379: How (and Why) to Be Your Own Best Friend
Wednesday April 17, 2024

Thank you for reading TSLL. The first two posts are complimentary. You have 1 free post view remaining this month.

Become a Member for as little as $4/mo and enjoy unlimited reading of TSLL blog.

Befriend yourself and you have a friend for life.

This simple saying, often expressed, while true, is often not understood as to how it can be possible. But the most awesome news I want to share with you today is that you have had the answers to so much of the peace, calm, and clarity you have been seeking traveling within you all this time. How to tap into and what exactly are you looking for? That is what we are going to talk about today.

Inspired by a book that was written in 1971 Mildred Newman and her husband, both psychologists, Bernard Berkowitz, the title was originally How To be Your Own Best Friend: A Conversation With Two Psychoanalysts. Consisting of only 74 pages, their insights are shared, as this title suggests, in conversation form – questions followed by answers.

While little known when the couple originally self-published, it was with the help of author, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron, who upon reading the book quite liked it so she introduced the authors to her book agent upon which it then became a national bestseller (learn more about how she helped in this article published earlier this year). Picking up my own copy and zooming through it, I found common sense advice, grounded in approachable guidance sharing reminders and nudges of how we can help ourselves out but often are too timid to do so due to a variety of cultural circumstances and pressures.

As I read, the overlap of choosing to be your best friend and finding and experiencing contentment quickly became apparent, and having just wrapped up producing all of the filmed lessons for TSLL’s Contentment Masterclass, as you will discover when you enroll, knowing ourselves and honoring what we find to be true for ourselves resides at the core of a fulfilling life. In the words of the authors, becoming our best friend is sage wisdom to follow. However, what does that look like? Being our own best friend? That’s what I want to share with you today and the benefits of doing so.

Let’s get started.

~Note to readers: The audio version of this episode includes detailed explanations and explorations of each of the listed items below. Be sure to tune in as we discuss each of the 16 points below.

1. Stop waiting to live fully

“We will continue to operate way below capacity [of being happy] if we continue to look for someone to give us the key to the kingdom [of happiness]. We must realize that the kingdom is in us; we already have the key. It’s as if we are waiting for permission to start living fully. But the only person who can give us permission is ourselves. We are accountable only to ourselves for what happens to us in our lives. We must realize that we have a choice: we are responsible for our own good time.”

2. Nourish yourself rather than deplete or criticize yourself

“If you decide you want to help yourself, you can choose to do the things that make you feel good about yourself instead of the things that make you feel terrible.”

Posts/Episodes to explore: episode #122: Why Not . . . Have Self-Compassion?

3. Practice regular self-care

“Doing what makes you feel good about yourself is the opposite of self-indulgence. It doesn’t mean gratifying an isolated part of you; it means satisfying your whole self, and this includes the feelings and ties and responsibilities you have to others, too . . . if you don’t learn how to [take care of yourself], you can never care properly for others.”

Posts/Episodes to explore: episode #242: 31 Ways to Practice True Self-Care and Exponentially Improve the Quality of Your Daily Life

4. Linger longer and savor what works out, what goes well

“When you do something you are proud of, dwell on it a little, praise yourself for it, relish the experience, take it in . . . It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn’t, and when it does, we may well reject it. It is not what others say to us that counts. We all love praise, but have you ever noticed how quickly the glow from a compliment wears off? When we compliment ourselves, the glow stays with us. It is still good to hear it from others, but it doesn’t matter so much if we have already heard it from ourselves.”

5. Invest your finite energy wisely

“Instead of convincing ourselves beforehand that something we want to do is impossible, we should spend those energies looking for ways to do it . . . That’s what growth is: doing things you’ve never done before, sometimes things you once didn’t even dream you could.”

6. Relinquish self-imposed limits

“When you don’t set limits on your efforts, great things can come out of them.”

7. Embrace and honor your genuine (true) self

“When we use our willpower to achieve goals that do not spring out of us, but which we set for the sake of pleasing others or to fulfill a fantasy about who we are, we create a kind of monster, a mechanical man in which our living self is trapped . . . [people who are held together by sheer willpower] aren’t people we enjoy being with—or who enjoy being with themselves.”

8. Let go of past grievances

“As long as you spend your energies being angry at the people who deprived you once, you won’t spend your effort on getting for yourself what you need now . . . life lies in another direction. It lies in letting go, in giving up your grievances.”

