I find myself talking about FAVR a lot. Usually, the people I visit with are treating themselves and others poorly, without FAVR. They have been taught to listen to themselves (what self they are not so sure) and usually the self they listen to is condemning and critical. This internalized hurt bubbles over like volcano flow into other relationships and work. I would love these folk to do themselves a FAVR.
Looking inside often does me no favours. In fact, it may well lead to rumination and regret. You know rumination, don’t you? Repetitive, self-scourging assaults that seem to never end. The victim is usually you or your closest intimate. You might wake up with dreams of discouragement. These are ruminations too.
Looking inward can lead to deep contentment and change. You can look inwards to pray and meditate and wonder. But rumination is the opposite way of looking in. Rumination compares and criticises. These are verbs that make one feel sick and tired, perhaps depressed.
Looking outwards is to do oneself a FAVR. It is to turn the focus of your energy from faults, unhappy history, relationship regret and the like to 4 distinct visions. Future. Abilities, Values. Relationships.
Future: when you look outwards to your future, I am not talking 5 years or 6 months. Consider looking ahead for 24 or 48 hours. Can you look to see what is possible for the next 2 days? What excites you, frightens you? Can you connect with your work or your partner or your kids in the next several hours? Plan a short-term future.
Abilities: the resources to accomplish your 24-hour future are yours to exercise. Knowing your skills for living are what keeps you going. List them. Think about them. Practice them. These are things you do. What do you need to do? Will you do it?
Values: these are the up-and-out qualities of hope or kindness or gratitude. And these are just 3 values of dozens that you construct your life on. Values create an “upward slope” for your future. I ask some of my client-friends to shout values in the morning. (“Yes, and out loud” though try not to wake your roommate.) Why shout? Because when you ruminate you shout your short-comings in your head. Shouting values is a commitment to eliminate the inside crud.
Relationships: I think that everyone needs 3 intimate friends, 12 closer friends and 70 associative friendships. Intimate friends are people you turn to without thought or worry. Closer friends join you for dinner and drinks and may well have your best at heart. Associative friendships are people you know to talk to and high-5 but not necessarily much more. If you don’t have friends, start with the associative ones. Join a woodworking club and build birdhouses. How about Toastmasters and make a few speeches? Maybe those senior walkers — the funny old people (like me) who stride off with a walking stick or 2, a flagon of tea, a Tilley hat and a backpack to hike the hills of Horseshoe Bay. It is about being friends, not about style.
Doing yourself a FAVR is about mental wellbeing and social health.