Remember how simple life used to be when you were a child in grade school. Most of us were lucky enough to have a childhood best friend whom we cherished deeply and treated well. In many cases we actually treated our best friend with more love, respect, and kindness than we did ourselves. From a young age we were taught that if we treated others this way, then they would reciprocate by treating us the same way. However, I have realized that there is a problem with this belief. It does not address how we are supposed to treat ourselves. I realized that in order to truly have a loving, supportive, and long-lasting relationship with someone else, I needed to learn how to be my own best friend first.
I subscribe to the belief that life brings me exactly what I need, when I need it. This past year I have had the privilege of spending time with and getting to know a wonderful and very inspiring woman, Louise Hay (International Best Selling Author of You Can Heal Your Life and Founder of Hay House Publishing). This woman is a true example of “walking the talk.” What she teaches, she practices in her own life every day. One of the biggest gifts I received while spending time with Louise was the opportunity to witness how well she treated herself and how much she enjoyed her own company. Given this unique opportunity, I decided to learn how to become my own best friend too.
Step 1: Learn to Love Yourself More
Over the past six years I have been practicing self-love on what I thought was a rather consistent basis. However, watching Louise allowed me to understand that true self-love runs much deeper than I had realized. From the first thought I had every morning, to how I spoke to myself throughout the day; love needed to be my primary focus. From head to toe, inside and out, Louise helped me find the areas in my life I did not love enough, and got me back on track to loving myself more. With a daily practice of positive affirmations and mirror work I was able to take the foundation of self-love I had already built and spread it throughout all areas of my life.
Step 2: Put Love into Action
The next step in becoming my own best friend was putting that love into action. This meant taking the love I was now expressing to myself, through my thoughts and words, and ensuring that my actions reflected the same intimacy and care. From the foods I put into my body, to the activities I engaged in, to the people I surrounded myself with; all areas of my life were to be aligned perfectly with each other, serving my highest and best good. Observing Louise do this with her life is a thing of beauty. She certainly has all areas of her life covered. She knows exactly what her body needs at all times, she only engages in activities that truly feel good, she expresses herself clearly and fearlessly, and she surrounds herself with the most loving and supportive people who compliment her lifestyle perfectly. I was already doing a lot of this in my own life, but observing Louise allowed me to gain even more insight into knowing what my body needed, and what experiences truly felt good and which ones I could happily live without.
Step 3: Enjoy Your Own Company
This happens naturally when we truly love ourselves and reflect that love in all areas of our lives. It’s always easiest and most fun to hang out with people whom you truly love. Well, the same thing goes for hanging out with yourself. Whether it’s eating meals, going on a walk, or even taking a vacation; enjoying your own company means you can do anything on your own. This also means that you no longer depend on others to provide companionship.
When you become your own best friend you don’t feel self-conscious eating in a restaurant on your own and you don’t mind going on a trip alone either. In fact, spending time with yourself actually becomes extremely enjoyable and relaxing. Louise showed me how spending time by myself could be extremely fulfilling and even adventure-filled. She also showed me how I can have interesting conversations with myself—that was the icing on the cake for me!
After reflecting on these new lessons I realized that the most wonderful thing about learning to become my own best friend was how it opened up my heart to welcome a deeper connection with others. I feel I am now able to truly treat other people the way that THEY want to be treated, and as a result that same love, kindness, and respect flows right back to me!
Take Action Challenge:
Are you relying on others to fill your deepest desires and needs? Are you longing for true companionship and don’t know where to turn? It is time to become your own best friend! Start by creating a daily routine of positive affirmations (positive and loving statements) and say them out loud to yourself as often as possible. Then put self-love into action. Do something every day that FEELS GOOD, eat foods that nourish your cells not just your taste buds, surround yourself with a more supportive community, take yourself out on an intimate date. The more you truly love yourself and the more you put that love into action—the more you will love and enjoy your own company. If we all became our own best friend, think about how much kinder our world would be!
Michael Eisen is an inspirational speaker, author, and the founder of the Youth Wellness Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. After transforming his own life at the age of nineteen, he is now on a lifelong crusade to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthy life. Michael’s first book, Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living, co-authored with his father Jeffrey Eisen, will be released fall of 2012 with Hay House.