Why is it so much easier to be kind to other people while at times we treat ourselves as our worst enemy? Why do we treat ourselves with contempt, wallowing in feelings of guilt after even a small mistake or slip-up? Why do we find it so difficult to forgive ourselves when we have been unkind or failed to live up to our own, often unrealistic expectations? Have you ever considered that if we talked to our friends the way we talk to ourselves, we probably wouldn't have any?
10 STEPS TO BECOMING YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND:
1. Become Aware of Your Self-Talk
Are you constantly putting yourself down, criticizing yourself, even calling yourself names like "stupid" or "loser"? The first step in any process of change is awareness. Your self-talk can be so habitual and ingrained that you are not even conscious of what you are doing. So slow down, pay attention to what is going on inside your head on a day-to-day basis, and take note of how you talk to yourself.
2. Accept Your Flaws and Weaknesses
Be completely honest with yourself and acknowledge, that just like everybody else, you are not perfect. We all have areas in which we can grow stronger, smarter and wiser. This does not mean that you are a failure. You are not worse or better than anyone else. If you are cognizant of your weak spots, you will not take it so personally if they are pointed out by someone else.
3. Acknowledge and Be Proud of Your Good Qualities
It is not vain or narcissistic to admit that you are good at certain things. You have every right to be proud of your accomplishments and achievements. Don't be afraid to blow your own horn when it is warranted. Don't be afraid to praise or compliment yourself.
4. Learn to Know Yourself - Be Self-Aware
Doing personality assessments such as the Meyers Briggs or the Enneagram are excellent ways to find out more about who you are. To find out what your character strengths are you can go to VIA Character Strengths.com. It helps you to understand yourself and to know what makes you tick and what pushes your buttons. It helps with boundary-setting.
5. Focus on What Makes You Unique
There are no 2 people on this planet who are exactly the same. Each person has their own unique way of interacting with the world. It is your uniqueness that makes you so special and irreplaceable. Value and celebrate your uniqueness. Be the person that only you can be.
6. Learn to Spend Quality Time with Yourself
Are you afraid of being alone? If you are always with groups of people or friends, how can you ever get to know your own self? Find ways of engaging in a hobby, exercise or relaxing activity where you lose yourself in time and space. Seek out solitude. Thís is much more difficult if you are an extrovert and rely on being around others to get your energy, but with practice, you will learn to like your own company.
7. Learn How to Comfort Yourself
Have you learned how to soothe yourself when going through a difficult time? At a very early age, babies learn how to self-soothe by sucking their thumbs, so perhaps we need to connect with our inner child to help us find a way. There are many ways that you can calm yourself: a hot bubble bath, listening to calming music, lighting incense or a scented candle.
8. Learn to Laugh at Yourself
Have a sense of humor, don't take yourself so seriously. Life is short, so don't be afraid of taking every opportunity to laugh. Being able to laugh at yourself will make it very difficult for others to put you down.
9. Listen to Your Body
Know when you are tired. Slow down and give your body the rest it needs. When you are stressed, find ways to set boundaries and say "No" to unwanted demands. Take care of yourself the way you would care for a small child or pet.
10. Forgive Yourself
Stop living with past regrets and treat yourself with compassion and understanding. Go easy on yourself.
Self-forgiveness will be the theme of my next blog post in February, so stay tuned.
Learning to be your own best friend can be the greatest thing you can do for your happiness. Life is hard. Often friends come and go, relationships start and end, but you are always going to be around for yourself. Why not cultivate your own friendship, learning to love yourself unconditionally and unapologetically?