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  • Resilient Practice

How to Befriend Yourself


“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


We recently wrote about the power that friendship holds within our lives The Power of Friendship


What do you get from spending time with your best friend? Do they provide a good listening service? Can you unpack your difficulties with them? Do they celebrate your triumphs? Do they provide you with truth with integrity? Do they offer empowerment? Do they bolster you? Are you nourished by spending time in their company? Does the relationship energise you?


What if you could feel the benefit of all those ministration without the presence of another?


We have written many times about the reason for our human tendency to speak negatively towards the Self. In short, we are born with a hard-wired drive towards survival and to a child, rejection and abandonment is synonymous with death. Consequently, we live our lives with the desire to fit in and be accepted at the root of most or our cognitive behavioural cycles (thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.) The principal of these emotions is fear - fear of not being liked or fear not being good enough. In other words, fear of being cast out or abandoned often drives our negative cognitive behavioural cycles. This is the place from which negative self-talk originates. If we are ruthlessly hard on the Self in all areas of life, we will emulate the person in the ‘tribe’ from which we have most to fear – the person who may have us rejected. If we are harsher on ourselves that everyone that we know would be – we are far less likely to incur disapproval and our place within our community is secure. We are safe from abandonment.


What do you say to yourself every day?


What do you need to hear every day?


The answers to the above question are very rarely aligned for us. The answer to the first question might detail the negative self-talk that we subject ourselves to in the quest for our survival. The answer to the second question might bear more relation to those things that we get from a best friend.


We asked:

What if you could feel the benefit of all those ministration without the presence of another?


You can. You can adopt the role of Best Friend and faithful consort for yourself throughout your own life. After all, you are the only one that you will never lose. It is you alone who has everything to gain from seeing your own vital spirit through this life intact and all the better for knowledge, wisdom and healed wounds. You owe that to yourself, and you are worthy!


It is time to bestow upon yourself the gift of friendship


Try this:

Spend a few moments in quiet contemplation of the friendships that you most enjoy. Include every one that comes to mind. Each relationship is unique, and each will add something of its own to the process.


Make a comprehensive list of all the qualities that you value in a close friendship. When we strive to be a good friend, we offer up those things that we ourselves value, so remember to include qualities that you know are also strong within you.


Here are some of ours:

Loyalty, trust, confidentiality, empowerment, advocacy, generosity, humour, candour, challenge, companionship, listening without judging, offering advice, rescue, protection, positivity, nurture, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, support, truth, and empathy. Draw from the list of friendships you have made and compile your own list.


Cultivate the habit of invoking the Best Friend within you for yourself. This means stepping into the shoes of that part of you which is capable of being just the kind of friend that you need.


Throughout life, we are sure that you have provided this service for others. What you may not realise is that, when we assume the role of friend for someone else, we are often projecting our own needs onto them. By this we mean that, since it is not possible to see someone else’s unique view of the world, we make assumptions as to what they need based on what we would need if we were in their position.


This means that we are already practised at providing that which we ourselves need.


Remember that we said that no-one is better placed, knows your needs more fully or has more to gain by providing this for you than you.


Now, make a list of the things that you tell yourself every day. This might present as criticism. It might be an affirmation of lack of self-worth backed up with evidence that you have produced through distorted thinking. What does your internal narrative sound like? What story are you telling yourself? Read this article for help here: How to Challenge Distorted Thinking


Cultivate the habit of stepping into the shoes of your Observer Self and noticing when you engage in negative self-talk.


Let it be like the ringing of a little bell!


Now thank yourself for noticing and step into the shoes of your Best Friend Self. Embodying those characteristics that you described above, allow that part of you to analyse the thought. Let the Best Friend part of you advocate for you throughout the process.


Here are some questions you might ask:

Is it true?

What is the evidence for it?

Is it kind?

Does it help?

Does it empower or is it self-deprecating?

Is it important or could your energy be used for something more nourishing?

Does it energise you or drain you?

Does it impose limitations or does it open doors?


Now, with the help of your new mindset, rewrite the story that you tell yourself so that there is truth and integrity in terms of your own personal growth.


The Best Friend part of you will hold to account the self-deprecating part of you that seeks survival and challenge it with kindness in the way that best friends do.


Make an agreement with yourself to become your own best friend, your champion you are your advocate in all situations.


Remember that you are the one who is there for you from the very beginning right up until the very end – ever present in all things.


Become a constant supportive force for your own wellbeing and thrive, always!


For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your

human experience see our book:

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1 Comment


therabbi
therabbi
Jan 14, 2023

If we're going to be our own best friend, it will demand we take a zero tolerance approach to any negativity that tries to have its way with us, thereby "filling up" with good chemicals only. The alternative is to entertain the "junk," opening our self to receiving bad chemicals and miss out on achieving the best version of our self! There are no other choices!

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