When something feels difficult, our default reaction can be to run away from it. Whether this is a situation in our lives or an overwhelming emotion we’re experiencing within, running away is rarely the solution. It can be very confusing to figure out what to do when we are in a rut, feeling powerless, helpless, or lonely.
When you want to run, think about how you would help a friend and apply this to yourself. Let’s dive into what it can look like to befriend yourself.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself
As if you’re asking a friend, ask yourself:
- How am I feeling right now?
- What’s happening in my body?
- What’s going on in my life?
Curiously listen to the answers as they arise, as if you are listening to your friend opening up to you vulnerably, honestly, and authentically.
Feel Where Tension Is in Your Body
How would you react to a friend telling you they’ve been feeling sad and depressed? Bring that same compassion you’d give to a friend to yourself, to where in your body you’re feeling any tension, numbness, or heaviness. Put your hands in these spots in your body, breathe deeply, and soften. Stay with yourself like this at least for 10 minutes.
Maybe your friend is telling you that they’ve been really tired lately. What would you say to them? Would you blame or shame them for their tiredness, or would you listen with curiosity and gentleness? Listen to your tiredness in this way. Breathe into it and stay with it. Honour it and give yourself what you need. Rest as much as you can to rejuvenate yourself.
Avoid Shaming Yourself
If you’re feeling ashamed about something you’ve done or said to someone, think about what advice you would give to a friend going through the same situation. Would you point the finger at your friend and make them feel worse, or would you try to understand why they behaved that way? Stay with your shame and guilt with this same openness. Learn from how you’re feeling and see what this situation can teach you.
Becoming friends with yourself, your own emotions and feelings is a great defence against feelings of deep inner loneliness, depression, and anxiety. When you befriend yourself, you open up your internal world with the same kindness and curiosity that you would show a close friend; you soften. This softening allows you to feel whole, even if you’re still in pain.
Befriending yourself in this way allows you to accept how you’re feeling instead of trying to change it. Once acceptance is there, once you give your emotions a bit more space to be, they tend to expand and transform on their own.
Living this way, we begin to feel truly safe within, truly at peace, because we are continuously learning to face our lives instead of automatically running away from difficulty.
We start to live, instead of only surviving.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and/or substance use, give us a call today. Our team at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic is ready to answer any questions you may have and can point you in the right direction.