I won’t pretend to be an expert on friendship! But I will try to explain that if the terms self-love, self-care, and self-compassion (etc.) don’t resonate with you, then perhaps the term Friendship will sit better with you…
Friends or Friendship is defined as “a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.”
How wonderful would it be if we could make friends…with ourselves? To have a bond and affection for and with ourselves?
How? Let’s see some of my ideas…
Get to know yourself
What do you do when you first meet someone? You get to know them! And so, yes, you’ve literally known yourself your whole life, but there’s still so much that you don’t realise about yourself yet.
How can you get to know yourself:
- Journal deeply, for long periods, in free-form stream of conscious style (you’ll be surprised what can come up)
- Spend more time alone
- Spend time in quiet not doing much
- Try new things to see what you like or what you’re capable of
- Ask yourself questions (in your journal or notebook or whatever; find so many journal prompts online)
Take yourself out
Another way to get to know yourself and deepen your friendship with yourself is to take yourself out on friendship-dates! This means spending time alone but outside of your home. This will really show your true colours and test how comfortable you are in your own company.
You should be able to have fun by yourself!
You should be able to watch films, eat dinner, play games, complete challenges, travel, whatever, all by yourself. Not that you don’t need or want others, just that you know you can be by yourself and feel happy and comfortable in that space.
Listen to yourself
Any good friends will listen to one another. They hold space for one another. They support and lift one another up. You should be able to depend on a friend to be there for you. Not in a co-dependent, toxic way. Not without boundaries. But instead, to be a crucial part of your support system.
This is what you should be for yourself. Hold your own damn hand!
How to support yourself:
- Respect yourself and what you want
- Put yourself first
- Know your values and metrics for success so you’re clear and focused (cut out the noise of society and those around you)
- Meet your own needs, don’t depend on others for this (where possible and appropriate)
- When you fall short, express compassion and mercy for your mistakes or failures
- Trust in your own intuition and gut feelings for decisions
- Assert yourself
- Integrity and authenticity: holding your power and staying true to who you are
- Have your own back and stick up for yourself: don’t shrink
Look after yourself
Again, you take care of your friends. If they were sick or in need in some way, you’d look after them, right? Do that for yourself, too!
Self-care isn’t for burn out or stress or struggling mental health; self-care is a part of everyday life.
Self-care comes in many forms, and it depends on what you need in each moment, each day. But it just means putting your needs first. It means getting those needs met. It means just bloody well caring for yourself, in any way you need, without guilt.
Self-care could include:
- Sorting out your finances
- Having a nap
- Going abroad
- Speaking to your boss about fewer projects or hours at work
- Asking for a raise at work
- Seeking more support from your partner with the kids
- Taking a break from your creative projects
- Going for a run
- Decluttering your wardrobe and rearranging your space
- Journaling out all the gunk from the day
- Getting a massage
Be your own cheerleader
Our families may not approve of everything we do and how we live our lives. But our friends should, or at least they should sing our praises and support us anyway. And so should you.
Even when no one else is clapping, it should be your own applause that sounds throughout the arena.
Clap for your own damn self! For the big wins and the small wins; for the defeats and the bruises and the knockdowns and the knockouts. As Brene Brown says, if you’re in the arena, that’s all the counts; not the critics sitting in the stadium judging from afar.
Be your own cheerleader while you’re in the arena. Be your own coach, parents, friend, all of it.
Again, it’s not that you don’t need anyone else. It’s just that the greatest and longest relationship you will ever have is with yourself, so make sure it’s a good one. How do we do that? Well, we work on that relationship everyday.