Finding Your Best Friend

May 22, 2017


 They have been there through it all.  Your happiest days, your darkest nights.  They think you’re the funniest, the smartest, the nicest person they have ever met.  No matter how trivial or how intense your situation may be, you can count on them to always have your back.  They’ve supported you through every single thing you’ve ever done.


No one exactly fitting this description?  That’s because I’m talking about you.  It’s our basic human nature to take care of and love ourselves.  However, this can get overridden in stressful, hectic times such as our high school years.  It’s easy to lose yourself in mentally taxing times like these.


Here is a bit about my personal experience with self-love:

Beginning at about age 8, I became increasingly more self-critical.  By the time I reached middle school, I did everything in my power to look like the other girls.  Being a thicker girl, with a large frame and dark features, I was incredibly self-conscious about not looking like my peers.  Unable to accept who I was, I compared myself to everyone else, and always wound up feeling bad about myself.  Soon after, I began realizing that my grades weren’t impressive.  Yeah, I was smart, but there were people way smarter.  Yeah, I was good at most subjects, but other people were better, and other people thrived in every subject.  The more I compared anything about myself to that of others, the farther I slumped down into a pit of self-loathing.  When I first stepped onto the GBHS campus, I wanted to disappear.  I did not want to live the next 4 years of my life in a place full of better versions of myself.


But, I realized that constantly comparing myself did me no good.  All it did was make me sad and anxious.  I wanted to be happy with who I was and stop viewing myself in terms of how I compare to everyone else.  Over the past three years, I’ve worked hard to try to change my mentality.  I tried hard to stop making comparisons with everyone around me.  I started pursuing things that truly made me happy, and avoiding those that didn’t.  I started making the best choices for myself, which often meant having to deliberately choose to stray from the “norm” and think of what would truly be best for me.   


I learned the hard way that you don’t need to do what other people do, look how other people look, or think like other people think.  The older you get, the less you find yourself pausing to think about how others perceive you.  The earlier you start listening to your own head and heart, the quicker you’ll reach this peaceful mentality.  And, as cliche as it sounds, you really need to love yourself-- whether it’s through little things, like positive self-talk, or bigger things, like removing toxic things and people from your life.  Treat yourself like you would treat a close friend, because you will always be your own best friend.

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Natalie Elkin, MA, LMFT

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