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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 August 16, 2018

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    The power of habit

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to make a reminder works for you

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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