Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.

4 Steps to befriend yourself

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Last Saturday I wrote how humor can help us take our own desires a bit more lightly, and allow us to relieve some of the shame and embarrassment around our feelings and wants. “Yep, I want to do a striptease, that’s just my thing. Haha”. Not to make fun of ourselves, but to invite ourselves to accept our own desires for what they are: just desires, not a reflection of our self-worth. Humor can help us befriend ourselves.

Image courtesy to c2.staticflickr.comRick Hanson talks about befriending yourself as a key ingredient of self-care. Being on your own side. Accepting yourself. Taking a stance for who and how you are, with all your desires, however you feel about having them. He offers an exercise to deepen your friendship with yourself. This is my summary:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, and connect to your breath as it flows through you. A quiet, private space can help you focus and feel safe.
  2. Think of a moment, a situation where you really took a stand for someone, listened with an open heart, supported with care and compassion, protected them from harm, encouraged them to grow into their best selves, helped them heal and grief. A moment where you really took someone’s side and supported them wholeheartedly.
  3. What did you do? What did you say? How did you feel? Which needs were met? Which values were alive? Connect to yourself, while you put your hand on that part of your body where this experience resonates, to reinforce the neural pathways of what being a friend means to you. Breathe in all the positive feelings, all the needs met. Take your time to fully connect to this experience of taking a stand.
  4. Now extend this experience of friendship to yourself. Imagine you befriending yourself in the same profound way. What does that look like, how does your life change, if you take a stand for yourself each and every day? Reflect on this, and ACT on it! Throughout this day. Throughout tomorrow. Throughout all days. So that your friendship with yourself grows strong and helps you show up for who you truly are.


You want help to befriend yourself? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a free, discovery session.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping mission-driven professionals bring their lives into balance. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I'm currently in an ICF-coaching certification program. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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