Be Your Own Best Friend [en]

Many years ago I understood it was important that I treat myself as my own best friend. I’ve been trying to put that in practice ever since.

One of the ongoing issues in my life has been that even though I am a strong, dependable person for others, I would fail at being somebody that I could depend on.

I would let myself down a lot. I would resolve to do things, and watch my resolve disappear in a puff of smoke as soon as it was time to use it. I would let the dishes pile up, the flat get messy, and the fridge go empty. I would allow myself to stay up way past a reasonable bedtime, knowing I would pay for it later. In short, I’ve always had trouble taking good care of myself.

The strange thing was that I would have no problem doing those things for other people. I didn’t mind doing the dishes for a friend if I ate at their place. I would clean up my flat if I had guests coming. If I told a friend I would do something for them, I would show up — and do it.

So, the skill was there. And one day — I remember the scene clearly — it clicked. I realized that if I looked at the pile of dishes in the sink not as yet another thing I had to deal with, but as a favour to a good friend, it became much easier to do them.

Of course, it’s not magic. It doesn’t work all the time. There are long stretches of time where I completely forget to treat myself like a good friend.

But all in all, I’m getting much better at it. It’s helped me take charge of my life, rather than letting my life happen to me.

It’s cliché, but living one’s life for others is not sustainable. As adults, we are our primary — and really only — carer. Even surrounded by healthy relationships, friends, spouses, family, we are alone in life as we are alone before death. We are the only 100% stable being in our universe.

So, when things start getting a little out of hand in my life, like they regularly do, I try to remember: as I can and want to care for others, I can care for myself, take myself by the hand and do what needs to be done.

It actually boils down to a question of simple decision — and action — even when it’s not easy.

Your life belongs to you, and you are its sole gardener. Nobody else will do it for you.

Be your own best friend. Don’t let yourself down anymore.

Log-Out Day: Victims of Technology, or a Chance to Grow? [en]

[fr] Les initiatives de "déconnection" comme le Log-Out Day en Corée sont à mon avis symptomatiques d'une immaturité dans l'utilisation des nouvelles technologies, aussi bien à l'échelle personnelle que sociétale. Nous pouvons nous voir comme les victimes de la technologie et la rejeter avec fracas (pour toujours ou pour un jour) ou bien la voir comme une opportunité d'évoluer et de grandir en tant que personnes.

The last link from Laurent‘s post Defriendization is the future of social networks that I want to comment upon is about Log-Out Day in Korea. (Read my first two articles about his post: Defriending, Keeping Connections Sustainable and Maybe Superficial and Scale in Community and Social Media: Bigger is not Always Better.)

We need to be able to disconnect, but again, I’m not sure it’s really worth making a statement about, or taking a stand for. Do we have “electricity-free” days? We do have “car-free” days here, but they’re rarely followed. All this reminds me of the Addicted to Technology meme.

For me, the existence of things like a “Log-Out Day” is a symptom that we (as a society, as individuals) have not yet come to terms with the new technology in our lives. We are not mature in our usage of these tools. We haven’t learned to set boundaries that make sense for us, and we’re not good at enforcing them.

Do you take non-critical work phone calls when you’re taking time off? Do you let new e-mail interrupt you when you’re deep in something else? Do you have trouble saying “no” to the almost infinite requests of the connected world? Do you face difficulties in your relationships with other people, and take the “easy way out” of moving almost all your social life online? I could go on and on.

We can be victims of technology, and resort to rejecting it in sometimes dramatic knee-jerk ways (Log-Out Day, deleting one’s Facebook account, shutting down one’s blog, etc.) — or we can seize the opportunity to grow as human beings.

I do not have to leave my cellphone at the entrance to ignore incoming calls, or not use it (like when I’m on holiday, or during the week-end). I can be lazy about responding to friend requests, rather than deleting my Facebook account because I can’t keep up. I can spend a “technology free” week up in the mountains without checking my e-mail even though I have my iPhone and computer with me. I can decide to not turn back to fetch the cellphone I forgot at home, and go out without it instead.

I can be a hyper-connected person without letting it eat my life away.