I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about my life, all the high points and the low. This year has afforded me the chance to think deeply about the choices I’ve made that have led me to where I am in life, and how I want to live in the future. One thing that all this thinking has shown is that you have to learn how to be your own best friend before you can begin to live a life that makes you happy.
How To Be Your Own Best Friend
My 20’s were a time of turbulence, I wasn’t always the most beautiful person, and I didn’t always hang out with the most beautiful people. I did a lot of things that made me feel uncomfortable just so I could be accepted by my “friends.” Eventually, I grew tired of not being true to myself. And living a life that was chaotic and unsatisfying and began to think more about being my own best friend.
Being an introvert means I’m not afraid to spend time alone, and in the quest to make my life better, I withdrew from the people around me. I began to listen to myself and my hearts desires, and as a result, my life changed for the better. I found new friends who were genuinely interested in my wellbeing, my life became less chaotic, more harmonious and joyful.
In this blog post, I’m going to share what I’ve learnt about becoming your own best friend, in the hope that you too will be able to live a life that brings you satisfaction and joy.
The first step in learning how to be your own best friend is to know who you are. When you first start out with any new friendship, you spend time together to discover what your new friend likes. So step 1 is to spend time with yourself getting to know what you do and don’t like.
When I started on my journey to becoming my own best friend, I would:
- Borrow books from the library on subjects I’d never explored before. If I enjoyed the book, I would pursue the topic a little more. This is how I discovered I loved photography, pottery and baking.
- Watch movies from different eras, genres and countries. What I discovered was French films are, for the most part, freaking weird, Bollywood beats Hollywood, and I love dystopian stories. However, this year I’ve lost my passion for dystopian movies, our current reality is more dystopian than any fictional story.
- Journal every morning. To this day, I start my morning with an entry in my journal. When I first started this practice, I relied heavily on journal prompts to lead me along my path to self-discovery. These days though I’m more of a stream of consciousness writer. You can read more about journaling as a tool for self-discovery and creativity here.
- Cook something I’d never eaten before every Friday night. I’d also invite someone I wanted to get to know better to share the meal with me. I made many friends this way and improved my confidence in the kitchen.
Some ideas you could try as you learn how to be your own best friend:
- Take long drives to places you’ve never been before.
- Listen to a different radio station every time you get into the car. You may discover that you enjoy death metal music! How do you know what you like unless you experience it?
- Go to your local dog shelter and walk a different dog once a week. Maybe you will discover that you love/don’t love dogs. Or cats.
- Try different adult learning classes. This is a great way to meet new people and to unleash your inner creativity while discovering new passions.
Discover What You Need & Give It To Yourself
Relying on other people to fill your emotional needs is a direct path to inner emptiness. If you want to be your own best friend, you need to take responsibility for your own happiness. Take time to learn what keeps you balanced, happy and confident and give it to yourself.
Sure, no person is an island, and we all need friends, but once you learn to look after yourself, your calibre of friends will rise. It’s a bit of a paradox, but to have good friends, you must first be a good friend, and before you can love other people in a healthy way, you need to love yourself.
Honour your own needs and feelings. Don’t brush them aside or squash them down. Feel things, acknowledge them and then learn how to care of yourself, so you can deal with them.
This will be a work in progress, just like any friendship, you will always be learning new things about yourself. Here are a few ways to make a start on discovering what you need to fill your own emotional needs:
Read self-development books. But a word of warning – don’t fall down the rabbit hole. Self-development books only work if you put the things you learn into action. Don’t make the mistake of reading book after book looking for an instant fix. Instead, read a little, try a few of the practices while living your life to the full and see if they work. And don’t take everything you read in these books as the gospel, use your own judgement to decide what sounds like good advice and what needs to be let go.
Watch Oprah. I feel so lucky to have had Oprah in my life, every afternoon while I was navigating my way through my 20’s. The things that woman and her guests taught me in one hour Monday to Friday can not be measured. Nowadays, you will find her live streaming on social media, which is just as good. Watch her and learn.
Find a mentor. I’ve been blessed with some fantastic mentors in my life. People who helped me make better decisions, who modelled the sort of person I wanted to be and who also kicked my butt when I acted like a spoilt child. Find someone who is doing/ behaving/becoming the kind of person you want to be and get around them. It doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement, sometimes just being in the presence of people who inspire you to do better will elevate your mindset. Learn to take care of yourself by being around people who already know how to do that for themselves.
Be Kind To Your New Best Friend
A true friend is kind, considerate, encouraging and only wants the best for you. Show yourself kindness every day. Don’t judge yourself when things don’t go as you hoped and you make a mistake or slip back into old behaviour.
Believe in yourself wholeheartedly and take care of yourself like you would any other friend. Honour your feelings, respect yourself and show yourself, love. This is how you become your own best friend.
The Biggest Reward
Knowing yourself brings the biggest reward. It’s a journey that is worth embarking on, one that will result in you living a life of fulfilment, without the need to look outside of yourself for validation. I highly recommend it! I’ll leave you with this quote, it’s one of my favourites and is pinned to my vision board so I can remind myself to be my own best friend every day: