We are all born with a built-in "best friend": ourselves. But most people don't spend the necessary time learning how to truly nurture that friendship. Being your own best friend means treating yourself as kindly and respectfully as you do your dearest friend.
Our day-to-day lives buzz with activities and responsibilities, and our inner dialogs are often filled with to-do lists and self-criticism. When do we give ourselves the opportunity to sit quietly and listen to our hearts, to hear our own needs, wisdom and wishes?
Spending quiet time with myself regularly helps me make better sense of my thoughts, ideas and emotions. I'm more able to access my self-awareness. I gain clarity around what I really want, what decisions I should make.
Being a good friend to another person depends mostly on spending time with and listening to the other person. Being a good friend to yourself is the same. Here a few ways you can befriend yourself with some quiet time for listening and self-awareness:
- Try meditating. (See Learn: Meditation.)
- Go for a quiet walk—around the block, in a park—you don’t have to go far (but you might want to). Breathe deeply and look with wonder at the world around you. Take a few pictures if you’re inspired to.
- Find a quiet, comfortable spot and write a list with one (or each) of these titles: "I've always wanted to …"; "If I could do anything, I would …"; "If I could go anywhere, I would go …"; "If I won the lottery, I would …"; "If I had an unexpected day off, I would …"
- Consider: What are some things you don’t know? Of these things, which do you want to know? How can you begin to learn what you don’t know but want to?
- Listen to your inner dialog of self-criticism; in one column write down 3 to 5 criticisms. In a second column, write down a truth that exists in opposition to the criticism. (Example: I am not a writer./ I have written and published more than 190 blog posts.)
- Visit a restaurant or coffee shop and indulge in a tasty morsel. Notice the scents and sounds around you. Notice how your food or coffee or tea smells and tastes, how it feels in your mouth and as you swallow. Notice how your body feels resting in the booth or on the chair. What else comes to your awareness?
What suggestions would you add to this list? What practices help you connect with yourself? However you decide to be your own friend, the keys are to: (1) make time, (2) listen and (3) repeat. You're invited to share your thoughts and experiences in a comment here, on our community Facebook page or via twitter.
If you’re seeking your heart’s true path, join me for the 3-week in-person Heart's Path Discovery Sessions that begin February 16. Heart’s Path Discovery Sessions offer a set of guideposts for discovering and living your heart's true path, a strategy for finding what activities you love and then living with intention and with a greater sense of meaning.
Click here to learn more and for registration information. I hope you’ll join us!