Can we be our own Best Friend? Absolutely! In fact, being our own best friend makes room to be the best “bestie” to someone else!
Some may ask, how do you become your own BFF? The answer my friends is simple. You need Self Love!
What is Self-love? Interestingly, loving oneself used to be considered selfish and narcissistic. Thank goodness for people like Don Miguel Ruiz, Debbie Ford, Louise L. Hay, Elizabeth Gilbert and so many other wonderful authors who advocate and share the necessity of loving oneself…and not only loving oneself but loving oneself FIRST. If we don’t take care of our own needs, then how are we supposed to care for others?
As a recovering non-self-lover, I had to acknowledge that I needed to change and acknowledge the fact that no one else is criticizing me more than me. It’s selfish NOT to love yourself! It may sound a bit counter intuitive but it’s true. When we are feeling insecure or badly about our looks, work, life, etc., we can’t focus on anything around us including the people in our lives. We are trapped in our own negative thought process. When I would look in the mirror and make negative comments about my body, I would go into a tail spin and this bad mood would affect my husband and ultimately impact our time together.
Our negative thoughts paralyze us and we can’t truly be there for someone else. That is the definition of selfish. “Lacking consideration for others, concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”
There are so many benefits to loving oneself that it would behoove us not to learn how. Unfortunately, this responsibility to our own happiness is not taught to us at an early age. We must figure it out on our own, which isn’t a bad thing, but wastes so much precious time. Thankfully, the self-help aisle is filled with information on HOW to self-love. When we learn to embrace and accept all aspects of ourselves, we can have fulfilling relationships, less self judgement, healthy lifestyles, professional success, rely on our own internal validation rather than seeking external validation and so many opportunities for a joy filled life.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Live, states that “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.” No one is going to be more honest with you than YOU! We can’t hide from our truths, we can cover them up with pretenses and a false sense of self-worth, but that only leads to unhappiness and ultimately, reflects in our relationships.
It is no coincidence that we are seeing Self Love platitudes everywhere from books to Instagram posts. People are tired of feeling less than and desire a higher self-worth. “I exist as I am, that is enough.” Walt Whitman. We need to believe deep down to our core that we are truly enough just the way we are. Accepting that statement, is the first step in the Self-love game. The great news is that it’s never too late to change. We can learn to love ourselves in the same way in which we love our own children, spouse, or friends. It’s getting out of the rut of negative self-talk and image. It’s a practice that needs to be learned and taken seriously. Just saying I love myself is not enough. Loving oneself also requires action.
The other truth/benefit from self-love is when we stop judging ourselves, we often stop judging others. A negative self-image can create dissonance in a relationships because of our own insecurity and jealousy.
When we feel good about ourselves, we tend to look at others more positively and aren’t as affected by their behaviors. For example, you have a good friend that constantly boasts about her exciting life and how wonderful her husband is to her. Without self-love, her bragging could trigger your own self-doubt and raise questions about your husband. This often enhances feelings of envy and jealousy that she may have a better life. On the other hand, with a healthy dose of self-love, we can listen and accept her reality as she shares it, without comparing it to our own life.
To be clear, obtaining and maintaining a healthy level of self-love, takes a huge amount of self- compassion! We all experience bad days in which we may think that life is just unfair or we feel disappointed for whatever reason. That is all part of the process and we must push past the difficult days with self- compassion by not spending our energy beating ourselves up for things that may not have gone the way we planned. The trick is to acknowledge the disappointment, extract any lessons and move on.
Here’s the love…
Self Love is NOT about changing who we are… it’s about loving who we are.