Carell as Michael Scott quoted Wayne Gretzky as quoting, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So shoot your shot. And other overused sayings.
5.) You’re not a complete and utter failure.
Just because you haven’t reached some level of fame, success, whatever by now doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Look back at all the cool things you’ve done! You’ve gotten the chance to act, improvise, write, build a career (with benefits), raise a cat who only bites some of the time. Having a day job now doesn’t negate your past dreams of being a professional actor and doesn’t remove the possibility in the future. You still have plenty of time to figure out how to piece together the perfect life. You can do anything you want to do! You are sort of talented!
4.) You probably won’t die alone.
I wish I could promise that you won’t die alone, but I’m not a fortune teller, so I can’t. But, generally speaking, people find each other. And you are not a deeply unlovable person, even though sometimes you feel like you might be. Plus, you are certainly an acquired taste, so once someone loves you it’ll most likely be for keeps!
3.) It won’t always be like this.
If you work really, really hard, one day, you will no longer be a ball of anxiety that unravels at every perceived offense. One day, you won’t stay up all night ruminating over something that happened 10 years ago, or something that hasn’t even happened yet. You won’t watch episodes of “Black Mirror” and think, “Wow, that would actually be pretty great.” Instead, you’ll live in the moment and try to take things at face value. Spiraling will just be a thing you do with a pen when someone in a meeting is boring you.
2.) Your family and friends love you.
I know that sometimes it feels like everyone agrees that you’re trash. Sometimes it feels like everyone’s in on this secret that you’re a dumpster fire and have nothing to offer the world. But, in actually, they see the good in you. More than that, they actually think you’re pretty great. All those things you’re worried you can’t do? They’ve seen you do it and know you can do even more. When they give you fearless feedback, it’s because they want to see you reach your full potential. Not because they think you’re a garbage receptacle slowly melting away in fiery flames.
1.) You are the only thing standing in your way.
Sure, there are odds stacked against you. There are odds stacked against anyone. But you are not uniquely incapable of achieving your dreams. If what you want to happen doesn’t happen, for the most part, it’s because you wouldn’t let it happen. You didn’t take a risk, speak up, or let go of your insecurities. Everyone believes you can do it—you just have to believe it yourself. Because you don’t think everyone who believes in you is just a bumbling idiot, right?