While doing the joy that was distance learning, a group of third graders were tasked with writing about what makes a good friend. Some of the answers included…
1. Good manners
2. Including other kids
3. Being honest
4. Playing with others
5. Helping other kids with their stuff
This got me to thinking. Does everyone look for the same basic qualities in a friend? Sure, maybe “manners” as an overarching theme wouldn’t be in the list, but I bet that SOME manners might be. Maybe saying please and thank you. Maybe chewing with your mouth closed. Maybe saying “hello” when you enter a room.
But if you look more closely at this list, there is one huge consistency that really stands out. For little kids, being kind and inclusive is an important part of someone’s behavior. Thinking about others and doing the right thing seems to be a big deal. And that’s a good thing, right?
Well, if you were to make a list of the qualities you find important in a friend, how many of those qualities do you feel you embody on a regular basis? I mean sure, it’s easy to say that helping others is something you want out of your friends, but are you willing to do the same? Are you willing to be inclusive? Are you willing to walk your talk?
What would happen if everyone tried to behave in a way that they would want their friends to behave? What would happen if everyone treated themselves the way they would treat their friends? I’m sure you’ve all heard the expression, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but why does that seem to not count for how we treat ourselves?
So I challenge you to start looking at how you want your friends to act and then start trying to behave in the same way. I challenge you to start looking at how you want your friends to treat you and then start trying to treat yourself in the same way. The first and foremost relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves. And if we don’t treat ourselves with kindness and love, it’s sort of silly to expect others to. So give it a try. Make a thoughtful effort to treat yourself as good as you treat someone you love. Because you, yes YOU are worthy of love from others but especially from YOU!