Monday, 14 July 2014

How I became my own best friend ~ {Being Your Own Best Friend - the self care series}

You just call out my name and you know wherever I am I'll come running to see you again. Winter, Spring, Summer or fall. All you got to do is call, and I'll be there. Yes, I will. You got a friend.
- Writer(s): Peter Callander, Mitch Murray

All during my childhood, I sang the song "You've got a friend" out loud. I loved hearing Carole King sing it on the radio. I would daydream about that special best friend that would feel this way about me. It was a longing deep down within me. I would be jealous of other people that had a best friend, and wanted that for myself.This longing continued all during my adulthood. I never did find that elusive 'Bestie' or 'Best Friend' that I craved, until recently.

Last year, to celebrate my 40th birthday, I decide to host a small intimate party, and invite women who had been instrumental in my journey in my 30s. I kept the invite list small on purpose. I decided to write all my guests a letter thanking them for what they brought to my journey. As I did this leading up to the party, it became clear to me that every woman invited had a different strength and gift to bring into my life. I realised that I could sing that Carole King song, not about one of these women, but all of these women. If I needed advice on parenting, I could call on one of them. If I needed a hug and someone to just listen, I could call another. If I needed someone to talk about spiritual things, I would call a different friend.

I started to see that having a 'Best Friend' could be unhealthy. How can you rely on just one person to bring everything to the friendship that this group of women brought to my life? You couldn't. It wouldn't be fair on that person. And then I started to realise that what I was looking for all along, was within me. I could be my own best friend. I could encourage myself, enjoy my own company, rely on myself when I needed someone. Except, I wouldn't be alone, I would have Holy Spirit to guide me, to comfort me, to support me. I still need the group of friends I surround myself with in my life. But I didn't rely on them to meet my  needs any more. I was responsible for my own happiness.

20 years ago, when I first became a follower of Jesus, a verse stuck out for me:

Don't worry, because I am with you. Don't be afraid, for I am your God. I will make you strong and I will help you. I'll support you with your right hand that saves you. -Isaiah 41:10

Recently it dawned on me, that this verse was talking about God empowering Israel in their own strength and reminding Israel that they weren't alone. God was there, making them strong and helping. And then I realised that it was the same for me. God was empowering me in my own strength, and reminding me that I am not alone. It is a very different perspective than the 'Let go and Let God' perspective. This verse was God's way of saying to me, "You can do it! I believe in you. Don't worry about things.Be brave. You are not doing it alone. I am with you, helping you and making you strong." This is just like I want my own children to find their own inner strength, and succeed on their own, but knowing that I am there supporting them and they are not doing it alone.

On the journey to become my own best friend, I had to really get to know myself. I wanted to know my true self, not just the self I thought I was. In order to do this, I had to start the process of beginning a friendship with myself. So, once a week I got my boys looked after, and had a few hours for myself. During this time, I would avoid running errands if I could, and started to do things that I enjoyed. I would sometimes take a yoga class, or write a blog post, or go to the beach and sit, or draw, or sometimes take myself out for lunch. At first it was awkward, like any new friendship. But then I started to get to know myself better, and I really liked my 'true self'. I started listening to my 'gut' more, which I believe comes from my 'true self'. I saw my 'true self' emerging overtime and I really liked her!

I noticed that I hadn't been a very good friend to myself over the years. I didn't treat myself very nice. It's funny how we treat other people better than we treat ourselves. I wrote a few years ago, about how you could only love other people to the same extent that you love yourself. I recognised that my core belief that I was essentially bad (taught to me by the church) was unhealthy and incorrect.
The glory of God and the power of the gospel is not merely about making bad people good. It's about making dead people live. - Jo Hilder
When I recognised that in the garden of Eden, God declared man and woman "good", and that the introduction of sin, made mankind not bad, but dead, it changed everything. I realised that I have always been good, but my spirit was dead, until my spirit connected with Holy Spirit. Then I was alive or 'born-again'. I was never bad. I am essentially good. I am made in His image and He dwells in me.

I started to treat myself as I would a friend. If I was too tired, instead of telling myself "You are so lazy!", I would say, "Rest, dear one. Look after yourself." Whatever advice I would give a friend, I would give myself and take it. I believe that God delights in His children seeing themselves the way He sees them. It's like when our kids discover a new talent and start developing it. I delight in seeing them grow in their gifts. So it is the same with God. Just as it is not healthy that I do everything for my kids, and they learn from their mistakes, so it is with me. When I recognise that I am the strong, smart and loving individual He designed me to be, I stop coming to God and expecting Him to do everything for me. I start standing on my own two feet, confident in the fact that I am never alone, and He is there giving me strength, courage and wisdom.

How about you? Have you learned to become your own best friend?

Still taking lessons from the King,

{Soon, I am going to be starting a series called, "Being Your Own Best Friend - the self care series". Those of you that have been following my blog for a while, know that I am a sporadic blogger. So I am not giving myself a time frame. But somewhere over the next few months, I will find time to write more on this topic, about my journey to becoming my own best friend. Also, I am very excited, as I have asked a few of my online blogging friends to contribute to the series, and bring their own wisdom to the table on this very important topic. I know that you are going to love the perspective these women will bring.}

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  1. Everything you're saying here just resonates so loudly with me. It is NOT about being alone or doing life alone; yes we do need friends but I totally agree it is not necessarily to our advantage to rely on one person more than the others or look to that person as more of a "best friend" or "closest friend of all". Gosh I learnt this the hard way last year when a close friendship came tumbling down around me in the most affronting way! And even the past fortnight since we've moved towns to a place we really know almost nobody... I feel acutely aware of not forcing myself into friendships, but having boundaries and not rushing in or even expecting anything when I meet people here. While it is certainly a bit strange beginning our life afresh here in this new place, I'm also aware that we do have an established family 'culture' and closeness that doesn't require us to add to it by adding "friends" or for the sake of putting ourselves out there socially. So for now we are taking our time and enjoying each other's company more, strengthening what we already have in our "tight 5" and allowing things to happen in their own good time!

  2. You are the most amazing woman. I'm so grateful I know you.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

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Jo Princess Warrior xo