reports2021/08/16

How Lockdown Forced Me To Face The Friendship With Myself

Photographs by Caroline Ost

When we thrive in our daily lives, we have the possibility to experience real friendship and connection. During lockdown, restrictions forcing us to stay at home and stay away from friends turned my focus towards another form of friendship. 

With enough time to take a look at myself and cope with the difficulties of the past year, I had to admit that I'm just a part-time friend to myself. This is not about self-confidence or having a bad day. I am too critical with my decisions, life goals, appearance and thoughts. When things don't work out as I wanted it to be, I am the first person who quits the relationship I have with myself.

There is no master formula to overcome this. It's a process and it's different for every person. But I wanted to share my tips for building a positive relationship with myself. 

Firstly, I tried to be more sensitive towards myself. People often may react in a numb or insensitive way towards their own personal matters. Being honest with yourself is hard, but it is the easiest way to let go of old behaviour patterns or bad influences (in this case, my own bad influence).

Secondly, I tried to see myself through the eyes of my friends. Because that's what friends do. They support, listen, forgive and feel with you.

Once I understood how to build a positive relationship with myself, my next step was implementing this into my mind and body. I wrote two lists. One covered what I dislike most about my attitude and appearance and another list that invalidates every aspect of the first list. On the first list, I address the fact that I see myself as impatient and therefore place a lot of pressure on my work and achievements. List number two forced me to think about this pressure and led me to conclude that my impatience also makes me think fast and work effectively. Another problem I faced is the emotion I feel when I look in the mirror and am not happy with what I see. I am sure everybody knows how this feels from time to time. While I tried to negate these feeling with the fact my body is strong and healthy, the reality is that this time I couldn't influence my mind and couldn't “trick” my feelings into changing. 

I discovered that I had to take little steps towards building a friendship with myself, because there is no quick solution for me. In general, small steps are often the best you can take in every aspect of life. They reduce pressure and create positive change gradually over time. 

My next step is to actively treat myself with love and care through doing little exercises, being mindful, reading a book and celebrating everything I find pleasure in. It helped get out of a negative place and still does. Instead of overreacting when faced with personal difficulties, I now feel more relaxed and forgiving and truly focus on giving myself unconditional love. 

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