Norton: You have to be a friend to yourself before you can be a good friend to others (column)
“Who is your best friend?”
Suzanne, one of our community readers, posed this question to her 10-year-old grandson. As he thought about it, he listed about 10 kids he would consider to be his best friend, and then he said, “Wait a minute, I am No. 1. I am my own best friend.”
Suzanne summed it up best when she shared this with me as she stated that it took her years to figure this out and that her grandson was light years ahead of her. Thank you, Suzanne; I appreciate you.
Although friends are an important part of our lives, especially the right kinds of friends and people we surround ourselves with, we must first be true to ourselves and have a healthy self-image of who we are. We need to believe in ourselves and know what it is that we bring to a friendship or relationship before we go out trying to determine who our best friend is or what others may bring to the friendship or relationship.
There has been so much written about this topic, and there are so many quotes that are relevant to having a healthy self-image, and I would like to share a little about what I have seen and learned over the years about owning our own healthy self-image.
Dr. Joyce Brothers said, “An individual’s self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.”
David Mattson says it this way in his book “The Sandler Success Principles,” “You can only perform in your roles in a manner consistent with how you see yourself conceptually.”
And when it comes to a healthy self-image and friendship, I think Zig Ziglar says it best, “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
If we go back to Suzanne’s grandson and his reply that he is his own best friend, then he is so well positioned to go out and be a friend to others. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from the folks mentioned above, as well as Dr. Denis Waitley and Earl Nightingale and many others, is that we all have riches inside of us. Sometimes we go looking for riches elsewhere or try to find an identity through someone else or something else, when all we really need to do is realize that we all have gifts, talents, resources, virtues and abilities already within us. All we must do is tap into those gifts and talents, bring them to the surface and believe in ourselves, our virtues and our abilities.
Over the years, I have met with many people and customers and have had people challenge me about this concept, claiming that they don’t have gifts and talents or abilities. And I can happily say that after spending just a little bit of time with them, some longer than others, most come around and see that they really are special, they have more to offer than they believed, and they understand how important it is to see themselves in a positive and healthy light.
So how about you? Do you have a strong and healthy self-image? Not the egotistical and self-centered kind, but a healthy self-image that when brought to the surface can brighten the darkest days and shine a little extra light on the world. I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we can see ourselves in a better way and own our healthy self-image, it really will be a better-than-good day.
Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.