The most important and longest lasting relationship you’ll ever have, is the relationship you have with yourself. If this relationship is out of balance nothing in your life can be in balance. Self-love and self-acceptance pave the way to stronger relationships with others and a greater acceptance of the world around us.
Recognizing and appreciating that you are unique in this world, and you are who you are because of all the choices you’ve made up until now, is the first step in true self-awareness and becoming your own best friend.
In the age of smart phones and social media, we tend to become our online Avatars. Selfies and smiles fill Facebook and Instagram streams; it’s easy to get caught up in living vicariously through others. After 5 minutes on Fb I’m asking myself, “Why am I not packing for my next adventure, spending a month in a Thai forest learning to be a Yoga instructor or perfecting my meditation practice in an Ashram in India?”…then I realize, it’s because I CHOOSE not to be doing those things…and click off FB.
Separating your true self from that person, that avatar, you feel the need to present to the world, (because who you really are isn’t good enough), becomes more and more difficult. A greater sense of self-awareness makes space for greater self-acceptance. Appreciating you for who you truly are, recognizing what motivates you as well as what stops you brings a deeper feeling of self respect and self confidence.
To begin the self-awareness process, list 3 good things about you, 3 qualities you like in yourself. Once you’ve done that, write down 3 qualities you’re not too crazy about; be as honest as possible.
Do you tend to focus more on the good or the not so good qualities when engaging in self-talk?
Self-talk is a great way to improve your relationship with you. As cliché as it may be, setting aside time in your day, even 5 minutes will do, to say nice things to yourself has been proven incredibly effective in developing an improved self image, e.g. “I am enough”, “I treat myself well”, “I am perfect in this moment”.
I often ask clients to answer these questions, “Who am I?” Paying attention to the honest and sometimes brutal, answers open the door to introspection. An exercise to get you to the answers more quickly is to look at yourself in a mirror, directly into your own eyes, and ask the question, “Who am I?” This can be a bit difficult at first, stay at it, pay attention to all of the thoughts that come, this is your subconscious, or higher self, answering.
Think about the people who have been your “Best” friends over the years. Has there been one particular Bestie throughout your life, a true BFF, or have there been many? What have these people had in common? What was it that made or makes them best friend material? Could you trust them, did they encourage you, did they make you laugh? What have they seen in you? What makes you best friend material? Go back to the 2 lists you made earlier of the qualities you recognize in yourself that are good, and not so good. Do the 3 good qualities match those you look for in a friend?
Learning to enjoy your own company is one of the surest ways to cement your self-friendship. Start slow, pick 2 things you enjoy doing with friends, and do them on your own. Go to a movie, shopping, or have lunch at your favorite restaurant, its completely up to you, how cool is that. Doing things you enjoy alone, realizing how nice it is to consider only your feelings and wants, putting you first, serve to strengthen your self-image and self-worth.
Cultivating a self-friendship may seem a bit awkward at first, and may take some time and effort. However once you understand that you are the quintessential expert on you, that there is no one else out there who knows your greatest needs, deepest desires, extreme fears, and biggest dreams better than you, you’ll begin to look within for support, comfort, and especially advice. Once this happens, you have truly become your own best friend.
A few tips on making friends with you:
- Learn to love your own company
- Learn to be ok alone
- Understand your needs
- Focus on you
- Be honest and open
- Be kind
- Be forgiving
- Be loving