How to be your own Best Friend

Place of Serenity | Be your own best friend

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?

When you are facing a challenging situation or thinking difficult thoughts, your body responds in defence mode, so the fight-flight-freeze response is in full swing. 

Kristin Neff calls it an ‘unholy trinity of reactions’ which we enact. A combination where we:

  1. ‘Fight’ ourselves with self-criticism
  2. ‘Flee’ from ourselves with autopilot actions and isolate from others
  3. ‘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.

Step 1:

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.

So be your own best friend and acknowledge what you’re experiencing, without the condemning judgment. Place of Serenity | Your own best friend

Step 2:

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.

Remind yourself:

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. Place of Serenity | Your own best friend

Step 3:

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.

Ask yourself:

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.

Remember:

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

Place of Serenity | Place of Serenity

 

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