NUGGETS OF GOLD a monthly Blog by David Nofziger
My Best Friend
May 1, 2020
Have you ever felt like you were your own worst enemy? That feeling is quite common because we do have a relationship with ourselves which we call our self-image. Our self-image consists of core beliefs about ourselves, and if these beliefs are overly negative or unhealthy, we call that a low self-image. These beliefs produce those negative messages that keep being whispered into our minds as the truth about who I am.
But we need to realize that they are simply beliefs, many of which stem from childhood, and these beliefs can be changed by learning how to become our own best friend. In high school, I definitely had a low self-image. I would make some small mistake, or do something I thought was dumb, and then I would get frustrated with myself and be depressed for days. Something happened in college that helped me understand why that was happening.
One particular morning, I did something that had me quite upset. I have no idea what it was, but I remember well what happened that evening in my dorm room. I was standing in front of a La-Z-Boy chair in our room, and my roommate was doing something at his desk. I was still mad at myself for what had happened that morning and started cutting myself down – out loud. I cannot remember what I said, but I can imagine it was something like this, “I am so stupid. I can’t do anything right.” All of a sudden, my roommate rose up, and using both hands, grabbed my shoulders and shoved me down into that chair. He then stuck his index finger right up to my nose and shouted, “DON’T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT MY FRIEND LIKE THAT AGAIN!” Believe me, he was shouting and the spit was flying. After a few seconds, he started laughing, and I laughed; but afterward, I did some deep thinking.
The shock of that event penetrated a lot of defenses. The anger he expressed, and the fact that he said it in the third person as if I had been saying that about someone else, made me think. I would not have been saying that about someone else; I knew I was not that rude. But then, why was I saying that about myself? If someone else had been saying those words to me, I would be depressed, but when I say them to myself, I get depressed as well. I now understood why I would get so down in high school over a silly mistake. I had no grace for myself. Therefore, I had to learn how to be a friend to myself.
I started thinking about how I would treat a good friend if he were getting down on himself. I would encourage him and try to lift him up in some way. So, I started doing that to myself.
I began listening to those subconscious negative messages instead of just accepting them. Then, I would gently start encouraging myself, giving myself some grace, no longer being so hard on myself. As the months passed, I began to handle mistakes differently. I found myself examining the mistake and seeing how I could do better the next time. I was no longer cutting myself down. The subconscious belief was changing, and I was treating myself differently. I liked the change. In fact, I started thinking, “Who says I have to be so hard on myself? I am the only person I’m stuck with twenty-four hours a day. I can get away from everyone else, at least for a while, but I can’t get away from myself. If I don’t treat myself very well, that can make for a miserable life.”
Furthermore, I discovered that in accepting myself and giving myself some grace, I was changing and growing more than ever. When I would get down on myself and be depressed for days, I was just dwelling on how bad I was. But now, as I started examining my mistakes and learning from them so I could do better next time, I was actually growing and changing through my mistakes! I also let the truth of God’s acceptance and forgiveness sink in, which helped me accept and forgive myself. I was now on a journey of growth, and it felt great!
So remember, you have a relationship with yourself. Start treating yourself with the same love and grace that God desires to give you every day. If you practice this daily, you too will become your own best friend!
David Nofziger has been the director and lead counselor at Hope Alive Counseling Services in Defiance since 1989 and author of “Brain Washed, Transforming Your Self-Image through the Amazing Love of God.” He and his wife, Sue, attend Family Christian Center in Defiance where they head up the church’s mission program. Visit HopeAliveCounseling.com for more information.
Nuggets of Gold is a monthly Blog focused on Personal growth, Marriage Improvement, and Parenting Issues. Your comments can be entered below. They are always welcome and suggestions for future posts are appreciated. Thank you for allowing me to share these thoughts with you.
BRAIN WASHED Transforming Your Self-Image Through the Amazing Love of God, by David Nofziger.
If you enjoy “Nuggets of Gold,” I would like to recommend this book to you which brings you an entire pot of gold. This pot of gold is not at the end of an imaginary rainbow, but is found in the transforming power of the love of God.
The key to fulness of life is discovering who we are in Christ. Our self-image is one of the most important factors affecting our growth and wellbeing, and we need a Christ-Centered Self-Image. In this book you will learn how to allow the truth of God’s love to penetrate deep into your heart and transform you in such a way that you take on the “Image of Christ.”
All profits from books that are sold through the Hope Alive Counseling Website go to counseling scholarships for clients with financial needs.