Be kind to others. Show up and be supportive. Be there unconditionally and without judgment when your friends are having a hard time. Tell your friend the truth, even when it’s hard. Remember to celebrate you friends. Cheerlead for them, inspire them to go for their dreams. Respect you friends, honor them, appreciate them, be compassionate – in other words love them.
These are the rules of being a good friend. And while you may not be perfect at always showing up as a good friend for others, you know how to love others well. And when you do show up as a good friend, you feel good about yourself. Proud. Like you are doing a good thing, being a good person. Because you believe that giving love to others is a good thing.
But take that love and friendship and apply it to yourself and something different happens. Suddenly you feel guilty for taking care of yourself, selfish for choosing yourself first, and shy about tooting your own horn. Giving love to yourself in the forms you need it most – compassion, appreciation, nurturing, pleasure, etc. – feels wrong, weird and uncomfortable. In situations where you’d have no problem telling a friend to take a break, stop working, leave a relationship, or go for her dreams, you just cannot seem to give yourself permission to do what you really need. Until now…
Today, you are invited to take a stand for the most important relationship in your life – the one with yourself – by saying YES! to becoming a really good friend – maybe even a best friend – to yourself, and start making sure you receive love you need, no matter what. There’s nothing selfish about that. For the better friend you are to yourself, the more you fill yourself up with love, the more you will be able to give to others. You will be both a giver and receiver of love!
3 Simple but Mighty Self-Love Practices for Being Your Own B.F.F.
One of the biggest reasons we fail to be good friends to ourselves is because we don’t know how to give ourselves permission to take the actions we know would be best for us. Ask yourself these simple questions on a regular basis, or whenever you feel overwhelmed, lonely or out of sorts. Be honest. And if the answer to the question is “No” take the self-love prescription and Daring Act of Love listed to get yourself the love you need in the form you need it most.
1. Am I happy?
If the answer is no, you are likely starving for joy. You need self-pleasure. Take this Daring Act of Love: Make a JOY Portrait. Take a piece of paper and write “JOY” in the middle of it. Then fill up the entire sheet of paper with all the things that make you happy – big and small. Challenge yourself to fill the entire page. Then choose three of these joy generators and turn then into “acts of joy” – actions you can take to create joy for yourself. Enjoy them within 24 hours, no matter what you have going on
2. Am I taking care of myself, as well as everything and everyone else?
If the answer is no, your energy tank is likely depleted. You need self-care. Take this Daring Act of Love: Ask yourself what you need and then give it yourself, pronto. Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, just like a best friend would, “What do I need right now to take care of me?” Then be quiet and see what your Inner Wisdom says. Whatever guidance you receive, do that one thing, no matter what. Even if you don’t think you have the time, follow through on giving yourself what you need.
3. Am I willing to disappoint another in order to not disappoint myself?
If the answer to this is no, you are putting others needs in front of your own, to the determinant to yourself. You need self-honor. Take this Daring Act of Love: Love-line a friend, and ask them to give you permission to do what’s best for you. Explain the situation, what you really want to do, and ask them to just tell you, “You have totally have permission to…” If you are really stubborn and still can’t take the self-loving action, ask your friend to tell you why it’s okay to give yourself permission to disappoint another not to disappoint yourself. And then repeat back what they say. Often, when we can’t be a good friend to ourselves, we need to elicit the help of others who can be a good friend. This is how we learn to be better friends to ourselves.
Imagine what your life would be like from this day forward if in the moments when your inner critic wanted to tear you down, in the times you got scared to go for your dreams, or in the instances when you felt exhausted and needed a rest, you were able to wrap your arms around yourself, and give yourself permission to do exactly what you needed – without guilt, fear or judgment. This is what is possible when you make the choice to love yourself unconditionally and as a result choose to show up as a best friend, no matter what. A daring adventure indeed, but the only way really to live – in love, with yourself.