We are not inspired naturally to make friends with ourselves. The concept of a healthy friendship has always been centered around the act of reaching out. Very little is often centered around the act of reaching within. When it comes to self-friendship or self love, we often leave that concept for those embarking on a spiritual journey or purification or some kind of recovery. We assume friendship with self is a response to tragic emotional experiences but not something we can do on regular basis. But is beneficial that we learn to prioritize this aspect of our lives as adults.

Just as we need intentionality to secure a healthy friendship with people, we need equal level of intentionality to secure one with our own selves. One of my favorite quote from Rumi says that what you seek, seeks you. In other words, what we are searching for in people, there’s a part of ourselves that already know it and it’s equally searching for them in us too. The love and intimacy we desire from people, the respect, the passion, the bond and the vulnerability we are seeking externally is constantly and subtly been sought inside of our own souls too.

Often people assume frienship with self is much easier for introverts and yes while introverts have the natural tendencies in feeling comfortable with themselves and by themselves, I believe every temperament can as well pursue a more holistic approach to building friendship with the self.

When people ask me how to be friends with themselves, I begin by telling them to start with intentionally doing for themselves the things they will do for people they care about in friendships.

So below are some tips I have come to embrace when it comes to navigating a strong freindship with myself.

-THE BODY-MIND-SOUL CONNECTION : Ask any body what’s the most desired connection they would want to have with anyone and they will tell you they desire to connect to the deepest part of a person which is their souls. And this is because we appreciate and affirm the soul to be the seat of all that’s naturally pure devoid of pretense.

And for me one of the most essential places to navigate our self loving towards is to embark on the journey of a reconciliation with our minds, our bodies and our souls.

Often we leave these sacred pilgrims to certain group of people like monks, therapist or people on recovery paths.But it’s one of the greatest places to be when we become in tune with my own body- we begin to care for it by putting on healthy habits, our own mind- by feeding it with healthy thoughts, regulating our emotions, reading, etc and finally our own souls- meditating, spending quality time alone, journaling, and all the many activities that help the soul to stay alive.

I think as humans we struggle to often tell the truth to one another because of the consequences or just the challenge that comes with telling the truth sometimes. But it must be that easier to be able to tell ourselves the truth. Truth telling brings us close to ourselves and initiates us to stunning levels of vulnerability. When we learn to tell ourselves the truth, we begin to know ourselves better. We eliminate pretense and we are able to embrace both the beautiful and messy part of our lives.

Forgiveness of self is something a lot of us struggle with. I struggled with that for most part of my early twenties because of the high standards of “rightful living” I had for myself. I still do now sometimes but not with great intensity like my earlier years in adulthood. As I have grown much older and wiser, I have come to realize that practicing forgiveness for some choices, decisions and actions actually becomes my first step to healing. We cannot have healthy friendships outside forgiveness because our limitations as humans propel us into diverse ways where we certainly aren’t always our best selves. Forgiveness also provide us with the room and permission to let go of the past so that we can move on.

There is a signpost at the door of my heart that says ”Wild flowers grow here “. That where all the forgiveness I need for myself in this world happens inside of me.

-Jo Nketiah

I often say to people, treat yourself well because people are watching. The respect we give to our own selves influences what others are likely to give back to us. Just as we have boundaries with people, we should have boundaries with ourselves. We must decide on how far we will let ourselves go through certain things, the zenith of our involvements and interactions with the outside world. I have boundaries with myself in the work place, I use the workplace because it’s one of the places I spent most of my day at. I decide inwardly how far I let myself get into chaotic situations. I intentionally tell myself what things to filter and what things to ignore. And it has been helping. I come home after a long day feeling less burden with all the daily activities as work. It doesn’t come easy, sometimes you need to train yourself to do them.

To be alone is different form being lonely.
It may sound funny to say this but I often tell people I am better off on weekend with my plants and books than anything. Anything means sometimes human beings as well. Those are days I shut my phone off, I get a good book, I binge on documentaries or Netflix, I bake, I do laundry, I do karaoke, I sip wine, I daydream, I fantasize, I nap in long hours, I listen to mediation music or absolutely do nothing. Naturally, being a melancholic woman and a creative person, I love my own company. In fact I know how to be with myself even when I am with someone. I know it when I miss myself, especially on weeks of overwhelming and exhaustion or being around people a lot.

I admire the crave for that intimacy to be with self. I do solo travels when I can. I do solo picnics when I can. And while spending time alone may naturally come easy, there are still many ways I am exploring to spend time with my self. And while I must add that my personal tips aren’t the standard act for spending time alone, I will encourage you to find ways that can help you find time alone with yourself.

It is said that a friend is a second self. And we can’t be better friends with people if we can’t be friends with ourselves. When we become understanding and empathetic of ourselves, we extend that same graciousness unto others.

So take a look at yourself in the mirror, the person you see right there is extending a hand of friendship, come on, go ahead and take it.

Jo Nketiah

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