Lesson 90: Be your own best friend

Published 3:31 pm Thursday, September 9, 2010

If you must love your neighbor as yourself, it is at least as fair to love yourself as your neighbor.

Sebastien-Roch Nicolas

Have you ever heard the saying, Hes his own worst enemy? This can be said of most of us, I suspect. But theres a flip side as well: youre also your own best friend.

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You are the only person who has to live with yourself twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, so if you dont like yourself, its not going to be much fun. And because you only get one shot at life, it should be fun.

You are who you are. Theres no getting around it. You canand shouldwork to improve certain things about yourself. Maybe you talk too much, or maybe you dont talk enough. Maybe you need more patience or tolerance, a slower temper, or better driving habits. Maybe you need to learn to relax or accept criticism or not take things so personally.

Everybody has many areas that could use improvement, and youre no exception. But one thing is for sure: its vitally important to like yourself. In fact, its no exaggeration to say that you must love yourself unconditionally, just as you should love any other family member. If you cant honestly say that you do, then you should drop all other areas of self-improvement until you get this one fixed.

Think about that notion of yourself as your own best friend. Consider all the things you do for yourself: you feed yourself, dress yourself, bathe yourself, walk or drive yourself from one place to another, and keep yourself company all day and all night. Youve gotta like a person who does all that stuff for you.

Heres how important it is. Consider the tragic case of Marilyn Monroe. She was Americas most popular starlet in the 1950s and early 60sand not just because of her looks and provocative roles. She was a genuinely talented actress. At the time of her death from apparent suicide in 1962, it seemed that everyone loved Marilyn except Marilynand nobody really knew why.

You need to maintain a close, healthy relationship with yourself. Like any other relationship, it will require time and effort to maintain. Take time for yourself. Exercise. Pursue a hobby that you enjoy. Relax with a good book. Go on a fun trip. When youre comfortable in your own skin, others will be comfortable in your presence. As the great Lucille Ball once said, Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.

Excerpted from The Graduates Book of Practical Wisdom: 99 Lessons They Cant Teach in School by C. Andrew Millard, published by Morgan James Publishing, available in bookstores and online. &opy; 2008 by C. Andrew Millard; all rights reserved. For more information visit www.wisegraduate.com.