Last week I shared a questionnaire to help us explore what kind of friends we are to ourselves. Because it’s important to start with yourself.
It’s important to build a positive, meaningful relationship with the person who’s always with you.
A friendship with yourself is the foundation for all your other relationships — and it just feels good. It feels good to know that we can count on ourselves anytime.
A meaningful friendship with ourselves also leads to an honest, fulfilling, fun, fascinating life.
Today, I wanted to share the many ways we can build this vital friendship. I’m sharing this not from the perspective of someone who’s a super best friend to herself. I’m sharing this from the perspective of a woman who’s trying and learning and trying, again.
- Take care of your basic needs, such as getting enough sleep and having enough to eat.
- Ask yourself what you need and want first before asking the feedback of others. This helps you better understand yourself and develop self-trust.
- Celebrate your successes. Celebrate any time you’ve learned from a mistake or have overcome a challenge. Celebrate the small stuff. Celebrate checking off an item from your to-do list, which was really, really a pain to perform. Celebrate by doing something fun or acknowledging that you’ve worked hard. Celebrate by smiling at yourself in the mirror.
- Take yourself out on dates. Take yourself to your favorite places. Maybe that’s a bookstore, a new exhibit at a local museum, a funny film, a delicious lunch. Go out, and enjoy your own company.
- Listen to yourself. Listen closely for any tension in your body, for needs that have gone unmet. (For example, eat something when you feel the hints of hunger. Take a break when you feel exhaustion envelope your limbs.) Be present, in the here and now. Keep asking yourself “Why” so you can dig deeper.
- Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for making mistakes. Forgive yourself for trusting the wrong people. Forgive yourself for failing that test or for not achieving the things you thought you should. (This piece has practical suggestions for forgiving yourself.)
- Be interested in yourself. Be curious about your likes, dislikes, preferences and passions. Explore what you love. Find out what makes you tick.
- Be respectful of your limits. Figure out your boundaries. What is part of your ethical code? What isn’t? What are you willing to say yes to? What aren’t you willing to do? What honors your body and yourself? What doesn’t?
- Be there. Be there for yourself during tough times. (It’s what real friends do.) Be there to feel your feelings. To express them. To cheer yourself up. Be kind. Give comfort. If it helps, wrap your arms around you, and say, “It’ll be OK. You will be OK.” (I also love the phrase: “This, too, shall pass.”)
- Treat yourself. Treat yourself to fresh flowers in your home, a new body wash, a cup of coffee at your favorite spot.
- Be honest with yourself. What’s on your mind? What’s keeping you up at night? How can you use these thoughts and feelings to stay true to yourself? To build relationships with others?
- Prioritize your health and well-being. Get regular checkups. Make an appointment with a therapist if there are certain things you’d like to work on. Choose providers that you trust and treat you with respect.
- Have fun. Make time to play and relax. Make time to hang out with people you love. Sing in the shower. Bust out random dance moves, in random places. Take spontaneous trips. Whatever is silly or fun or exciting for you, do it.
How are you building a friendship with yourself?