Mental & Emotional Health
To Be Your Own Best Friend, Start by Loving Yourself
The less we care for ourselves, the more unlovable we feel, the less we connect with others, and the easier it is to spiral out into depression and despair. I propose a solution to this painful cycle: Be your own BFF.
If you believe you are not enough, you may not be able to handle the depths of the emotional storms that blow through your life. Be your own BFF so you can always count on YOU when the hurt or chaos is coming from the closest people and relationships in your life.
Here are my 3 Tips for Being Your Own BFF
- Do a body scan.
I like to use the Insight Timer app for this exercise, and there are also several YouTube videos that can walk you through it. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, then follow the guidance from the app or video you select. You may feel tingling when you concentrate your attention on each body part, or you may feel nothing. Either way, it’s okay. Just stick with it. Every time your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to whatever part of the body you were on before your attention wandered off. If you can’t remember where you left off, start over with the toes on your left foot.
I always used to fall asleep during a body scan. One time when I was super upset, I tried doing a body scan and I stayed awake the whole time and it actually calmed me down. That’s when I realized the beauty of this method. So try it in all different situations and see whether it works for you like it does for me.
- Say Loving Kindness phrases.
I say Loving Kindness phrases to myself all the time. Whenever I feel an emotion coming up that feels bad, my hand automatically goes to my heart and I wish myself gorgeous things like safety, peace, ease, love, and happiness. Even when I’m not upset, I wish these things for myself. On a shelf in my closet, I keep a wooden figure of a woman with angel wings on her back and quotes on her flat body. She stands about sixteen inches tall. Every day, I read the quotes out loud first thing in the morning when I am getting dressed. ‘Dear You, may you give yourself permission to trust your voice, step into your power, and know that what you’re doing matters.’”
- Stay connected.
This seems like a no-brainer but most of us submarine when we get really sad or depressed. Isolating ourselves only makes it easier for depression to take hold.
I know for myself that when I’ve been at the bottom of the snake pit, I really haven’t wanted to share my story with friends because I get sick of hearing my own story. That’s when it’s time to call in reinforcements. I got professional help and paid a wonderful therapist to hear my story.
Do what you need to do for yourself so you can move through the hard times with the support you need — and your biggest ally is YOU, I haven’t been depressed for many years now, and I know that this is due to the combination of medicine, therapy, meditation, and my self-compassion practice.
Julie Potiker is the author of Life Falls Apart, But You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos. Please visit www.MindfulMethodsForLife.com.