The Joys of Being Your Own Best Friend

Here are signs of self-compassion:

When faced with personal inadequacies, you don’t judge yourself.
When suffering, you treat yourself with empathy.
Your internal dialogue is gentle and encouraging, rather than harsh and critical.
You realize you’re doing the best you can.

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BENEFITS OF BEFRIENDING YOURSELF

Below are five benefits of being your own best friend.

1. Physical health

Encouraging yourself spurs motivation. This helps you achieve wellness goals. Research published in Health Psychology found that building yourself up rather than tearing yourself down leads to beneficial health decisions. One way to spark incentive is to write down your aspirations and check them off as you achieve them. Break down a goal into small, realistic steps. Then celebrate each accomplishment along the path to victory.

Preliminary research also suggests that self-compassion influences how much you eat and can help you lose weight. When you care about yourself, you’re inclined to make wise choices.

2. A rosy outlook

When you’re happy with yourself, you enjoy enthusiasm, creativity, and optimism. You’re also at a lower risk for anxiety and depression, according to 2011 research reported in The New York Times.

3. Life satisfaction

People at peace with themselves experience overall contentment in most areas of life. A study reported in the International Journal of Current Research evaluated the relationship between self-compassion and life satisfaction. The research involved 381 university students, ages 17-26. They were asked to complete a questionnaire that included two assessments, the “Self-Compassion Scale” and “Satisfaction With Life Scale.” Fulfillment was associated with kindness, awareness, and self-acceptance. Contentment was thwarted by judgment, isolation, and criticism.

4. Resilience

Self-love expedites rebound from adversity. A study in Psychological Science found that newly-divorced people who regarded themselves kindly bounced back faster after separation than those who were self-critical.

5. Meaningful relationships

When you berate yourself, you can’t see the greatness in others. The resultant emptiness leads to loneliness and isolation. When you can acknowledge your gifts and abilities, you recognize these in others as well.

The capacity to forgive is also vital to relationship. In a study reported in This Emotional Life, partners were asked to recall a past offense by their spouse. Those with low self-esteem questioned their partner’s regard for them and then belittled them. Partners with high self-worth continued to think well of their spouse. They believed that love makes room for mistakes and offers forgiveness.

RELATED ARTICLE: Loving Yourself, Loving Your Body

CULTIVATING SELF-WORTH

Now we get to the happy heart of the matter, how to boost a meager self-image.

1. Accept your imperfections.

Everyone has weaknesses. Instead, focus on your strong points. Make a list of 10 things you like about yourself. By coming to terms with flaws, you tap into positive energy.