Why you should be your own best friend

This article explores why you should be your own best friend, and gives you some simple tips about how to get started.

Life is hard

Even if you were born into a privileged life, it’s impossible to avoid loss, difficulty and pain

Yet, it’s only too likely that you’re your own harshest critic. You are likely to say the most awful, nasty things to yourself that you would never say to a friend.

The Inner Critic

Your inner critic is a defence mechanism that you most likely developed as a child. It’s a (misguided) attempt to protect yourself, because by criticising yourself first, you unconsciously believe there will be no room for others to criticise you. 

But your inner critic doesn’t make things better, it makes everything worse. The more you criticise and judge yourself, the more you damage your sense of self esteem. And the way that you interact with others on an interpersonal level, which might even reinforce the things your inner critic is saying about you.

Your inner voice is ever-present

There’s just no value whatsoever in being down on yourself. You should absolutely be responsible and accountable for your behaviour, but that is not the same as that nagging, inner criticism that just makes you miserable.

It’s wonderful to have a support system of friends and family, but it’s just not possible that they’ll always be around to support you, whereas the voice in your head is always available. 

You self-sabotage and then criticise others 

On top of it, the inner monologue of self-criticism may sabotage your attempts to improve yourself and even worse, you might find yourself turning that criticism towards others as well. For your own sake and those around you, it’s time to make the decision to be your own best friend.

Why you should be your own best friend

Self-esteem is simply the way that you think about yourself. The way you speak about yourself and to yourself quite literally shapes your reality, your mindset and the way you experience the world. 

You may feel like your harsh inner voice is part of who you are, but it’s actually just a habit. Your inner voice, i.e. how you speak to yourself and about yourself, is very much within your control. You have the power to change it in the here-and-now and by doing so, you can have a measurable positive impact on your self esteem.

Having this realisation is quite useful! Because it’s clear that you can become the person who supports you, advocates for you, fights for you, who always has your back and who is always there for you. And you can start right now.

BFB Success Formula: How to become your own Best Friend

  1. Make the decision. However, please remember that you don’t suddenly change a long-term habit of negative self-talk based on just one decision. Like all our attempts at self-care, it is a practice. It’s an action, or a series of actions that you incorporate into your daily life. 
  2. Observe your inner critic. When you’re not focused on something, your mind wanders off into negative trains of thought. And having made this decision to become your own BFF, you can quite easily become aware of the nasty things you say to yourself as a highly critical habit. 
  3. Make a conscious choice. Every time you notice your inner critic having a go at you, you have to intentionally turn your voice into something more helpful. Say something more affirming, more encouraging, more kind, more loving, more supportive. 
  4. Repeat.

If you feel daunted that becoming your own best friend is a practice that you need to practise every day, keep in mind that it’s exactly similar to eating well and exercising. Some lucky people just genuinely love to exercise and do all the things that go with being healthy. But the vast majority of us don’t just do things for one day and then it’s on auto-pilot forever. Pretty much everyone has to make conscious choices about food and movement every single day. But it does get easier over time.

Bonus Tip

If you notice the negative and critical thoughts but you have no idea how to replace them,

try asking yourself: “What would my best friend say to me right now?” Or, “what would I say to my best friend?”.

Alternatively, I recommend Louise Hay affirmations. I’ve been listening to her audio affirmations for most of my adult life and she’s gotten me through many job interviews, exam preparations, presentations, and sometimes sticky situations. 

If you’re in such a dark place that you can’t imagine speaking kindly to yourself, or even use someone else’s affirmations, then maybe you need to talk to somebody. Reach out to a mental health professional and take it from there. 

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