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Consult a counselor to help you improve the relationship you have with yourself. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.
To be your own best friend is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Life is hard. Friends come and go. Relationships will start and end. But the one thing that is consistent through everything else is you will spend your life with yourself.
You are the one who will be present throughout the good times and the bad. Other people will certainly play a role, but they can’t be there all the time.
Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to develop a healthy friendship with yourself? After all, you don’t need that person mucking about in your brain, messing things up. Right?
The process of developing and growing a friendship with yourself is something that you’ll need to work at regularly, particularly if you don’t have a great opinion of yourself to begin with. Be patient and kind with yourself as you continue to work at it.
The following tips will help you achieve that goal. However, suppose you don’t have a good relationship with yourself or struggle to socialize and make friends. In that case, you may want to consider talking to a counselor to sort out the problem. Trauma can easily disrupt your relationship with yourself, particularly if it’s not healed or resolved.
10 Ways To Be Your Own Best Friend
1. Journal to keep track of your progress.
A journal is a powerful tool for self-improvement. It will help you tremendously as you work to improve your relationship with yourself. In it, you can record your goals, what steps you’re taking toward them, how you feel about them, and how you feel about yourself.
You can also include encouragement and positive notes to help bolster you when you feel like you’re faltering.
Another great thing about keeping a journal is that it’s much easier to track your progress. You’ll be able to look back and see how you’re growing, what you’ve done to improve, and have a record of what works and what doesn’t. This helps you tailor your future efforts so that they continue to be effective in growing the friendship you have with yourself.
2. Work to develop your self-awareness.
Self-awareness is an essential part of being a better friend to yourself. You need to understand your strengths so that you can leverage them to improve and propel yourself forward. And you need to understand your flaws so that you can accommodate them or find ways to work around them.
There are many different ways to develop self-awareness, well outside the scope of this article, but we’re going to give you a solid way to start.
Look at the things you like and dislike, and answer the question, “Why?” Answering the why behind these likes and dislikes will inform you of why you are making some of the choices you do. Once you’ve identified that core information, you can then use it to find other things you will like and dislike.
Apply “Why?” to every aspect of your life. Why did you choose the career you’re in? Why do you love your hobby? Why do you dislike rainy days? Ask “why?” and keep pulling yourself apart until you get to the core of it all.
Hint: This is a great subject for your journal!
3. Compliment yourself regularly.
What can you compliment yourself on regularly? There is likely to be something in your life that you do well that deserves a compliment. It doesn’t have to be amazing to deserve praise. Sometimes the mere act of survival in the face of whatever hardships you face is worthy of praise. Just choosing to get out of bed and try again is a powerful thing when life has been kicking you around for a while, or you’re not in a good mental space.
The purpose of complimenting is to help shift your mindset. It can be far easier to dwell on the negatives of ourselves – what we wish we were, who we think we should be. And then you have other people who are happy to tell you how much you suck or take their frustrations out on you.
To be your own best friend, you have to work to counter that. Talk to yourself as you’d talk to a best friend who is another person. Would you trash them or tear them down? Would you dismiss their accomplishments or undermine their successes? No! And you shouldn’t do it to yourself either, even if you don’t feel you are worthy or deserving of it.
4. Spend quality time with yourself doing a hobby.
Modern culture is all about productivity, hustle, and stress. So take some time to develop a solo hobby that isn’t about being productive. Or if it is productive, something that isn’t tied to finding a way to make more money.
Some quality time by yourself immersed in a hobby gives you time to focus, reflect, and clear your mind.
Create something! Even if you don’t feel like you’re an artistic person. Some doodling or casual writing can be a great way to jog things out of your mind.
You may also try fishing, hiking, walking, cycling, or gardening if that’s more your thing.
5. Find a way to exercise that works for you.
Taking care of your physical health goes a long way toward preserving and improving your mental health. You can take pride in a job well done after a good session of exercise.
What is the best exercise? The one that you are most likely to do!
So many people look at exercise as this unpleasant thing that they just have to do. It doesn’t have to be that way if you look for an exercise that is actually enjoyable for you.
You can sign up for a gym and swim, lift weights, or run. You may also want to look at casual sporting leagues where you can go play softball or basketball with other people. Even walking or running regularly by yourself is a great way to get out and active.
