How many times have you heard the expression "be your own best friend?" I've heard it too many times to count and usually the response that came to mind was... "yeah, yeah, yeah, of course I'm my own best friend." But the truth was, I didn't really know what it meant to 'be my own best friend.'
When I finally thought about it, I realized that I didn't have a great relationship with my Self. I didn't practice Self-love every day. If anything, taking care of my Self was more of a chore — a necessity in order to have the energy I needed to care for others and to take care of the 'business' of life.
If this sounds familiar, keep reading. I've got a few tips that can help you find your true BFF.
STEP 1: Introduce Yourself
We talk to ourselves in our heads all the time, usually to chastise ourselves for our thoughts, behaviors and habits or sometimes to make us feel better by judging someone else. But the first step in becoming your own best friend is to start talking Out Loud.
Say "hello" to yourself in the mirror. Ask your Self how she/he is doing today. If your Self answers "not very well," then respond with kind words of encouragement as you would to a friend you bumped into on the street. Include your Self in on events of the day such as, "I'm really looking forward to going to the mall today. We're going to have so much fun!"
Having conversations Out Loud with your Self has a way of psychologically turning down the auto-pilot of your negative inner voice and boosting the connection with the conscious-mindful-divine Self that is there to serve you and help you live your life to the fullest.
STEP 2: Baby Yourself
This isn't just cosmetics or hygiene we're talking about. It's more like re-parenting (which will be the topic of a future blog). Essentially, it means that you do things to care for your Self as you would a baby or toddler. It's about physically caring for your Inner Child. We all have one and whether we hear it or not, it is crying out for attention.
So imagine for a moment that your Self is an infant and you are the parent. What will you choose to feed your child for breakfast? A banana? Oatmeal? A cold slice of pizza? And what about play time? Will you allow your child some time to get up and dance? Take a walk out in nature? Or will you admonish her/him to finish the dishes and do the laundry?
As an adult, we are obliged to greater responsibilities. The 'business' of life needs attention. But only when we make room for our child-self to experience the joy and magic of life do we realize how joyful and magical life can be (at any age).
So go take a bubble bath, chew some bubble gum or blow bubbles out on the front lawn. Be good to your inner-child.
STEP 3: Be a Shoulder to Cry On (or complain to)
The first time I truly experienced being my own best friend was when someone at my workplace became offensive to me and some fellow colleagues. Rather than shoot my mouth off (which I really wanted to do) or go back to my desk and cry (which I almost did), I went to the bathroom, looked at my Self in the mirror and said out loud, "Can you believe that guy? Did you get a load of what he was saying to us? How did we restrain ourselves from giving him a piece of our mind...or kicking 'em where the sun don't shine?"
As soon as I heard myself, I started to laugh. And I saw my Self laughing along with me in the mirror. After we both simmered down, I said, "Girlfriend, what do you say we get out of here?"
Sounds crazy, I know. But it was that simple. In that moment, I had truly become my own best friend. For the first time, it felt like 'someone' was on my side and because of that, I was able to laugh off an upsetting event that would usually have taken days to move past.
In that mirror I saw my Self as a separate being, one that had been programmed with self-doubt and criticism... one who had wounds that needed healing and fears that needed to be eased. And I knew this was my chance to care for her, to be her friend and to help her overcome all that stood in her way of being her best Self.
Back when I was cracking myself up in the mirror and becoming my own BFF, I didn't know there was a formal self-development program called Mirror Work, created by the late, great Louise Hay. You can learn more about it here.
And if you have any comments, BFF tips or stories to share, I'd love to hear them. Feel free to post on my Facebook page.
Jeannette is the author of the novel "Diary of a Teenage Empath" and two HSP/Empath workbooks for children & teens. She is an Integrative Health Coach who, with her mentor Dr. Wendy Nickerson, launched the first-ever accredited HSP training program for mental health professionals. She leads an HSP community group in Halifax and advocates for HSPs in the mental health community.
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