Please note, I'm not talking about the FALSE SELF which seeks validation through external means such as looks, money, unsatisfying relationships, social climbing, fame or material gains. I'm talking about your True Self which endures beneath all the fake stuff. I'm talking about your True Self, which holds the key to life and freedom; the doorway out of the illusion of happiness (unreachable fantasy)... to the reality of true peace and well being.
1. Take time to be alone.
If you Love Yourself and want the best for you, then you must take time with yourself. Spending quality time with yourself, and allowing you to just "be" who you are--whatever that may be... even if it's painful, depressing, sad or happy or glad. Taking time to be there for you with no one else around is crucial. Not being able to be alone with yourself is a sign that you haven't discovered how beautiful you are, and can skew your ability to be there for others, keeping you from equal, healthy relationships.
The reverse is true, if you tend to isolate, then it's important for you to start taking risks and allow your true self to be seen around safe people. CODA Meetings are a great way to start doing this if you have any nearby.
2. Protect yourself from the Inner Critic's shaming statements.
The Inner Critic is formed from the messages you received from not getting your dependency needs met as a child. A child has no boundaries and receives all unmet dependency needs as messages-- whether intended or not from caretakers--as messages of his or her worthlessness. These messages form the inner critic that stays with the person until it is dismounted and reparented in adulthood through soul work. In order to have a good relationship with yourself, you have to do soul work which will protect your Inner Critic from harming your true self. Books to help you with this process include, "Healing the Shame that Binds You" by John Bradshaw and "Soul without Shame" by Byron Brown.
3. Reparent your inner child.
4. Get in touch with your real feelings.
Getting in touch with your real feelings involves going deeper than you are right now to figure out what you're really feeling inside. When I first started understanding this concept, I was shocked to discover that I had no idea how I really felt. I may have been angry with someone, but felt depressed and paralyzed to take action. I may have felt sad, but focused on being a workaholic instead. I may have been afraid, but drank alcohol to soothe my fears. For many years I turned to Christianity to hide from how I really felt. Getting in touch with your real feelings involves naming how you're really feeling so you can reconcile yourself with yourself. Remember, there are 6 basic feelings, Anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise. Try staying congruent with yourself and getting to your core feelings. A therapist can help you with this process.
5. Listen to yourself to determine your needs.
This was a hard one for me. Learning to listen to yourself in order to determine the true need. I never knew what a need was, or that I had a right to have any needs. When I was little I was shamed for my needs, so access to the messaging system in my psyche that I have a specific need was lost along the way. Thankfully you can get the knowledge back and learn the language of your own intuition, your own needs. Your needs express themselves in a variety of ways, from thoughts, to feelings to body sensations. Learning the language of your own needs is crucial to being your own best friend. I can't tell you the relief I've felt when I finally recognized a need of my True Self and was able to meet that need. Whew! It is worth the effort to figure this out.
6. Meet your own emotional needs.
Meeting your own emotional needs involves recognizing your needs in the first place. Taking action to meet your actual needs rather than running to your nearest addiction is a huge step towards befriending your true self. Meeting your own emotional needs is not easy in the beginning because you may have been blocked from getting your needs met for so long; however, it is possible to get some relief by meeting your own needs today. Meet your own emotional needs by taking action, getting out of the house, positive affirmations, visualization, tending to your inner child, making friends with someone safe, allowing some gray area. Just being there for you, sitting with your pain, sharing your pain with your counselor. This deserves it's own article.
7. Take action on your behalf.
Every time you take action to heal, to be alone with yourself, to relate to safe others, to take care of your physical body, to journal, to get in touch with your needs, to meet your needs--every time you do anything for yourself, you are opening the way for your TRUE SELF to come out and shine. Any time you TAKE ACTION to meet your own emotional needs, to take care of yourself, you are being a friend to your True Self. Taking care of you paves the way for loving relationships with yourself, with others, with the universe and with life. Every time you answer the call of your own heart to be there instead of rushing to the nearest external source of validation, you are being a friend to yourself and allowing your True Self to come into the light where you belong.
Your TRUE SELF has likely gone into hiding, especially in our culture today which is based on the notion that people are sinful and need to be punished. Generations before have passed along a legacy of toxic shame and self hatred. We have been raised to be unconscious and self-harming. We've paid a huge price for the ignorance of our parents and our parent's, parents, et al. This abandonment of the true self has led to addictions such as workaholism, alcoholism, sex addiction, love addiction, gambling addiction, internet addiction, porn addiction and a number of other serious assaults to the true self and to true feelings of aliveness. If we are to combat the pain of self annihilation through healing, we must begin by finding our true selves and being our own best friend.
The benefits are endless.