Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Be a friend of yourself

We often focus on building relationships with others that we forget the essential first step: being friends of ourselves. That is the crucial first step if we are to have good relationships with others. How can we have good relationships with others if we don’t even have good relationship with ourselves?

The problem might be worse than we expect. Maybe we don’t like ourselves without realizing it. Here is a simple checklist; is there anything you don’t like about yourself from these list?

  • Your past
    Maybe you have made mistakes in the past which you feel bad about. You might be disappointed with yourself on why you could make such mistakes. Even if that happened in distant past, your subconscious mind still has a reason not to like yourself.
  • Your background
    You might wish that you were born in different family, or that you have different background. Maybe you could not accept the fact that you are not as lucky as others, who seem to get whatever they want effortlessly because of their background.
  • Your personality traits
    You might have some personality traits that you don’t like. For example, you may be an introvert and you don’t like it; you wish you are an extrovert.
  • Your achievements relative to others
    Others might have better achievements than you, and no matter how hard you tried, it might seem impossible for you to match them. You might then think that it’s because you are not smart enough or don’t have enough talents.

Is there anything that resonate with you? All these give reasons to you not to like yourself. That in turn makes it difficult for you to be a good friend to yourself.

Fortunately, there are always things you can do to fix the situation. Here are some tips:

1. Forgive yourself

You may have made those mistakes in the past, but is there anything you can do about them? I don’t think so, except learning from them. It’s true that you are not perfect, but neither is everybody else. It’s normal to make mistakes, so do yourself a favor by giving yourself forgiveness.

2. Accept things you can’t change

There are some things you cannot change, such as your background and your past. So learn to accept them. You will feel much relieved if you treat things you can’t change the way they deserve: just accept them, smile, and move on.

3. Focus on your strengths

Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. You always have some strengths which give you a unique combination nobody else have. Recognize your strengths and build your life around them.

4. Write your success stories

One reason we may not like ourselves is we are too focused on what we don’t have that we forget about what we have. So make a list of your achievements; write your success stories. They do not have to be big things; there are a lot of small but important achievements in our life. For example, if you have some good friends, that’s already an achievement. If you have a good family, that is also an achievement.

5. Stop comparing yourself with others

You are unique. You can never be like other people, and neither can other people be like you. The way you measure your success is not determined by other people and what they achieve. Instead, it is determined by your own life purpose. You have everything you need to achieve your life purpose, so it’s useless to compare yourself with others.

6. Always be true to yourself

You don’t like other people lying to you, right? Similarly, you won’t like yourself if you know that you lie to yourself. Whether you realize it or not, that gives your mind a reason not to like yourself. That’s why it’s important to always be true to yourself. In whatever you do, be honest and follow your conscience. Remember this quote by Abraham Lincoln:

I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end . . . I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.

Donald Latumahina is an avid learner who blogs regularly about personal growth and effectiveness. Read his articles on 22 Ways to Maximize Your Opportunities in Life and 6 Powerful Tools to Break Down Your Idea Brick Walls.

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