As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, there was a code that defined true friendship, it was that you could always count on your friends to stick up for you no matter what. They always had your back and discouraged anyone from talking behind it. Loyalty was of the utmost importance. Knowing that you had friends you could count on helped you to feel more secure and less alone. No matter what life threw your way it was always more manageable with your friends around. You could count on them and they could count on you. That’s how it was back then.
But things change when you grow up and leave the old neighborhood. Your sense of security becomes your own responsibility. You are in charge of taking care of your emotional and physical self out there in the world. So, my question to you is– Do you know how to stick up for yourself? Do you know how to be your own best friend? If you don’t, you’re in for a bumpy ride. People who don’t have unconditional, positive regard for themselves usually place their self-worth in the hands of others. Needing constant validation to feel good about who you are and what you do can quickly turn you into a people pleaser.
There is another way to feel secure within yourself without giving your power away. You must learn to love and accept yourself with absolutely no strings attached. That means, you don’t have to be smarter, more beautiful, famous or even talented to think you’re wonderful. In fact, it’s quite the reverse. Self-love means you stick with yourself, and believe that you are worthy of love and respect at the end of the day, especially when you screw up. It’s about acceptance not accomplishments. Tara Brach expresses this point in her book, “Radical Acceptance:” “When I was in college, I went off to the mountains for a weekend of hiking with an older, wiser friend of twenty-two. After we set up our tent, we sat by a stream, watching the water swirl around rocks and talking about our lives. At one point she described how she was learning to be “her own best friend.” A huge wave of sadness came over me, and I broke down sobbing. I was the furthest thing from my own best friend. I was continually harassed by an inner judge who was merciless, relentless, nit-picking, driving, often invisible but always on the job. I knew I would never treat a friend the way I treated myself, without mercy or kindness. “
Becoming your own best friend is the kindest thing you will ever do for yourself. It is key to taking charge of your self-worth. This is especially important for actors who often confuse their self-worth with their last performance. As you travel through life, remember never to let anyone steal away your reins. You are the one and only person in charge of how you feel about yourself. There is no magic to being self-confident, it’s simply a decision to take charge of your self-esteem. As a therapist, I find that self-love is a testament to true healing of past wounds and a major ingredient of growth and wisdom. When you invest the time and effort in learning how to drop judgment and become your own best friend you will never have to worry about being alone, you will always have yourself.
I am larger and better than I thought.
I did not think I held so much goodness.
Authentic connection is at the core of our happiness. If we do not experience relationships that are mutually empowering and attuned we suffer.
Group therapy provides the tools needed to create healthy, long lasting relationships.
Join a circle of trust that provides a safe place to explore and learn about your emotions. The group is facilitated by Bonnie Katz, MFT who has 15 years of group experience and training.
Bonnie Katz is an active member of The American Group Psychotherapy Association and a former board member of The Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles.
When: Wednesday 12:45-2:15
New evening group forming as well. Free phone consultation to discuss your goals and concerns.
I’ve created The Conscious Actor Inspiration Journal; to help actors develop awareness of what inspires them. Beautiful pages filled with inspirational quotes to help keep you strong minded. For New York actors, the journal is available at Drama Book Shop Los Angeles actors may pick up the journal at Paper Chase Press
Conscious Actor articles are not a substitution for professional psychotherapy.