Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket is my favorite idiom to use in a therapy session. Yet, I have no idea where it came from. I decided to take a moment to figure out where it originated. I knew my parents couldn’t have come up with it on their own, even though my father was raised on a farm. It first appeared in Don Quixote where he says “it is the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow and not venture all of his eggs in one basket”. He established that this is a wise concept for all to have a good balance to our eggs. The website, theidioms.com, points out that this idiom “shields oneself from situations of crisis”. If you concentrate all of your efforts and resources in one area you could lose everything. So, not only are you a wise person, but you also are saving yourself from a crisis when heeding to this idiom.
I use this in a session when talking about preserving a person’s self-esteem. We need to make sure that we don’t put all of our eggs in one friend basket, such as work friends or school friends. If there are problems with this social group, we then tend to start to believe negative thoughts about ourselves. This can lead to depression or anxiety. This is especially seen in the teen population. They put all of their friend eggs into their school group. When there is a problem in this friend group or they are pushed out of the friend group, or can’t find a friend group to join, their self-esteem takes a significant loss. I advise people to have multiple friend groups, so when one friend group is having difficulty there is another friend group to remind you about the positive things you have to offer. I sit with teenagers and their parents to identify different friend groups for them to join so that the teen doesn’t have to just rely on school friends. My older son had friend groups at school, church, swim team, scouts, and a community youth group. When he tore his ACL and wasn’t able to attend the swim team and access that friend group anymore, he had other friend groups to rely on. The other friend groups reminded him that he is a funny guy, who is fun to be with. This concept also goes for adults. We can’t put all of our friend eggs in the work basket. We need to spread them out to help maintain our self-esteem.
Take a moment to think about all of your friend baskets. Take a moment to evaluate your friend situation. Do you have enough? Could you use a couple more? Where could you get a new friend basket? Enjoy exploring and mingling with your friend groups. Friends are important for our self-esteem.