Many people who come from a dysfunctional background have low self-esteem and therefore don’t love themselves. They know how to be friends with other people but they don’t know how to be their own friend. Before I give you tips on how to be a friend to yourself, I would like to explore what the term friend actually means. I have looked up different dictionaries and found the following definitions:
According to Dictionary.com, a friend is a person „attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard“, someone „who gives assistance“, a „supporter“, „someone who is on good terms with another“, „a person who is not hostile“.
British Dictionary defines a friend as „a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection and loyalty“, an „ally in a fight or a cause“.
Cambridge Dictionary says a friend is „someone who you can trust“.
Merriam-Websters definition of friend includes being „attached to another by affection or esteem“ and „a favoured companion“.
Websters Dictionary 1828 states that a friend is someone „who entertains for another sentiment of esteem, respect and affection, which lead him to desire his company, and to seek to promote his happiness and prosperity“.
From these definitions, I conclude that …
#1 In order to be a friend to yourself you can’t be hostile towards yourself.
Friendship and hostility exclude each other. People with low self-worth do often engage in negative self-talk. They criticize themselves harshly because they don’t have the ideal body or because they have made a mistake. They would never talk to a friend like this, though. With a friend, they would be compassionate, supportive and uplifting. How about stop beating yourself up and start talking to yourself in a more gentle way?
#2 In order to be a friend to yourself you need to spend time with yourself.
I have noticed that some people can’t stand it to be alone with themselves. They do everything to flee their own company. The problem is that this leads to living in a reactive state instead of taking the time to pause and reflect and do course correction if necessary. One of the best ways to spend time with yourself and sort out your thoughts is through journaling.
#3 In order to be a friend to yourself you need to be loyal towards yourself.
Loyalty is the opposite of betrayal. If you want to be a good friend to yourself, you need to stay true to your own values. You need to know what your values are and not compromise on them to please someone else. Especially codependent personalities who have been raised to be people pleasers are struggling with this particular issue. They tend to abandon their own values too quickly just to make someone else happy.
Loyalty towards yourself also includes standing up for yourself. Don’t allow others to walk right over you and don’t tolerate toxic people in your life who show chronically hostile behaviour towards you.
Also, don’t let other peoples perception override your own perception. You have seen what you have seen and you have heard what you have heard. Don’t let other people manipulate you and tell you otherwise to serve their own purposes.
#4 In order to be a friend to yourself you need to work actively for your own interests and happiness.
Don’t expect other people to look out for you. If you want a good life and have goals you want to achieve you need to take the necessary action steps. Nobody else can take them for you.
#5 In order to be a friend to yourself you need to be honest with yourself.
You need to tell yourself the truth about yourself and others. Don’t have illusions about yourself or other people. Try to be realistic.
I hope these tips have given yourself ideas on how to be a friend to yourself.
Question: Are you a friend to yourself or an enemy? Please tell me in the comments!
Until next time,
[Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash.com]