Have you ever thought of the perfect comeback… hours later? The masterful retort that demonstrates your succinct wisdom and humor… days too late? As frustrating as these delayed reactions are, they are a good sign that your inner best friend is on the job. The more you pay attention to her (or him), and appreciate their efforts, you’ll gradually start receiving that inner support before the moment is lost.
A great way to help your inner best friend grow stronger is to let them go head to head with your inner demons. Choreograph mud wrestling events, paintball battles, magic wand contests a la Harry Potter, whatever your tickles your imagination. Be playful. And the secret is… always let your best friend get the last headlock, the wicked backhand, the spell to obliterate all spells. It’s your arena, your mind, you get to decide who wins. Then when your inner demons pop up, your inner best friend knows what to do, and is confident in her ability to meet with equal creativity whatever the inner demons throw at her. Work with whatever triggers your inner demons most… for me it’s often that most powerful of meaningless numbers… my weight.
As a recovered anorexic, I have a long standing policy of not looking at my weight when I’m at the doctor’s office. I turn away from the scale’s face and politely ask the nurse not say the amount aloud. One day not long ago, in my overconfidence about the “recovered” part of being anorexic, I decided I was strong enough to know my weight, and brazenly watched while the nurse noted the number on the scale into my chart.
Oh. My. God. I weighed ten pounds more than the weight listed on my driver’s license! When did that happen? Did I gain weight during the holidays? Was I not exercising enough? I scoured my mind for some explanation. Suddenly I wasn’t so worried about whatever the health concern was I’d gone to the doctor for in the first place. All I could think about was how much I weighed and what I’d done wrong. And worst of all, my inner best friend was out like, getting her nails done or something! Where the hell was she when I needed her?
Finally, as I drove home, she showed up. My inner anorexic was already taking swings at me, with a tennis racket and a basket of balls. You need to go on a diet, now, she said, thwacking the ball hard at me. I imagined myself backing off the side of the court, watching as my inner best friend lined her toes on the other side of the net, ready to volley.
She doesn’t need a diet, silly. She’s fine. (Poomf!)
She needs to stop eating so much. (Whack!)
What you need is to chill out. It’s a few pounds, no big deal. (Thock!)
What has she already eaten today? (Swack!)
Geez, give her a break, she felt great until you showed up. (Whoomp!)
That’s it, she’s skipping lunch entirely. And only a salad for dinner. (Poomf!)
Oh, that’s original. Starving yourself is the solution to every problem. (Whock!)
But she’s fat! (Shoof! She lobs the ball into the air.)
She’s not fat, and even if she were, so what? She’s beautiful. She’s enjoying life. She has so much to be grateful for. Get real. (Smash! Her diet-obsessed opponent extends her racket across the court to reach the ball but misses. We have a winner!)
Today my inner best friend stands up for me whenever and wherever I need her. I just have to remember she’s there. The practice of invoking the inner best friend to help you work with your inner demons uses your imagination to cultivate a positive angle of mind that doesn’t let you get mired in old negative stories about yourself.
But remember, you’re not actually exterminating your demons. Only let your best friend use enough force to weaken them and let them know their negative energy isn’t welcome. Once you feel strong enough, you can actually start to harness the strength of your inner demons and channel it to support what you want to create in your life… something to look forward to later!
Next post: Casting good spells on yourself, the Buddhist way.