a couple of weeks ago, i heard a valuable piece of advice during spin class. inside a dark, candlelit room, surrounded by the whirring of 60 bikes and the distinct smell of lemon-tinted sweat, the following words were spoken:
“treat yourself the way you treat your best friend.”
let’s let that sink in for a moment, shall we? treat yourself the way you treat your best friend. you know how you give your best friend pardons when they do something stupid, or inconsiderate, or how you don’t judge them when they make a mistake, how you tell them, over and over again, that everything will be okay. how you reassure them in moments of fear that they are exactly where they need to be, that it will all work out, that this moment is simply preparing them for something greater. how you listen to them as they reveal their fears and their worries, and how you never, not once, tell them that any of those thoughts are not valid.
what if you treated yourself the same way?
what if, the next time you made a mistake, or did something stupid, or said something inconsiderate, you just let.it.go?
i mean, hot damn, imagine the possibilities, right? such a simple statement, but such an insanely empowering nugget of advice. emily t. (new yorkers, if you like spin, get yourself to soulcycle and take em’s class, she’s the shit) is one of my favorite instructors at soul for this very reason: she dispenses these little magical nuggets of inspiration each and every class. and i tell you, cheesy or not, there’s something incredibly powerful about hearing exactly what you need to hear while you’re drenched in sweat, pushing your body to its limits, and in a blissed out state of zen.
i have a long history with doing the exact opposite of letting it go. i will ruminate for hours, then ruminate some more, over the teeniest, tiniest things – things that the average person would have let go within .5 seconds. i’m quick to blame myself, to feel like i’ve failed (but we all feel that way sometimes, right?), to tell myself that whatever i’ve gone is just plain not good enough.
but what if i didn’t do that? because let’s be real, i’d never, EVER, treat my best friend that way. i’d never tell her what she’d done wasn’t good enough, or that i was disappointed in her because she’d failed, or even that she’d failed at all! NEVER.
so what if i applied the wisdom and the benefit of the doubt that i give my closest friends to my own heart? what if i stopped blaming myself for being single? what if i stopped categorizing every single flaw on my body? what if i stopped degrading myself for not being where i want to be with my career?
what if, even if just for a day, i just let myself be? and instead, i practiced loving myself. being proud of myself. telling myself i’d done a good job when i had. imagine how much more likable we’d all be if we just loved ourselves a little bit more.
some of the people i admire and envy most in the world are those who seem to have been born with this utter sense of self, a knowledge that they are good, if not great, that they will weather the storms life throws at them and come out the other side. they walk with grace, they hold their head high, they command the room not because they like attention but because they possess the confidence that so many of us don’t.
i don’t think i’ll ever be one of those people – i’m too damn sensitive and analytical – but i do think i could practice being just a little bit kinder to myself, and reminding myself that for the most part, i’m doing the best i can.
we all are.