Do you remember when you were a child and were told by adults to "Play nice", "Share your toys", and "Say sorry"? Whether they used these exact expressions or similar ones, it's likely that the adults in your life were trying to teach you the basics of befriending others. The real question is, in addition to befriending others, how many of us were actually taught to befriend ourselves?
Ponder this: How do you live with yourself when you feel guilty? What do you say to yourself when you are sad? Where do you take yourself when you feel lonely? What's your relationship with yourself like when you're glad?
The implicit message that I believe most of us receive is that somehow we're supposed to naturally and automatically befriend ourselves. We're supposed to naturally and automatically know ourselves inside out. We're supposed to naturally and automatically tend to ourselves through thick and thin. We're supposed to naturally and automatically love ourselves unconditionally. Right?
In a way, I definitely agree with this implicit message. It is in our nature to know ourselves, tend to ourselves, and love ourselves fully. But more often than not, that nature of ours is veiled by cultural norms, family traditions, and healthy defense mechanisms that are meant to shield us from the hard edges of life. (Read the rest here)
I've spent a good chunk of the last 15 years in recovering--or better yet, uncovering--my true self from cultural norms that dictated how to put myself last and tend to others first, from family traditions that prescribed a heavy and strict dose of "study, build a career, marry, and have children," and lastly from nifty defense mechanism, like dissociation, that allowed my body to continue functioning in present time while my true self was hidden far far away.
Though we're supposed to naturally and automatically be our own best friends, I (like many others) was so scarred by life that not only did I not want to be friends with myself but often (sadly) I was my own worst enemy.
Many of you know exactly what I am describing here, whether to a large or small extent. And to all of you out there, I want to say that there is a way out of this paradigm. But it's actually not a "going out"--it's a coming in.
Within you is the love you're always looking for. Within you is the comfort and ease. Within you is the great power of healing. Within you is boundless joy. Within you is true happiness and delight. Within you is bliss.
Most importantly, within you is your own self--your potential best friend and lifelong loving partner.
Are you interested in learning how to meet your emotions? Do you want to figure out how to deal with all your thoughts? Are you wishing to understand how to live in harmony with your own body? These are truly the elements of an everlasting friendship with yourself, and they are all available for you right here and right now.
How do you embark on or continue in a process of befriending yourself?
Other resources that may support you in cultivating a path to your own equanimity amidst chaos are my recent blog on cultivating internal safety and/or iRest Yoga Nidra Meditations for immediate digital download.
May you always feel the loving support of your own friendship,
-- Shira Oz-Sinai
Befriending yourself is a lifelong process.
Share your thoughts, comments, and experiences below!
Shira Oz-Sinai is a spiritual teacher trained in iRest® Yoga Nidra meditation and Soul Lightening Acupressure®, two modalities that share the common principle of noticing what arises in awareness as the foundation to living life with ease and in deep and loving friendship with yourself. These are her musings.