First there was Melissa, who was two years old when I was born. Then came Heather in kindergarten, Julie in 5th grade, Andrea in 7th, and a continuing stream of loving and meaningful friendships throughout high school, college and into my professional years. Deeply caring friends have graced my presence all of my life, and I still keep in touch with most of them.
In his famous poem, desiderata, Max Ehrmann wrote, “As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.” Someone must have read this poem to me early in life, because it is imprinted on my bones. Tending to friendships is of utmost importance to me, as relationships are key to a wonderful life. How, then, about being on good terms -- like, really good terms -- with myself?
My life would be awful without my dearest friendships, yet what is most important is that I am willing to be my own best friend.
So how is this done?
My daughter’s godfather Jeremy comes to mind. After being laid off from his job of many years, he planned to go on a California coastal bike tour to find a fresh perspective on life. Ready to go, he injured his ACL, delaying the venture several months until he rehabilitated his knee. After months of rest and dedication, last week he pedaled off, realizing his long held dream before starting a new job with no regrets. This is what it’s like to be your own best friend.
Cliches become cliche for good reason. What would you do if you knew you had only one year left to live? Write that down. Put it on your wall, in front of your computer, or tape it to your bathroom mirror. Commit. When will you do that thing? Because you just might have a year left. Or you might have 40. Either way, waiting is overrated.
Powerful questions provide a very simple way to access our inner wisdom and quiet the noise we let get in the way. Being our own best friend means, first and foundationally, being honest with ourselves.
Try this → If your “best” friend were sitting in front of you right now, and you asked her/him to tell you the top three things s/he felt you most needed to hear, with zero holding back, what would they be?
You don’t need to ask anyone. You know within yourself. Pretend you're highly clairvoyant.
What are you pretending not to know?
What makes you happy on a daily basis? It can be simple (and often is). What big dream are you withholding from yourself? How can you take one small step toward that dream today? I’d love to hear your thoughts here!
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a lifelong letter writer, a mother, freelance consultant and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. This deeply personal blog and our recorded talks and workshops are devoted to one of her great passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.