A best friend is always on your side
A cheerleader and a supporter.
What better than to be your own best friend and support yourself with emotional resilience, courage and kindness? These are qualities you can nurture with mindfulness and self-compassion especially when life feels so stressful or out of balance.
There has been an increase in research into self-compassion over recent years. Kristin Neff is a pioneer into this research and an expert in the field of self-compassion. Her website has lots of useful videos you might like to explore.
How can you be your own best friend?
Kristin Neff calls it an ‘unholy trinity of reactions’ which we enact. A combination where we:
- ‘Fight’ ourselves with self-criticism
- ‘Flee’ from ourselves with autopilot actions and isolate from others
- ‘Freeze’ by staying stuck within a negative spiral of rumination
Self-compassion deactivates this knee-jerk reaction. Whether it’s an outer experience or inner turmoil that you are experiencing, be your own best friend with these 3 self-compassionate steps to guide you.
Acknowledge to yourself: ‘This is tough right now’ or ‘This hurts’, or a suitable phrase that acknowledges how you feel.
This is different from what may be your usual reaction; to berate yourself or get hooked into old habits. Things don’t go to plan and you think, ‘What an idiot I am!’ or ‘How did I manage to make a mess of that?’
As we go down the route of self-judgment we return to the same old self-destructive stories about ourselves. And elicit the body’s defence response.
Remember that this is life. In all its shade and colour. Mistakes, suffering and tough times are part of being human. You are not alone – everyone in the world experiences suffering.
Everyone feels this way sometimes.
I am not the first person in the world to have made this mistake.
I am not alone.
I am human and this is part of life.
When we are going through challenging times or have made a mistake, we often feel isolated. We shrink into our experience and become more alone. We might put on a brave face, but we are hiding.
You are not alone.
And a good way to help with the feelings of failure or gloom, is to imagine that you are treating yourself as you would a good friend who finds themselves in a similar state. With self-compassion and tenderness, you can be gentle and kind to yourself.
Get a sense of your grounding. Mindfully observe how your body is feeling and where your emotions are happening.
Connect with your heart space as this provides a pathway down from the ruminating mind. Breathe deeply into yourself so that you feel present and grounded.
Place a hand gently at your heart space as a gesture of self-compassion.
Do I need to keep repeating these experiences/thoughts?
Do they help me lead the life I want and the person I wish to be?
Are they old stories I no longer need to hold on to?
Ask yourself such questions with great love and tenderness.
Be with what comes up. Be curious.
I am here for me.
I am being my own best friend.
All is well.
I love and support myself.
I am my own best friend
Now you can move on, strengthened by your own loving and supportive self.
Your own best friend, experiencing self-compassion and inner strength.
You’ve got this now!
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide