Be nice to yourself

October 10, 2012

I had a hilarious thought the other day, about how I'm the only person I'm forced to hang around all day, every day. The only break I have from myself is when I'm sleeping, and even that's debatable. Is there anyone that I can stand 24/7? I need my time alone, even for only a very little time, to recharge how much I like someone. Which is very, very fast for my very good friends, and pretty good for everyone else, I think. And since I'm the only person I'm forced to be be around all the time, why don't I try to be that someone who I wouldn't mind being around all the time?

This brings up two things. One, I need to see myself as another person. When I do that, I can view myself just like I view everyone else. I've seen people be mean to other people. I've seen people be nice to other people. I dislike or like them accordingly. I've also seen people be nice or mean to me. I can gauge pretty well at this point how people react to things people do or say. But I think we deceive ourselves on how people might react to ourselves. We always think we're in the right, we're angels, and whatever conflicts come up are just a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding mostly on their part.

But if I stepped out and saw myself say the things that I say sometimes, I wouldn't like it. You know how when you're away from home for a while and then you come back and you really missed your family and you're just so nice to them? But it wasn't like that in high school. You'd say mean things, not because you dislike them or anything, but just because you got used to being around them.

But if you were watching yourself, and you could will that person you were watching, you would tell them not to snap. Or to take it back and apologize. It's like when you're watching TV, or a movie, and one of the characters says something stupid or does something terrible, which they have to do or else there wouldn't be anything interesting to watch, and you want to shout at the screen and tell them to stop, or to turn around. Well this is the only chance you have to do that. You can change the script on the fly. What kind of person would you love to hang out with, be with? What kind of person would you like to be? Haven't you ever thought what it would be like to be one of those people on the screen, at least for a little while? Well this is your chance.

So there's you, and there's the you that you're watching. They're the same person, which makes it terribly confusing, but don't think about it too much and you'll start to grasp it. For that second person, dissect what you like in a person. And just as importantly, what you don't like, what you'd rather stay away from. This requires investigation on your part. You might even need to write it down. In a more traditional sense, you might call these your values. As you watch yourself, and don't worry about keeping a perfect track record, take a split seconds once in a while few to nudge yourself in the direction you'd want yourself to go.

Someone you'd be proud to tell other's he's your friend. Someone you talk fondly about. Someone who you don't know everything about, but are proud to know more about than most others. What do you want to see in someone you'd want to get to know better? For example, say you're walking down the street. When someone walks by you, you can make a million assumptions about her. By her posture, by her clothes, by her facial expressions. And I'm pretty sure all of us make a snap judgement like, hey this guy looks cool, or he looks confident, something like that. So when you walk down the street, look at yourself too. It's superficial, but there's some truth to it, like how bad posture is for terrible people.

The good stuff comes from the people you know. Who do you admire? Or thinking of it the other way around, who do you not like being around? I admire people who work hard. Who exercise and eat well. Who read and write. Whose work is good. Someone who knows what he's talking about, and someone who doesn't talk behind people's back. Someone who is curious about what they don't know and asks questions. Someone who leads. Someone who reads. Someone who encourages and praises. Someone who takes responsibilty. Someone that you don't know everything about.

You need to keep a careful balance. You're not trying to be someone else. You're still you. For example, you might admire a leader, but you don't have to be one yourself if that doesn't suit you. But you have to at least lead yourself. Be your own role model.

Don't think of this as a different you. That's the last thing any of us want. Your friends, your family, love, and love that they hate, everything about you that is you. So don't throw any of that away. Instead, think of it as the best possible version of you.