The importance of becoming your own best friend

Hi, I’m Terri, aka. The Wellbeing Witch. I am passionate about wellbeing and personal development and see the two as intrinsically linked. I adopt a holistic approach to wellbeing – incorporating all elements of health and happiness (physical, mental, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial etc), and for me, kindness is at the core of individual wellbeing and growth. 

I want to talk a little about how to show kindness to the self as a starting point for building kindness and compassion into our lives. It can often be the most challenging area to give kindness in. We can find it much simpler to offer kindness to others and somehow feel we are not worthy of that same kindness. We are taught to prioritise others, to self-deprecate, that looking after our own needs is selfish. To re-frame this way of thinking can be difficult and takes practice. I call this ‘self-friending’ – offering ourselves the same kindness we so freely give to a friend. There is nothing wrong or selfish about this. We cannot pour from an empty cup, and so, by being kind to ourselves we not only develop a better relationship with ourselves, we can also find it easier to be compassionate to others. When you really think about it, why wouldn’t we be our own best friend? 

The easiest way to start developing your self-friending is to regularly ask yourself ‘What do I need right now?’. Getting into a habit of reflecting on your needs and how to meet them. Essentially, this is about looking after yourself and it can help to think of yourself as a flower, a plant, or even a child, that needs nurturing to bloom. Sure, that might feel a little weird at first but isn’t it ultimately odder that we can pay greater attention to a houseplant than ourselves? So, keep asking the question, ‘What do I need’? The answers will vary and might be difficult to identify at first but with more practice it will become easier. Commonly, the things that come up will involve space for yourself.

Giving yourself some regular ‘you-time’ is also a brilliant self-friending activity. We often lead hectic lives and finding that time for yourself can be a challenge so book it in, prioritise it, even if it is just an hour a week at first. What you do with that time will look different for everyone. If you’re not sure what to use the time for I would suggest starting with rest, in whatever form you feel most comfortable with. It’s often something we are led to believe we should feel guilty about, that we ought to be being more productive, but rest itself is productive. It is essential to allow us to continue to function and live healthy lives – just look at the lives of animals who spend a huge proportion of their time resting! You can also note times in your life where you feel completely immersed in something or where you feel the most you. This could be reading, crafting, exercise – as long as it isn’t work (this is supposed to a break) then it is a perfect way to start your you time. If you have other pulls on your time, work, family etc. then taking the time to explain to them (or to remind yourself) that you are doing this as it is important for you can really help. You may even encourage them to do this themselves, at the same, or different times. 

So, give it a try, reflect on how you feel after giving yourself what you need or having your you time and how that changes over time. Like any friendship, self-friending will develop over time and it will need attention to grow and blossom into a beautiful relationship.  

I hope you find this helpful, and I’d love to hear how you get on with your self-friending. Follow me @thewellbeingwitch on Instagram to connect and for more on wellbeing and self-development!

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