Since I began this experience of exploring my old poetry, I’ve realized the shorter poems resonate more. There’s something about the simplicity of words that is powerful. Today’s poem amounts to all of five lines and I think it’s one of my best. It has to do with friendship of yourself.
I’m not sure how many people think about liking themselves, but it was a struggle I had in my youth. Much of my distress was caused by how I felt about myself. The following poem was written in January of 2005. The second semester of my high school year had started and my world was expanding. Instead of being in a class of 20 or so Catholic children, I was a part of a class with more than 140 people with different backgrounds and idea.s It gave me the chance to explore my true self, and gave birth to the following poem.
Friendship is something you give,
You accept or decline.
It’s all a matter of state of mind.
If you choose to trust and forgive.
How often do we talk about friendship with ourselves? I really wonder if most people waltz through life without stopping to consider their own truth. We have a choice to make. Do we like ourselves or not. The obvious choice would be to approve of our self, but I know a lot of people who don’t. What makes someone like who they are and what makes someone hate themselves? I’d argue, as this poem says, that it’s all in your state of mind.
The last line of this poem is the most important. We can’t achieve friendship with our self without trust and forgiveness. I once heard that the first step in achieving any goal – be it weight loss, overcoming depression, etc. – was to trust yourself. This isn’t something that happens overnight. Too often, we say “I’ll go to the gym after work,” but when we drive home, we decide to do something else. If your friend always said they’d be there and routinely backed down from that commitment, you wouldn’t trust their word much. We learn to trust ourselves by following through with our decisions, proving to ourselves that we do the things we commit to.
Forgiveness is equally important. If you are like me, you lived through many years giving no thought to whether your trust yourself or not. When you first start out, concentrating on the things you tell yourself and making a point to follow through, there will still be times when you fail. We aren’t perfect and there will be days where you don’t achieve something you told yourself. We have to learn to forgive ourselves. Acknowledge the things you’ve done wrong, the commitments you failed to follow through on, and move on.
Be your own best friend. Get to know yourself. Love yourself. Most importantly, trust and forgive yourself. In this way, you will know you are a person worthy of love, trust and forgiveness. This can only make life better. I personally feel that people who love themselves had better friendships with others and are more likely to find a true life partner. If you can’t see what’s great about yourself, how can you expect other’s to? Likewise, if you love yourself, acknowledging yourself as a great person, other people will see that. Your attitude will be contagious, and friends and lovers will come.
Have you ever stopped to consider friendship with yourself? Have you ever struggled to like and trust yourself? If so, how did you overcome that struggle? Or do the struggle continue? Aside from following through with what you tell yourself, what other ways could a person use to learn to trust themselves?