Showing Up For Yourself (and Why it’s Hard)

Can We Learn to be Better Friends to Ourselves?

Brandon Tumblin
6 min readJan 26


Photo by Chela B. on Unsplash

The idea of showing up for yourself is a bit odd; how could you not show up for yourself? You are you, after all! However, we all fall short of showing up for ourselves. It doesn’t simply mean that we are physically present; surely, we have no choice. Like many philosophical ideas, perhaps it’s best to think of it as being a friend to ourselves, as Seneca would encourage us to do. But what does this really mean?

Showing Up For Others

Hopefully, you have a friend or two. You at least have or had parents, though this doesn’t always translate to a friend, mother, or father. The point is: if you’ve ever had a close relationship with someone you genuinely cared about, I’m sure you know what it means to show up for them.

Lend Them an Egg!

If they are moving, if they need to talk about something, if they need to borrow an egg, what’s the right response as a friend? The answer is obvious; the right thing to do is help them move, listen to them, and lend them an egg.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

What label can we put on all of those examples? It’s “work”. Moving takes time and energy. Listening takes time and energy. Lending someone an egg — though tiny — requires resources that required you to expend time and energy.

Relationships Require Work (and That’s Not Bad)

It may sound cynical to think about external relationships as such, but they all require work. Romantic relationships certainly do, as do all other relationships. Of course, work doesn’t necessarily mean bad or unpleasant. There’s a notion in the west that work is that which you do not want to do; that is simply a terrible definition.

There’s the line “if you love your job, then you’ll never work a day in your life”. What that means is that if you love your job, work doesn’t feel like work. But it is work. It’s just that some modes of being are so meaningful that it transcends what it actually is.



Brandon Tumblin

Host of The Strong Stoic Podcast