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How to Be a Friend of Yourself

How to Be a Friend of Yourself

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.

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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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    Last Updated on February 25, 2020

    Face Adversity with a Smile

    Face Adversity with a Smile

    I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

    My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

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    Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

    One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

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    Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

    How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

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    1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
    2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
    3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
    4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
    5. Smile and get cracking.

    The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

    Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

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