Be Your Own Best Friend (Guide)

Four friends sitting on a rail in front of the ocean.

Love yourself the way you love your best friends.

The idea of becoming a better friend to yourself sounds super odd because we imagine friends to be external to ourselves. But its time to learn how to be your own best friend.

But there is tremendous value in studying self-friendship. It is difficult to appreciate just how much we fail to apply the sympathy and loyalty to our ourselves that we do our friends.

Encourage Yourself

A mug that says "go get 'em" filled with coffee.

When we see one of our friends suffering, we know that we should not tell them that he or she is worthless or a flop. When your friend that the girl he loves does not seem to love him back, we do not tell them they they deserve this pain; but I can think of more than a few people who do that to themselves. We re-assure our friends that they are lovable and worth the effort of investigating what they might do to improve.

We know how to deliver good advice to our friends that we often refuse to consider for ourselves.

A good friend has several characteristics that set an example for how we should treat ourselves in our thoughts.

Love Yourself Regardless of Your Failures

A good friend loves you for the person that you are-and they will love you if you change yourself for the better. A good friend constructs any recommendations on a foundation of unconditional support. When a friend suggests that you stop a harmful behavior, they are not saying they will give up on you if you fail. If you want to be your own best friend, you need to learn to love yourself when you fail.

Be Your Own Best Friend: Fight For Yourself

A friend insists that you are already a good, worthy person. They simply want to be your ally as you try to solve your problems in a healthy and realistic way.

Remind Yourself of Your Strengths

A pair of boxing gloves represents friends that fight for you.

Good friends withhold flattery and lies while keeping in mind the many things we are doing right! They do not think twice about complimenting you for your gifts. In fact, they make themselves happy by pointing out and emphasizing our strengths.

Don’t you find it galling that we often forget all our own good qualities when our life falls apart. Your best friend does not become your enemy when times are tough. They acknowledge your suffering, while helping you to hold onto the memory of your virtues.

Be Compassionate to Yourself

A sign that says, "You are worthy of love."

A great friend is very compassionate. They are patient with our weaknesses when we fail. Our missteps do not omit us from our friend’s love. A great friend helps us understand that failure and screwing up is part of the human experience.

Our childhood leaves us with insecurities and flaws in our personality which we developed as coping mechanisms for our imperfect environment. These habits often fail us later in life as we wander through the diverse landscape of the world.

We should not blame ourselves for our weaknesses because we did not choose our deficiencies. We did not have a choice.  And even worse, life often requires us to make really important decisions without knowing what could happen; sometimes this is good, and sometimes it is bad.

We are driving blind as we make relationship and career decisions. Say you move across the country. You cannot know whether you will flourish there. You choose a job when you are young, and do not know what you will need long term.

The same holds true for long term relationships. We choose to dedicate our lives to someone without knowing what such a life looks like.

Remind Yourself that Failure is Common to Us All

A man pouring coffee into a mug that says, "ugh."

A great friend reminds us that failure is not rare; in fact, they remind us of their own low points to help us understand why they can still continue to love us. They bring their own experience as a way of contextualizing our world.  They make mutual experiences their starting point.

A good friend tells you that tragedy is common. It is not true that a few people fail occasionally. Every person fails often. We don't know about their struggles, because everyone hides their weaknesses.

It is a bit sad that we know how to support strangers better than we know how to support ourselves.

But there is hope in the realization that you already know how to be a great friend. It is just that you have not yet given your support to the human being who needs your help the most: yourself. And now you know how to be your own best friend!