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  • Writer's pictureCoach Elizabeth Brink

Befriending Yourself

Friendship is complicated for many of us. A lot of us struggle to fit in or act in "socially acceptable" ways. Everyone places a different value on having friends.

The value of a meaningful friendship depends on your needs and the other person's needs.

DEVOTED/de ·vot·ed / dəˈvōdəd very loving or loyal; firm in one's allegiance to someone or something - Merriam Webster Dictionary

We can have different kinds of friendships – acquaintances, people we know a little more than that but who are still mysterious to us, good friends we spend time with who we don't know that well, others we feel known by but we don't know that much about them.

For many of us, our inner circle people have either known us a long time, seen us through a valley, or are those with whom we've found a kindred connection.

These "best friends" make us feel at ease being ourselves and don't expect us to mask. They see us, they like us, and they give us grace. They have a firm allegiance to us.

I want you to know that you are no less lovable or whole if you have not belonged to another in this way. Deep friendship is not a universal experience.

What does it mean to befriend oneself?

It's much easier to reflect on friendship with someone else. We can see how we show up and can appreciate what they bring to our lives. Looking at how we interact with ourselves is the hard work of building self-allegiance. All of the attributes among two friends can apply to how we approach ourselves.

  • You may find yourself in seasons of closeness to or distance from yourself.

  • You may not always like yourself.

  • You may not always provide a safe space for yourself to be vulnerable.

  • You may make yourself laugh harder than anyone else can.

  • You may feel deep pride or admiration for your strengths.

  • You may appreciate the unique way you move through the world.

Some of us are getting better at noticing how we feel and what we need, whether it be a drink of water, a nap, or a venting session. That is the beginning of a friendship. The care you would give to a new friend is possible to offer to yourself.

What if you could say you're in a firm allegiance with yourself?

What if you could go about your day and periodically compliment yourself without disclaimers of your shortcomings?

This may sound silly, but I want to challenge us to not write off the idea of being a best friend to ourselves until we've earnestly tried it.

One of the members in our Enclave Collaborative discussion brought up the idea of non-judgmental positive regard (also known as unconditional positive regard): "a concept developed by the humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers, is the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does." (Source: Wikipedia)

Many of us find it natural to extend this to others, but painfully difficult to turn it toward ourselves. In essence, being a good friend to yourself is giving the same energy, attention, affection, and care to ourselves that we freely pour out on others.

Being your own friend is more than saving a morsel for yourself. It is taking the first piece.

Reflection Questions

Feel free to comment below with any insights or responses to this article, we love to hear your responses!

  • What does it mean or look like to be firmly in allegiance with yourself?

  • What's your current relationships status with yourself? What do you want it to be?

  • What attributes do you possess in friendship with others that could be repurposed in loving yourself?

  • What's ONE THING you could do this week to foster friendship with yourself?

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