• gauri nadkarni choudhary

How I met my Best Friend

One of the purest and most fulfilling relationship between two humans (and animals) is that of a friendship. The need to have a confiding relationship is basic to all humans. A friend is a person whom we trust unconditionally and rely on for support. A friend is a part of our fun and a part of our turbulences. A deep sense of friendship gives us the confidence to move ahead in life.

The ability to make and maintain friendships is considered to be one of the signs of healthy adjustment. It is not about the number of friends but the quality of friendship that you share that is emotionally fulfilling.

What happens to us when we get isolated from our friends? How does not being able to get in touch with your closest friend when you are feeling down make us feel? Does it bother us when our friend is separated from us by distance or time or is simply overwhelmed by their own lives to be there for us?

We have all sorts of friends; friends we share interests with, friends with whom we have fun, friends whom we share our deepest and darkest secrets with and friends who know us best. Amongst all these who would you consider your best friend? Is there a person who can fulfill all these criteria?

Let us look at the checklist we have for an ideal friend

· The one who knows us best

· The one who is in tune with our moods

· The one who has time for us

· The one who likes and enjoys the same things

· The one who knows are weaknesses but doesn’t judge us

· The one who motivates and supports us for every single decision

· The one who stands up for us

It is an exhaustive list, isn’t it? It is unfair to demand all this from a friend no matter how close they are!! Even with the best intentions it is impossible for a person to fulfill all these criteria.

Then how do we find a best friend? The one who has all these qualities; the one who is always available.

If you read the checklist one more time, you will realize that there is in fact a person who fits perfectly into all of it and that person is you, yourself.

Have you ever tried to be your own friend, let alone best friend? We pride ourselves about being a good friend to many others but are we really a good friend to our own self? Why is it so difficult for us to become our own friend? Why is it difficult for us to give ourselves the same unconditional support and trust that we give to our other friends? We are more than qualified to do so.

· The one who knows us best: Who knows us better that us? We know our past, our present and the future that we want. We know our fears and anxieties. We know what we are capable of better than any one else. We know what hurts us and what makes us feel better. Yet we don’t trust ourselves, yet we disregard our own instincts. It is a simple matter of self-trust that can take us a long way and make us feel good and confident.

· The one who is in tune with our moods: Again, who else knows our ups and downs more than us. Who best knows the triggers and thoughts that led to the mood change? Who knows that eating a particular ice-cream can change the mood? Who knows instinctively what music calms me down or makes me go for that jog? All this is available to us all the time, inside our own head. Yet we expect someone else to help change our mood. Of course, having a friend around is a bonus, but what if we can do this for ourselves too? Help ourselves deal with our own mood. Just go that extra mile to make ourself feel better like we would do for any other friend?

· The one who has time for us: This one probably need a little more work because we never have time for ourselves nor make an effort to find it. We would readily drop things for a friend who needs our help, but we rarely do that for ourselves. A friend who is sick becomes our priority. We make sure that they are well fed and rested but is it so difficult to do so for ourselves? Our shoulder is always ready for a friend who needs a good cry but can we do that for ourself? Just allow yourself a good cry and then wipe those tears and smile into the mirror? It is not difficult, if we just treated ourself as our own friend because we can surely make that time for ourself!

· The one who likes and enjoys the same things: This one is the simplest yet most difficult part. We know our idea of fun but are afraid to do it by ourselves. Often because we have equated spending time alone as being lonely. We think people will judge us if we went to our favourite concert alone or spent the day with just yourself. Nothing could be more wrong than this. Being able to enjoy your own company is considered one of the highest forms of emotional adjustment, only the people who are accepting and content can do this. Enjoying with a group of friends has its own perks but try watching the sunset by yourself; it is one of the most peaceful experiences. Do the things you like, with or without someone else.

· The one who knows are weaknesses but doesn’t judge us: This is where most of us will surely fail. We are our worst judge. We don’t allow ourselves even the simplest of mistakes. We will accept friends who did something we consider wrong, or who messed up, made the wrong decision or even hurt us but we do not do that to ourselves ever! We are kind, considerate human beings when it comes to our friends but the harshest of the critic to our own self. Is it so hard being kind to yourself the way you are kind to someone else? Are we so hard to love?

· The one who motivates and supports us for every single decision: Imagine if your friend failed at something, what would you say or do for them? Or let’s say that they are planning to write an exam how will you motivate them? You would be considerate and encouraging. You would help them and support them. Now think how would you treat yourself in the same situation? Would you be equally accepting and encouraging? Or would you berate yourself and tell yourself how incapable you are. When you know the right way to help someone why not use it for yourself?

· The one who stands up for us: I heard this quote which said I can make fun of my friend but no one else is allowed to do so on my watch. We are ready to fight the world to defend our friends, even the meekest person will become assertive when it comes to protecting their friends. Why then do we lose this courage when it comes to our own selves? Is it different from standing up for someone else? Why can we not protect ourselves using the same assertiveness that we have for our friends?

Having good friends is the biggest wealth of life. It makes our life more meaningful and rewarding. There is no denying the value of true friendship. But friendship like charity begins at home.

Extend that hand of friendship to yourself and make the most rewarding relationship of your life!!!

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