047: 6 Ways to Be a Friend to Yourself


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Some of the most effective (and often overlooked) ways we can develop a self-friendship.

I remember when I started to do friendly things for myself it felt a bit awkward. But when I began experiencing some big positive changes I knew I was doing something very right.

The most significant change (which I didn’t see coming) was being able to express myself more freely around other people. Instead of overthinking how to say what I wanted to say, I would just say it. Retrospectively, I realised this was happening because I wasn’t as concerned with other people’s thoughts and ideas about me, as I was providing myself with validation and support as I needed it.

Over the years I’ve continued exploring the different ways of being a self-friend, and in this episode, I share some of the most effective ways I’ve discovered for developing this friendship along with the situations in which they can be used.

I’ve also included some of the small yet powerful internal actions which I often overlooked when I first started this self-friendly exploration.

Show Notes

Click a time marker to hear the full podcast.

Self-Friendship 101 00:59

  • A good rule of thumb is: treat yourself the same way you would treat a good friend.
  • I only discovered it was possible to have a friendship with myself at the age of 27. Once I began treating myself like a friend I experienced huge positive shifts occur in my life. I no longer cared as much about what other people thought about me.

The quality of your relationship with yourself will dictate the quality of all other relationships in your life.

  • If you’re treating yourself with compassion and kindness, the chances are high that you’ll also treat the people around you with the same level of compassion and kindness. On the other hand, if you’re not so kind to yourself you may find you have less compassion and kindness for those around you.

1. Ask Yourself What You Need 03:50

  • Taking a moment to ask yourself what you need is a friend-making action.
  • Imagine a friend that’s having a rough day, you would ask them what they need and then listen to their answer. Doing the same thing for yourself is a self-befriending action.
  • The more we ask ourselves this question and provide ourselves with what we need, the easier it becomes to do it in the future.
  • It’s easy to dismiss the small internal actions we take for ourselves. However, they’re often the most powerful.

2. Take Yourself Out of Unpleasant Situations 06:53

  • I ignored how I was feeling in unpleasant situations because I didn’t want to cause trouble or make other people uncomfortable by leaving a situation.
  • We build trust with ourselves when we take ourselves out of unpleasant situations.
    We lose trust in ourselves to take ourselves out of unpleasant situations when we don’t act on how we’re feeling.
  • We aren’t obliged to stay in situations we find unpleasant.
  • If you’re in an unpleasant conversation, simply thank the person for the conversation and excuse yourself from the interaction. That’s all you need to do.
  • It’s important not to ignore our feelings.
  • We can’t be perfect at this. There will still be times we fail to remove ourselves from unpleasant situations. However, if the general trend is to take ourselves out of these situations, then our trust in ourselves will continue to grow.

3. Give Yourself Permission to Feel Exactly How You Feel 11:21

  • Acknowledging our feelings and accepting them with compassion is a friendly action.
  • It’s can be difficult to accept how you’re feeling because it can feel like they’ll overwhelm you if you give them the space to be.
  • I often find myself trying to control my feelings or think myself out of them. This only creates more tension and leaves me feeling blocked up.
  • To remove the block; become aware of what you’re feeling and give yourself permission to feel everything you’re feeling.
  • Any amount of acceptance you bring to your feelings will bring relief to them.
  • Acknowledging how we are feeling is a powerful yet often overlooked step to being a friend to yourself.

4. Nurture Your Body 15:00

  • We can be friendly to ourselves by nurturing our bodies.
  • Take yourself through a full grooming routine.
    • Take a long shower
    • Take a hot bath
    • Brush your hair
    • Listen to your favourite music

5. Speak Your Truth 16:25

  • Speaking what’s true for us is a self-befriending action. We show ourselves that what we’re feeling is important and deserves to be heard by others.
    • Say “yes” when you mean yes, and “no” when you mean no.
    • Say “I don’t know” when you don’t know.
  • I would often go along with the things other people wanted to do and realise afterwards it wasn’t something I wanted to do.
  • If you’re having trouble listening to someone because you’re tired, let them know you’re tired and are having trouble listening to them. Pretending your listening isn’t good for you or the other person.
  • We can often feel we don’t have the right to ask the questions we have when interacting authority figures (doctors, bosses, police person).
  • We have the right to ask a question if we didn’t understand everything a person has said.
  • By expressing what’s true for us we are letting ourselves know that our internal state is valid, and is important to us.

6. Spend Time With Yourself 20:48

  • Taking yourself to do something nice with yourself for an hour every week is a powerful way to connect with yourself and be a friend. These outings are for you only and definitely not related to work in any way.
  • Some examples of nice outings:
    • Go to your favourite shop
    • Watch the sunset
    • Take yourself to the movies
    • Take yourself on a long drive
    • Any place which is exciting to you or makes you feel at ease, go there.

In Closing 23:51

Every one of these steps is a reinforcement, and a building of, the trusting relationship that you have with yourself.

With a stronger self-relationship, you will naturally be yourself because you are no longer dependent on the judgements and opinions of other people.

Let Me Know How I’m Doing 24:48

If you’ve been getting something out of the podcast, it would mean a lot to me if you could share your thoughts in the form of an iTunes review. By leaving a review you help other people discover the same content you’ve been enjoying.

On the other hand, if you haven’t been enjoying something about the podcast, let me know here and I’ll take your feedback onboard.

See you next Sunday.

Mentioned in This Episode

Featured image by
Benson Kua

Licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Podcast

The B is for Being Podcast is a collection of conversations with friends, psychologists, and thought-leaders on the most effective tools for uncovering authentic expression and navigating the obstacles we may encounter on the way to discovering ourselves.

About Benjamin

Hi, I’m Benjamin. I podcast and blog about authentic expression and self-discovery. I also make slow-videos for rest and reflection. You can read more about me here.

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