Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when someone asked who your best friend was you could say yourself? If you treated yourself the same way that you treated those you care about the most, life might be very different. If you gave yourself the same consideration, the same understanding, the same compassion and the same love that you give to so many others, what would that be like? If your self-talk (the way you talk to yourself inside your head) was as kind and considerate as the way you speak to loved ones. Though it is probably not something many of us have seen or experienced for ourselves it is absolutely possible, and I can help you figure out how to become your own best friend.
To become your own best friend you have to really get to know yourself. You need to listen to yourself and respond in a loving way. It will also require that you accept yourself as you are, that means accepting your emotions, thoughts, wants, needs, and behaviors. This is not the same as being okay with everything that you do. It is accepting that you are doing your best and setting goals to bring about positive change if you do not like something that you are doing. It also means taking good care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Allowing yourself time and space to heal, to forgive, to dream, and to work towards the things that you want in life.
So many people do not really know who they are. They spend a lot of time avoiding themselves, as difficult or funny as that sounds. We avoid ourselves by overscheduling, staying too busy, surrounding ourselves with others, being too absorbed in others lives or problems, using substances, or keeping ourselves distracted in some other way. Did any of that sound familiar? Often we do that when we are not comfortable with who we are, feel upset/ashamed with ourselves, or are afraid of what we might find if we look too closely. I will tell you a secret though… I promise that you are not perfect and that once you start looking you will find some uncomfortable things: some skeletons, some warts, some cobwebs. Finding all those things will give you the opportunity to forgive, accept, and show compassion and understanding to yourself.
1. Spending Time with Yourself
The first step is to begin spending time with yourself. This means time alone and preferably in silence or with minimal or soothing background noise (instrumental music, nature sounds, white noise, binaural beats, etc). This is how you will begin to notice how you feel, what you think, and what your beliefs/wants/needs are. You do not have to sit in silence doing nothing if you do not want to, although meditating is a great way to get to know yourself. You could walk, hike, watch the world around you, do something creative, involve your senses, pamper yourself, etc. Remember the goal is to start to spend quality time with yourself.
2. Listen To Yourself
The second step is to listen. Listening is really important in any relationship including the relationship that you have with yourself. Too often we are dismissive of the messages and information that we are sending to ourselves. This may be in the form of physical messages such as tiredness, fatigue, hunger, thirst, pain, muscle tension, etc. It could be emotional messages through feelings, breakdowns, stress or being overwhelmed. It could also be mental messages through your thoughts whether positive or negative, beliefs, or even judgments.
By paying attention to your body, mind, and emotions you can begin to listen to yourself and find out more about yourself, learning more about who you truly are and what you want, what you are afraid of, what your dreams and goals are. You can learn what is behind the thoughts and feelings. By listening with understanding and compassion as well as validating what you are learning you can build trust with yourself. This begins to create a safe space within yourself and you become more comfortable sharing harder truths and uncovering more about yourself.
You will learn more about how you communicate. Learning how to interpret the emotions you feel, what they are trying to communicate to you and ways that you can respond. Tuning into your thoughts you will learn how to slow them down to a manageable pace, listen to yourself without judgment, and begin to incorporate what you learn into the choices you are making and how you respond and react to the world around you.
The more you listen the more you will hear your inner voice, the one that contains your intuition, insight, and memories. It will speak to you through your dreams and daydreams as well as through emotions, thoughts, and your body. It often speaks in metaphor and is waiting for you to start to listen so that it can share more with you. The more you listen and act on the information that you hear the more it will share.
3. Learn How To Treat Yourself With Kindness
The third step, is to learn how to treat and speak to yourself with kindness. In order to become your own best friend you will need to begin to talk to yourself as you would your favorite person. This means talking to yourself in a loving, understanding and forgiving way. It means practicing acceptance of yourself and who you are at the present time, warts and all. It also means treating yourself in a loving way by taking time for self-care, to relax, and to take care of yourself and your needs.
4. Develop Understanding and Compassion for Yourself
Once you have started to listen to yourself and work on non-judgment and developing compassion for yourself then your trust develops more and more. Next, the fourth step, is to become more understanding and gentler with yourself, just as you are with friends. You will start to adjust your expectations, trusting yourself to guide you through your inner communication until you find right where you are at with you capabilities. You will begin to trust that you are doing your best at all times. This will allow you to find a kinder way to talk to yourself and address any shortcomings.
5. Heal and Forgive Yourself
When you have developed positive and healthy self-talk then you can begin to heal yourself from the past. Step 5, healing and forgiving yourself, is done by processing and releasing emotions you are holding onto. Forgiving yourself and others for wrongs and slights, things undone or done in anger. You can even talk to your body to gain insight into ailments and work with yourself to heal physical and emotional ailments and wounds.
At this point you will be able to say that you are your own best friend. You will enjoy spending time with yourself and even begin to protect time for yourself rather because it will be so rewarding. You will be listening, communicating, and treating yourself with kindness. This will include not only taking care of your basic needs but also making time for resting, relaxing, recharging, and fun. You may even be able to develop a deep sense of appreciation for who you are and what you are doing with your life.
So the five steps are:
Spend time with yourself
Listen and communicate with yourself
Learn how to treat yourself with kindness
Develop understanding and compassion for yourself
Heal and forgive yourself