Ok, so let’s talk about this being your own best friend thing.
You may be wondering, be my own best friend? Lorna, what does that even mean? Where do I start?
For me, it started with a depressing realization. Last week, I talked about happiness being an inside job.
What quickly followed that life altering paradigm was the understanding that searching outside myself for love, value, appreciation and validation simply doesn’t work.
I knew this because I had tried my whole life to find love and worthiness from other people, material goods and achievements—always to be left wanting.
People would let me down, not love me enough or not love me in the way that I wanted them to. I was always disappointed.
Material goods were fun for a little while and then whatever it was became common place in my life, I took it for granted and then started desiring a new toy.
Achievements, money and job titles just led me to wanting more. I could enjoy the win for a bit, but inevitably I didn’t get the attention or validation that I thought I would, so I would raise the bar again and start moving toward another goal.
It left me incessantly feeling not good enough and thus reaching higher and higher.
Once I learned about happiness coming from within and then recognized this pattern of more, bigger, better, it became clear that I had been desperately trying to fulfill my need for love and worthiness in a way that was never, ever going to give it to me.
So, while the futility of my efforts was somewhat depressing, it gave me the willingness to try this be your own best friend thing.
If the other was never going to work, what did I have to lose?
The very first thing I tackled was my inner self talk.
Have you ever paid attention to the way you speak to yourself?
I don’t know about yours, but that voice inside my head was demanding, harsh and relentless.
I was stupid, an idiot, a moron, I didn’t know anything, wasn’t ever good enough, didn’t do enough, was a pig and never wore the right thing.
Geez. Is it any wonder I was constantly looking for others to validate me? Look how I was treating myself!
I was certainly not best friend material.
What I realized is that everyone, including me, is worthy of love, care and attention and I actually needed to give it to myself before anyone else would.
So I started being kinder to myself. I started hushing that voice in my head and giving myself a break when I made a mistake. I started calling myself silly in place of those harsher names.
Instead of only the bad stuff, I began focusing on some positives; ways that I was kind to others, looked ok and actually did know some things.
Suddenly it was a hell of a lot easier to be with myself. The task master was gone and I felt a lot more comfortable in my skin.
Phew! I was becoming a much better friend.
The next biggie for me was acceptance.
What did I need to accept?
I needed to accept and appreciate every little thing about myself. The good wonderful things, the not so nice things and the deeply shameful things.
I do this exercise with my group classes and it’s always a toss up as to which part is more difficult.
There are many women who shy away as much from their accomplishments as from their darkness.
Think about where that leaves a person.
If you can’t take credit for what you do best or bravely face your demons, you are unable to own any part of who you are.
Is it any wonder that people aren’t in touch with their real selves?
Anyway. I set about accepting it all.
Here’s what I learned.
Accepting the wonderful things about yourself is important because those are the things that either light you up in life or allow you to be in service to others.
If you don’t fully own the good, you can be taking joy away from yourself or aid away from the world. Why would you do that?
Accepting things you are ashamed of takes away its power over you.
When you admit to yourself that you regret a behavior or an action, it becomes easy to admit it to others, so you don’t need to be constantly defending yourself against it.
I have always been terrified of being called a bad mom. When I could accept that I am a wonderful mom sometimes and a terrible mom other times, it allowed me to stop worrying about accusations that might come my way.
I have always done the best I could—sometimes its been great and sometimes….well, not so much. But I’m human and it all came from a place of love. Now it cannot be used as a weapon against me because I own all of it.
Ok, I was really moving towards the same compassion and understanding that I give my best friend.
As all of these changes began to improve my life, more things started happening.
It was easier to maintain my boundaries and say no without guilt.
It was easier to eat well and get more sleep.
I had more confidence in my decisions and started trusting my intuition.
My life long perfectionist tendencies went right out the window.
It felt natural to slow down and not be busy, busy, busy all the time.
Being kinder to myself and accepting the good, the bad and the ugly allowed me to feel ok being me.
I was no longer trying to prove myself.
I didn’t need to cower in front of that awful voice in my head anymore.
I didn’t have to protect myself from people accusing me of things.
I could be who I was, no excuses.
What a relief.
Because I now treat myself the way I always wanted to be treated, I am no longer disappointed or left wanting by others.
And, oddly, because I am not expecting it from them anymore, I actually get showered with love and validation now.
Isn’t that crazy? Once I gave it to myself, then I got what I had wanted all along.
The other shocking side effect of this shift is that I actually have more to give others than I ever did.
Before I was giving from an empty tank. I wasn’t taking care of myself and I was giving in the hopes of getting something in return.
Now I give from a true place of wanting to and I have so much more bandwidth to be there for others.
So, becoming my own best friend has ended up being a win-win. It’s much better for me and those that I love. How cool is that?
If you want some help with becoming your own best friend, hit contact in the upper right corner of this page to set up a free Discovery Call.
If what you’ve done up until now hasn’t worked, why not give this a try?
This is the third in a series of nine articles. In the first, I set forth the 8 underlying principals of my coaching philosophy. For the rest of the summer, I will be sussing out each point individually. You can read the previous articles here:
In order to change your life, you must first change your mind.