A 7 step guide to being your own best friend

Written by Varouna Baroud on Friday, 22 September 2017. Posted in Self development

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A guide to being your own best friend

Over the years the abundance of evidence for the importance of friendship in our lives has me led me to a core belief: We would all benefit from treating ourselves as our own best friend.

If friendship has such a major positive effect on our overall well-being, imagine the benefits of having your best friend with you all the time. Or vice versa, if since you are with yourself all the time, wouldn’t it be best to make the most out of it?

The other day I came across the research of dr. Christopher P. Roberts-Griffin, who did a qualitative study into the desired qualities in friends.

https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=mcnair_scholars 

In all fairness, I don’t usually read scientific papers in my spare time, I only found it after a Hubspot post on “20 ways to discover if you have a best friend” sparked my interest.

Anyway, these articles triggered me to explore how I can use the qualities we most appreciate in others, to be a better friend to myself.

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  1. Trust

Trust is defined as confidence in a person. Built up by experiences where we put our vulnerability on the line without it being betrayed. Trust in yourself is built in the same way, by showing up when you set out do something. 

If I set a goal for myself to work out 3 times a week but I don’t go or I promise myself to quit my job but I end up staying for years more, what does that tell me? I can’t trust myself! That undermines self-esteem and trust in general in a major way. If you can't rely on yourself, who can you trust? To gain confidence it is important to keep the promises I make to myself to know I can depend on myself to have control over creating the life I want. 

 

  1. Compassion.

I couldn’t imagine a friend that told me that I am not worth it, I’m good enough or shaming me after a failure.

So why should I tolerate such language from myself? Being my own best friend means talking to myself with kindness and compassion. Complimenting myself for accomplishments. Being forgiving instead of judgmental and react with support instead of abdication, are in addition a better motivation for growth.

  1. Humor

Who do I call after I embarrassed myself running into my ex and his new partner or had a rough day at the office? A friend that wipes away my tears by making me laugh. Jokes have their way of putting things in perspective.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all could be a little less serious about ourselves? Being able to laugh at yourself not only cheers you up, it can be a sign of self-esteem and maturity. It shows I acknowledge that doing something stupid is not the same as being stupid.

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     4. Respect

Real friends respect my boundaries. So should I. If I am clear on what my Core Values are, I need to live by them. That means being aware of my personal boundaries and limitations. Not only by taking precautionaries to protect them but also respond appropriately when they are being crossed and not allow let others overstep.

    5. Authenticity

I feel most comfortable around people that are genuine and straightforward. Folks with a “tell you like it is” mentality.

What if I could look at myself in that same frank manner, instead of masking my insecurities and telling myself stories to not face my weak spots? Wouldn’t that help overcome the roadblocks in life a lot faster and makes me a stronger person in the process?

    6. Thoughtful listener

My best friend has the ability (and patience) to listen to me rambling on for hours and then manages to pinpoint exactly what I really need.  I love her for that.

Yet I spent years drowning my inner voice out because it inconvenienced me. I think we all do that at some point in our lives. I can’t afford to listen to my needs because I need my body and soul to last the rest of my life and means being sensitive and attentive to the essence of the signals they give me.

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    7. Acceptance

 I love being with my friends because they love me for who I am.

And so should I. Why would I feel the need to pretend to be someone I am not? I need to own who I am. Appreciate the weird, awkward, impulsive, nerdy, self. All that amounts to being me. Why hide from yourself and wait for someone to come to find you. Instead, find yourself and you will never feel alone.

Every friendship requires work. So does befriending yourself. It even takes more work, because for many it is a new skill: You need to get to know yourself, for better and for worse and then maintaining a positive relationship through all life’s hardship. That’s not easy but what you get back is everlasting support.

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