9. Recognize and honor the necessity of time alone

“To be abandoned is a terrifying prospect to a child; [they] literally couldn’t survive it. But for an adult, aloneness is something quite different. [They] not only can survive, [they] often need aloneness to grow, to get to know themselves and develop their powers. Someone who cannot tolerate aloneness is someone who doesn’t know they’re grown up.”

“What fresh air we breathe when we take possession of our own separateness [from approval of our parents psychologically and literally for some], our own integrity! That’s when our adult life really begins.”

10. Understand what fully being grown-up requires

“You have to live through those feelings [of discomfort or guilt for living our life without approval from our parents/care givers] if you ever want to grow up completely. What you’re [letting go of] is your fear of them and their power over you. In a very ruthless, primitive way, you have to choose yourself over them. If you go on subordinating your needs and impulses and wishes to theirs, you will never come into your own.”

11. Make friends with the Present moment

“Become friendly toward it, welcome it no matter in what disguise it comes and soon you will see the results. Life becomes friendly toward you; people become helpful, circumstances cooperative. One decision changes your entire reality.” —Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

“The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego.”

“If your relationship with the Now is dysfunctional, that dysfunction will be reflected in every relationship and every situation you encounter.”

“[When] the present moment is regarded and treated as if it were an obstacle to be overcome, this is where impatience, frustration and stress arise.”

“As long as the present moment is seen as an obstacle [to overcome in order to be happy], there can be no end to the problems. ‘I’ll be whatever you want me to be’, says Life or the Now. ‘I’ll treat you the way you treat me. If you see me as a problem, I will be a problem to you. If you treat me as an obstacle, I will be an obstacle.”

~post to explore: Just Be and That is Who You Are. There is No Try.

12. Understand the paradox of seizing opportunities when presented

“There is more than enough to go around. Developing our human resources doesn’t use them up; it only enlarges our possibilities. And those resources do not keep. If you do not mine them now, they are lost forever.”

“There are no limits to how much we can grow and develop, but time limits us.”

13. Choose to grow (a growth mindset), understanding what it entails

“Genuine growth means having the courage and confidence to try new things, and in the process, to let go of old ones. But you move on because it’s more interesting and exciting to take on new challenges; you may be scared, too, but you’re also attracted. This doesn’t mean you have to despise the self you were. You let go of what you don’t need anymore because you are onto something better.”

14. Let go of unseen pressures and be your full self

“But if you have the courage to endure that wrench and that awareness, it will pave the way for something far better than the childlike dependence you gave up: the true intimacy that is only possible between equals, between adults. That’s when the fun really begins. When people are in full possession of themselves, when they really know who they are and are who they are, that’s when they can really open themselves up to others.”

15. Know yourself and live genuinely and you give yourself a life to love every day

“When we begin to make available to ourselves our own possibilities, it is like drilling a well to an untapped energy reserve, like finding a bank account we haven’t yet used . . . you never run out [of enjoyment of life]; you are never bored. It is also old-age security.”

16. A true friend for life’s entire journey

“We can all help ourselves to change, to grow, to become the person it is in us to be. We can learn to be our own best friend. If we do, we have a friend for life . . . We are our best source of encouragement and good advice. We are all accustomed to waiting for someone to give us a kind word, but we already have available to ourselves many kind words.”

Yet again, simplicity comes to the forefront of our lives when it comes to knowing how to live well. We often get in our own way and errantly assume that living well requires us to find something outside of ourselves that we cannot possible possess naturally within. The wonderful news I hope you’ve discovered today is that you have the ahas within you when you know what you are looking for and how to apply them in your day-to-day life.

61dp9tmxeal. Sl1200

~Sign up for one of TSLL’s free newsletters to receive all of TSLL’s news, sales and promo codes as well as stay caught up on all of the posts shared here on the blog, the podcast and more.

~Learn more about the benefits of becoming a Member (TOP or BASIC) of TSLL.

Franklin, AppleTV+

  • New episodes every Friday.
Episode 331 2

Watch the trailer below:


2 thoughts on “379: How (and Why) to Be Your Own Best Friend

  1. Shannon, it’s so obvious but not many of would think of befriending ourselves. Yet, we spend lots of time nourishing outside friendships. Some of which will not survive. I know that we get angry and beat ourselves up sometimes over some of our actions but it never lasts.I think if you befriend yourself it’s enduring and it can only lead to long lasting contentment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

From TSLL Archives
Updated British Week 1.jpg
Updated French Week 2.jpg