6. Take yourself out on a solo date.
People can be so strange about going out to an activity on your own. The great part about a solo date is that you can divert all of your attention to yourself and the activity. You don’t have to worry about being a good date, making sure your partner is having a good time, or trying to make the situation something more than it is. You can just go out and have a good time.
Quality time by yourself allows you the space to appreciate your own company.
7. Practice gratitude for what makes you unique.
Gratitude is such a powerful tool for improving the way you think and perceive the world. It’s also powerful in the way that it can help shape your perception and relationship with yourself.
Finding gratitude allows you to focus on what you have, what you can control, and what makes you uniquely you. It focuses on your gifts and your strengths, and celebrates when you make good decisions.
Employing gratitude for the unique gifts that make you who you are will help you think kinder of yourself when things aren’t so great. The more you practice gratitude, the easier it is to shift away from those negative, destructive thought processes that can undermine a loving relationship with yourself.
8. Learn to enjoy your own company.
Some people have a difficult time being alone. This is a problem that needs to be addressed if you want to improve your relationship with yourself. It’s okay to be alone sometimes. Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely.
Are you good company for yourself? Can you make yourself happy without other people? Do you have confidence that you can find a way to spend your time when you do have to be alone?
If not, these are all good strengths to develop. Pursuing solo activities is a good way to build that part of yourself up.
9. Develop and understand your boundaries.
Boundaries help you protect yourself from the negativity of other people and bad choices. For example, you cannot be a good friend to yourself if you let other people walk all over you or make bad decisions without considering the consequences. And that’s where boundaries come into play.
Do you understand where your boundaries are? Do you know why you have them? Or should have them? Are there people who treat you unkindly to whom you should not give that kind of leverage?
Frankly, hanging out with the wrong people can do so much damage to your sense of self-worth and self-respect. It’s better to avoid those kinds of people altogether. It’s better to be alone than with the wrong people. Protect yourself and your space with solid boundaries.
10. Accept and love your flaws as much as your strengths.
Can you love your flaws as intensely as your strengths? It’s hard, but it is achievable. Your flaws are just as much of you as your good qualities, for better or worse. And one of the ways that you can treat yourself as your best friend is to identify and accept those flaws, and love them fiercely.
Love is not just about the positive things. It’s just as much about embracing the challenges and flaws that come with just about anything. People are all flawed creatures. Even good experiences you have in life may not be entirely positive or come with baggage attached.
You will too. You are a person. You will have merits and flaws like every other person. You don’t need to be perfect.
So when you look in the mirror in the morning, you need to value and love that flawed person looking back at you. Remind yourself that if you keep trying and keep working at it, you will eventually learn better ways to navigate those flaws.
That positive focus will help you build a love for your flaws as well as yourself.
Still not sure how to become your own best friend? Speak to a counselor today who can walk you through the process. Simply click here to connect with one of the experienced counselors on BetterHelp.com.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I hate myself. How am I ever supposed to be a friend to myself?
If you truly hate yourself, there’s every chance that you are suffering from a mental health condition such as depression, body image issues, addiction, or disordered eating among others. To be able to treat yourself as a good friend, you will need to address whatever the issue is and this will likely involve the help of a professional. That should be your first step.
From there, you can begin to work on other things such as your tendency for negative self-talk. You can learn how to challenge the negative things you think about yourself by looking at the statement and being realistic about its content. If you often think that you’re stupid, you can counter that by thinking, “Sure, I’m not and never have been an A-grade student academically, but I have reasonable knowledge of the world and better common sense than most.”
You should definitely cut ties with anyone who takes advantage of you. You should also consider whether you want to keep people in your life who do nothing but complain about the world and their lot in life. These people will bring you down to their level and keep you there.
If you indulge in any self-destructive behaviors, you should seek to end those habits – possibly with the help of a professional. Whether it’s substance abuse, self-sabotage, isolating yourself from the world, or out of control spending, by eliminating such behaviors and replacing them with healthy coping mechanisms, you’ll have less reason to hate yourself.
How can I stop beating myself up when I make mistakes?
Everyone makes mistakes in life. Some mistakes are big, but most are small. In order to stop beating yourself up about them, you need to break the link between the mistake and the way you view that mistake.
