Be Your Own Best Friend
This week here at Tips and Tools, we’re inviting you to a night out! No, sadly not an in-person night out. A night out with yourself, and your inner bestie. Put on your pajamas, grab a snack, and get started on being your own best friend.
This activity is adapted from Phase Two of our Boundary and Identity course for teens. You don’t have to be a teen to enjoy learning about self-compassion, but you will get bonus points for sharing this with the teens in your life.
What is a Best Friend?
Do you have a best friend? How long have you known them? How do they treat you?
My best friend is one of the most important people in my life. We met in university, made it through a desperate all-nighter during finals, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We experienced all the best and worst of leaving university and setting off in the world of adulthood together. I know this friend is always there for me.
My best friend sees the best in me, even when I’m not feeling great about myself. They encourage me to be kind to myself. They celebrate my accomplishments and help me get back up when I fail. Their impeccable humour brings me back from my saddest days. They also hold me accountable to my values by calling me out when I behave in a way that just isn’t me.
I love my best friend. However, they are not my only best friend.
My very first best friend has always been me. With self-compassion, I can support myself the same way my real-life bestie and I support each other.
Let’s Talk Self-Compassion
Self-compassion is the act of treating yourself the same way you would treat your best friend. When we are being self-compassionate, we…
- … give ourselves the benefit of the doubt.
- … recognize that we’re not going to be perfect all the time.
- … know that we’re going to get things wrong, experience challenges, and get down on ourselves.
Self-compassion asks us to recognize that failure is an opportunity to grow. It teaches us to see the very best in ourselves. To believe that we are enough, just the way we are.
Self-compassion is something that we can learn in childhood or adulthood. It’s also something that we can learn and forget. Sometimes, when you are experiencing difficulties in life, you forget how to be self-compassionate. You might find yourself ignoring your inner best friend and listening to your inner critic.
Your inner critic criticizes constantly. They’re the voice in your head that says:
- “I’m not good enough.”
- “I’m too weird.”
- “No one cares. No one understands.”
When we get into the habit of listening to our inner critic, it can be hard to be nice to ourselves. We forget what our inner best friend sounds like.
The good news is that your inner best-friend never actually leaves you. Self-compassion, like any skill, takes practice! You can practice being your own best-friend!
Some great ways to practice being your own best friend are:
- Saying positive affirmations in the mirror. Try saying “I am enough” every day after you brush your teeth.
- Turning negative self-talk into self-compassion. When you find yourself thinking mean thoughts like “I’m so stupid!” try talking to yourself like you’d talk to your best friend. Say: “I know you feel ____. It’s okay to feel ____. You’re allowed to be upset.” and then try to solve the problem.
- Celebrate! Spend time with yourself celebrating your success. This can be difficult when you are having a hard time. Try to adjust your idea of success to match how you are feeling. Some days just getting out of bed is a success, and that’s okay!
- Practice self-reflection. Self-reflection is any habit that allows you to hang out with yourself. When we practice self-reflection, we’re taking an interest in how our thoughts work. Journaling, painting, dancing, or keeping a gratitude list are all examples of self-reflection.
Building Your Inner Best Friend
Do you have an inner best friend? A tiny voice in your head who provides love and encouragement? What do they sound like? Do they sound like anyone you know? What kind of things do they say?
Most importantly, do you believe them when they say kind things about you?
We’ve created a quick guide to creating your inner-best friend. Follow the journal prompts to reflect on where you’re at in your self-compassion journey. Then, get creative and design your inner best-friend! You can draw, colour, paint, or collage to create your bestie. When times get tough, and you need a buddy, you’ll be able to picture your inner-best friend, to help inspire your self-compassion.