Making yourself a priority is hard. Most of us like to put everyone else first; looking after ourselves comes last, if at all. In my practice, I focus on helping people to cultivate a deep, compassionate, resilient and steadfast relationship with themselves. It is not selfish or overindulgent, it is survival.

Our happiness and contentment is 100% our own responsibility – not our partners, parents, childrens or friends.

We are responsible for being aware of our own core values and strengths; our habits and patterns; what makes us feel happy and fulfilled; and what makes us feel sad or overwhelmed. This is usually not how we have been raised, we have been raised to please others first and to bury or distract ourselves from our feelings and thoughts. Not only have we been taught to distract ourselves from our own feelings but we have not been taught to describe our feelings.

Research has shown that many people do not know the difference between, a thought and a feeling. A thought is often an opinion or an assumption, open to interpretation. Often-times we describe our thoughts in a sentence, “It’s going to be a bad day.” However ,when it is a feeling we need only use one or two words, “I feel worried.”

The power of having an awareness of your thoughts and feelings means that you are working in concert, you are not struggling against yourself, pulled in all directions. Your thoughts, feelings and behaviours are streamlined and you are present for your full lived experience.

Becoming aware of your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours is not the easiest thing to do, but it is well worth the effort. It takes about as much effort as it took for you to know your closest friend.

I can tell you how my closest friend is feeling just by seeing her face. I know what makes her feel happy, I know that if she is frustrated or angry to not offer help or advice unless she asks, I know that she needs me to be direct and honest, always. I know that family, connection, respect and authenticity are very important to her.

Can you say the same about yourself?

Do you know your core values? How you might react in a certain situations?

There are several ways to cultivate a close friendship with yourself, the following are examples of what works for me:

Investigate my core values & strengths.

Recognise & acknowledge my own feelings.

Build a tool-kit to help myself in uncertain times.

Learn to respond rather than react.

Learn to be compassionate towards myself.

Engage in daily mindful meditation.

Get to know yourself, cultivate an interest and a curiosity in your own experience, be to yourself what you are to your closest friend.

Sara Copley, MA. IMCPP

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0044 7941 551 998