Right now, your initial instinct is to identify all of your flaws that contributed to that mistake. Perhaps you rushed into a decision, you were too stubborn to ask for help, you didn’t read the instructions on something, you forgot to do an important part of the thing you were doing, you weren’t paying enough attention, or one of a hundred other things.
Rather than default to this negative self-image and self-talk, you can seek to be kind and compassionate toward yourself. You made a mistake, but that makes you like everyone else. You messed up, but it doesn’t have to mean the thing can’t be fixed. You didn’t achieve a goal you set, but it doesn’t make you a failure in all things.
You can try to find a way to laugh at yourself, not in the cruel sense but in the light-hearted sense of not taking yourself or your mistake too seriously.
And you can try to look for the opportunities that come from your mistakes, because there are bound to be some. Even if it’s simply to learn how not to do something, you can often find a benefit from something that seems negative on the surface.
How can I be more positive about myself and my life?
In order to be your own best friend, you will need to develop a more positive mindset, particularly about yourself and your life. Learning how to be positive will take time if you are currently a pessimistic, downbeat person, but it’s well worth the effort.
One important step on this journey is to embrace your fate when something is outside of your control, but also to recognize the control you do have over improving your situation and your life.
Sometimes you have to just accept that something bad has happened to you that you had no say over – a health issue, an accident, circumstances in the wider world that cause you to lose your job. As uncomfortable as these situations can be, they are yours to deal with. You don’t have to like that the thing happened, but you can try to use it to empower yourself in terms of how you respond.
And if you can find a way to assert some control over a situation, you can see that as a positive because it gives you the opportunity to influence the outcome to your liking.
Another way to be positive about yourself is to set goals and work toward them. With every step you take, you will see yourself as someone who is capable of achieving something with your life. If you aren’t all that positive about yourself now, start with small goals that you can easily manage, then use these successes to build momentum toward your larger goals. And split your larger goals down into bite-sized steps so that they aren’t so daunting.
One final tip is to be aware of what you feed your mind, and what you allow to influence it. This involves looking at the kinds of media you consume and asking whether they lift you up or bring you down. If the news is making you feel lousy, stop watching or reading it. If your social feeds make you compare yourself poorly against others, take a break from them. If there are people who try to tear you down or treat you badly, cut them out of your life.
How can I respect myself?
Learning to respect yourself will impact the way you treat your body and your mind. Better self-respect leads to better treatment of yourself and this is definitely a way you can be a good friend to yourself.
First of all, you ought to make self-care one of your top priorities. From nourishing yourself with a balanced diet to getting enough rest to finding ways to de-stress after a hard day at work, you need to ensure that you are looking after yourself the way you would a child. When you have a child in your care, you make sure that their needs are met before those of others. You should take the same approach with yourself.
Respecting yourself sometimes means saying no to the requests or invitations of others. If you are run off your feet trying to meet all the social obligations put your way, you’ll never have time to truly take care of yourself.
You can also respect yourself by ensuring that others show you respect. If a person does something which is not respectful of you, you should enforce your boundaries and make sure they know that you will not accept such treatment again. If necessary, you should put some distance between you and those who repeatedly disrespect you.
What is self-concept and how does it relate to being a friend to yourself?
Think about self-concept as the collection of thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself, who you are, and how you fit into this world. These labels or attributes determine the way you treat yourself and the way you allow yourself to be treated – both of which are elements of being your own best friend.
Self-concept encompasses things such as your self-esteem (how much you like yourself) and your self-image (how you see yourself). That might be your physical attributes, how competent you are at things, and the social qualities you have.
Understanding your self-concept allows you to identify qualities that might be seen as undesirable and decide if and how you should work to change them. But it is important to consider whether the way you see yourself matches reality because you don’t need to change things about yourself that others view positively just because you view them negatively.
Your self-concept influences the decisions you make which can impact how you treat yourself. If you want to be a good friend to yourself, it pays to look carefully at your self-concept. You’ll then understand the ways in which you can treat yourself better and make better decisions for yourself.
You may also like:
- How To Be Happy Alone: 10 Tips On Living And Being By Yourself
- How To Be Emotionally Independent And Stop Relying On Others For Happiness
- “I Have No Friends” – 10 Things You Can Do If You Feel This Is You