Monday, August 17, 2015

3 ‘must haves’ in friendship

My Best Friend n I

In spite of having lived most of my life across different cultures and countries, my friends, old and new have always remained close to my heart and fortunately distance has not diminished the bond we share. They remain, to date - the grounded inner circle when life’s out of control, the integral to the peripheral, those very special ones I (can) rely on morning, noon or night.

But this one friend stands out. Stands apart. This one friend knows my every move. Every thought; sometimes before I think it. Really understands my feelings without having to explain them. Like a sixth sense. A telepathy which happens almost magically. This friend just knows; my every secret, my every heart break, my insecurities and worries, my achievements and my dreams… we share it all.
Truly then, this is a friend for keeps. United in thought, we love, care and support each other like no other. And luckily, luck has nothing to do with it. My best friend and I have worked very hard to come to this place of safe comfort and trust. Now; we are one.

If you’re wondering who this best friend is. Let me tell you without much further ado.
It’s me. I am my own best friend.

“I am the one who dries her tears and listens to her sorrows. I am the one who wakes up in the middle of the night and laments with her over past regrets.

I’m the one who tells her she’s beautiful and supports her passions and innermost desires. I am the one who follows her blindly down undiscovered roads and keeps her company when no one’s around. I am the one who buys her surprises and spoils her silly. I’m her true best friend.” 

Being your own best friend is an important part of self-improvement. It allows you to grow and evolve as a better person. It empowers you to achieve more whilst being comfortable in your own skin. 

So here are 3 fundamental must haves you will need to practice in order to walk that journey of befriending yourself. 

Cut yourself some slack.
Do you expect your best friend to be perfect? Do you punish your good friend with an onslaught of verbal criticism for hours? I doubt that. A true friend accepts both the good and bad in you without passing judgement. They realize that no one is perfect. If your best friend/s is going through a rough time you don’t tell him/her, what a loser he/she is, how miserably messed up they are or how things will never change for them. Instead you are encouraging, motivating and empathetic. You say things like, ‘don’t worry, this too will pass’ or ‘that’s ok, you did your best.’ You try to help them, cheer them up, sometimes by taking the time to give their story a positive spin and point them towards the direction of renewed hope and gratitude.

Be that friend to yourself first.

Rule of thumb: If you wouldn't say it to your best friend, don't say it to yourself.

Make yourself feel special.
A best friend goes out of his/her way to make you feel special. Shares honest appreciation. Celebrates your victories with you. For you. They’ll wish you the best and in general go out of their way to make you feel like you’re a superstar. Together you have a blast.

Think about it. When most of us think of enjoying ourselves, we usually equate it with other human contact. However, going to the movies, joining interest groups, booking a table at a favorite restaurant, a nice warm bath, a delicious smoothie ... there are many things we can treat ourselves to each day.  We just need to take the time and put the effort into doing them. 

Try developing an enjoyable interest that you can pursue alone. Doing so will help to deepen your bond with yourself.

Rule of thumb: If you do it with/for a best friend; do it for yourself too.

Love yourself unconditionally.
In true friendship, unconditional love develops. You love your best friend no matter what and will always want the best for him/her. However when it comes to yourself, there are limitations. You’ll love yourself when you get to your ideal weight, get the dream job or home or worse still you’ll only love yourself when you find someone who loves you.
Instead of supporting yourself, you often drown your grievances by indulging in food and other addictions including self-pity and other self-destructive behaviors. Learning how to face our barriers, instead of escaping from them, is one of the most essential (albeit a tad difficult) way of developing self-love. 
Try this as a head start to treating yourself more kindly. Take time out (e.g. whenever you wake up or go to sleep), to say nice things to yourself. Sounds cheesy, but it's a proven way to boost self-worth and happiness. Effective self-talk examples could include: "I forgive myself", "I let go of my past", "I treat my body well", "I love being myself", etc.
Learn to value and respect yourself.
Rule of thumb: If you love your best friend; love yourself first.
Go ahead. Be your own best friend. And then someday; your best friend and my best friend can be best friends too.

Tasneem Kagalwalla for personal development and support in overcoming personal or professional challenges.
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  1. Perfectly true I appreciate.

  2. Treat yourself good and others will, so it seems? but what if that will go so far as to stand in the way of the perfecting yourself?

    1. Hey... sorry for late response... why would it?! I'm not suggesting loving yourself as a replacement to self improvement. I'm recommending loving yourself whilst continuously improving. Love - allows/encourages you to grow and evolve as a better person. It empowers you to achieve more whilst being comfortable in your own skin.