G’day gorgeous souls!
Today’s blog post is an Ask Leonie post.
The question comes from Annie in San Diego.
Leonie, thanks for all the inspiration and wisdom you shed on a daily basis, you’ve taught me more than I can say.
You seem to have such a great self esteem and relationship with yourself.
Can you tell me how to get past the fear and self loathing to get to that place?
Thanks for the lovely words and thanks for the question Annie!
I know many others struggle with the exactly the same thing.
The best way I can answer this question is with a story:
How To Make Best Friends With Your Self
When I was little (maybe 5 or 6), I used to have these waking nightmares.
I would realise all of a sudden that I was living the only life I had, and that I was hurtling towards death.
And once I got to death, I would be thrust out into the void.
And all around me, there would be nothing – just the shimmering dark velocity of outer space.
And there was no one there but me.
I would be stricken with pain, with fear, with sadness:
Once I get past this life thing, I will be so lonely…
an eternity of loneliness
I used to think.
(I’m crying as I write this – it’s touched something inside me.)
I fantasied about having a twin.
That if I was a twin, I would never ever be truly alone.
And when I got older, the dream changed from having a twin to having a soulmate.
Someone who would understand me without me ever having to express myself.
Someone who would never challenge me.
Someone who would always always be by my side and never ever go away.
Because who would I be if I was alone?
I was that awkward kid who hung out in the library at lunchtime.
It felt painful for me to make friends, and I didn’t start making them at school until I was in Year 5 (about 10 years old or so).
It was much easier for me to be friends instead with animals.
My best friends were Clancy my German Shepherd and Rebel my much beloved horse, my books & making art.
I dreamed of having a cardboard castle filled with stacks of white paper and a whole rainbow of Connectapens.
I didn’t have people friends,
but I had animal friends, and I had the farm and the earth and my art and I had the dreaming world inside my head,
and it was enough.
In high school, I had some great friends. People who were cool with me being who I was.
We still got bullied though.
Every single day in that damn school, we’d get bullied, and we’d get food thrown at us and yelled at:
You fuc*ing freaks.
I was 16 when I chose to leave that school + take myself off to boarding school instead. Anything to get out of that big, unwieldy, difficult public school. And I found myself at a lovely little haven where kids came straight off the farm + where a bit too innocent to be awful.
My story isn’t that of public school hell/private school heaven.
It was this.
This private, unseen moment:
At one time in my childhood, I wondered why friendships and people were so hard.
And I cried in the shower, and I knelt down with myself,
and something inside me called to myself:
Leonie, I will be your best friend.
Forever and always, I will think you’re the best thing since sliced bread.
I will be with you forever.
And we’ll make it fun wherever we go.
And so we did.
We made our castles, and we told our secrets to our horse.
When I was alone, I held my own hand.
And I started cheerleading myself.
That no matter what happened, or how I did,
the voice inside me would say:
It’s okay Leonie. You did great.
We’re going to be okay. We’re going to be okay.
I love you Leonie. You’re the best.
And I believed her.
And she was right.
And so when I got bullied in high school, I laughed. I rolled my eyes. Sure, it was taxing.
But it wasn’t about me anymore.
So they yelled, and they hooted, and they called me names.
And I didn’t believe them.
So I’d say:
You must be really miserable to want me to be so miserable.
They didn’t answer.
And when someone teased me as we waited in line for class, I said:
Don’t you love yourself?
Of COURSE I don’t, she sneered. Do YOU?
As though it was the worst thing on earth. To be UP yourself. To be in love with YOURSELF.
Of course I do, I said.
As though it was the silliest thing on earth NOT to be.
I was my own best friend.
It’s been a long time since I became best friends with myself.
I became the twin I was looking for.
I became my very own soulmate.
I quit looking for someone else or something else to fill my gaping void.
It’s been a long time since I worried about ever falling down the great void after death to find myself alone.
Think of the games we’d play together,
my Inner Best Friend (IBF-ey) tells me.
Oh we would have SUCH a hoot!
I’ve even married myself.
(You can see the photos here + read more about why I did that here.)
At some point in your life,
you need to take yourself by your own hand
My dearest, I love you. I’m here with you. I’m going to be here beside you for the rest of my life. I’m not going anywhere. You are doing great. You are so beautiful. I believe in you. I love you.
My Inner Best Friend is a cheerleader.
She is preppy and she’s uber up beat.
Your Inner Best Friend may sound a little different.
One of my friends has an Inner Best Friend who is a wise, considerate English butler.
Another friend who has an elder New Yorker woman as her Inner Best Friend (IBF).
It doesn’t matter what it sounds like.
The important thing is to make friends with her.
Your very own IBF is waiting to hear from you.
Your Challenge For Today
I dare you.
I double dog dare you.
What else have you got to lose…
when you could gain a life long friend… the dearest you’ll ever make?
Just get a piece of paper out. And start. And channel your inner IBF. Let her tell you everything you’ve been waiting to hear.
Your best friend is waiting.
and her very best friend in the whole wide world