How to be a Friend to Yourself
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How to be a Friend to Yourself

Trying to be a better friend to yourself sounds like an odd idea. Initially because we naturally imagine a friend as someone else, not as a part of our own mind. But there is value in the concept because of the extent to which we know how to treat our own friends, with the sympathy and imagination we seldom apply, to ourselves. If a friend is in trouble our first instinct is rarely to tell them that they are fundamentally a sh*thead and a failure If a friend complains that their partner isn’t very warm to them, we don’t tell them they’re getting
what they deserve we try to re-assure them that
they’re essentially likeable and that it’s worth investigating what might be done. In friendship we know instinctively how to deploy strategies of
wisdom and consolation that we stubbornly refuse to apply to ourselves. There are some key moves a good friend would typically make which can provide a model for what we should, ideally be doing with ourselves, in our own heads. Firstly, a good friend likes you
pretty much as you already are. Any suggestion they make or ambition they have about
how you could change builds on a background of acceptance. When they propose that you might try
a different tack it’s not an ultimatum or a threat. They’re not saying that you have to change
or be abandoned. A friend insists we’re good enough, already, but they want to join forces with us to solve a challenge they feel we would properly benefit, from overcoming. Without being flattering, good friends also constantly keep in mind certain things, we’re getting right! They don’t think anything wrong
(background cheering) with the odd compliment
(background cheering) and emphasis on our strengths.
(background cheering) It’s quietly galling how easily we can lose sight of all our own good points, when troubles strike. A friend doesn’t fall into this trap. They can acknowledge the difficulties while still holding on to a memory of our virtues. The good friend is compassionate; when we fail, as we will they are understanding and generous around our mishaps. Our folly, doesn’t exclude them from the
circle of their love. The good friend definitely conveys that to err, fail and screw up is just what we humans do. We all emerge from childhood with various biases in our character which evolved to help us cope with our necessarily imperfect parents and these acquired habits of mind will reliably let us down in adult life. But, we’re not to be blamed because we didn’t deliberately set out to
be like this. We didn’t realistically,
have a lot of better options We’re indelibly required to make big decisions before we ever really understand
what’s at stake or how our choices will play out. We steering blind in all our large moves
around love and work. We opt for a move to a different city but we can’t possibly know whether
we’re going to flourish there We have to select a career path
when we’re still young and we don’t know what our
latent needs will be in long term relationships We have to make a commitment
to another person before we understand
what it will be like to tie our lives, so deeply to theirs’ The good friend knows that failures are not in fact, rare They bring as a starting point their own and humanity’s vivid experience
of messing up into play as key points of reference. They’re continually telling us that our specific case, might be unique but that the general structure, is common. People, don’t just sometimes fail Everyone fails, only, we don’t know about it It’s ironic, yet essentially hopeful that we usually know quite well how to be a better friend to near strangers than we know how to be, to ourselves. The hopefulness lies in the fact that we do actually already possess the relevant skills of friendship. It’s just, we haven’t as yet directed them to the person, who probably needs the most namely, of course ourselves.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “How to be a Friend to Yourself

  1. I'll probably never be a friend to myself because of the constantly very painful psychological damage I have that came from all the penalties of my past inactions. I had an art block, missed a few months of drawing and then squandered even more months because I was so upset about my previous wasted months. If only I forced myself to draw. I hate myself so much and can't live with myself, having to rely on distracting myself to make being alive more bearable. Either the passage of time isn't working or is working at a glacial pace.

  2. Hmmm is being friend to myself by talking to myself a.k.a fantazasing characters talking to eachother and going on adventures? Then I am a friend to myself😆

  3. I've just got out of a bad relationship that damaged my self esteem. I need to be a better friend to myself but I don't know how 🙁 just trying to stay productive with work…

  4. See

  5. After Awhile,
    You learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. You learn love doesn't mean leaning and company doesn't always mean security.
    And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises. And you learn to build all your roads on today. Because tomorrows ground is too uncertain for plans. And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After awhile you learn that even Sunshine burns if you ask for too much.
    So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
    And you learn that you really can endure. That you really are strong. You really do have Worth. -It's shortened. The Point is, No matter what. You have to be okay with You. All of You. If your reading this by chance. Please Know that You are Awesome and deserve the Best! Peace and Love Always ♡

  6. That is so true! I do believe it's one of the best ways how to be in a harmony with yourself

  7. Thank you School of Life team and the Artists of this video and every other video that is reflecting what humanity is experiencing and learning through. – I recently had a big wake up call that I didn't know how to be a friend to myself, (and I'm a trainee Transpersonal Art Therapist). I thought I was listening and seeing, but I found that I had actually never learned. I'm now retraining myself to truly see, and hear, consciously; the 'Goethean Observation' way (Spiritual+Science, not just the singular mechanistic science side which felt a tad inauthentic somehow).

  8. Be yourself. Figure out what you love and do it everyday. Ignore what other people think, and you'll notice that the right people will begin to gravitate towards you. You'll also start to notice that you care less and less about what others think, because you're perfect the way you are.

  9. Hey
    Stopping by to say
    God loves you
    He has a plan for you
    He made you
    Listen to music more often
    The good kind
    I have healed you
    He says
    Your heart and all your hurts
    And I am here for you

  10. Love others as you love urself is an equation rather than an injunction.
    Embracing and loving the sinner who is urself, as much as forgiving and aiding someone else who is stumbling and imperfect

  11. Even if you think you are not good enough, just know other people are also hurting inside. In fact, there is most likely someone who wishes they were like you! It may seem like that evil voice will never leave, but that is the voice that is tell you so. Keep fighting against that voice and soon enough it will go away. I hope you have a great day

  12. I can be the best friend in the world to myself, treat myself with gentleness, compassion, playfulness, etc. But none of us can survive in isolation forever, no matter how much we like our own company. I'm not saying that this video is wrong – no one can help us or be true friends with us if we don't love ourselves first. Does ANYONE have friends or family that will pull them out of a pit of despair/anger/fear the way the scribbly cartoon friend did here? I don't. Once I'm in that hole of darkness, I'd die there if I didn't keep pulling myself out. I've never had people around me who will step in when I'm clearly in serious trouble & take action. I've done it for others so many times – skipped whole months of work to simply be with someone I love who was in so much pain they shouldn't be left alone, ignored my own needs (temporarily) to help others, went without meat for two weeks so I could give that money to a family that got burned out of their house, & so much more. I think we need more education in how to really help each other because right now, the advice always seems to say, "if someone in your life is a negative influence in any way, cut them out because they'll just drag you down. They don't REALLY want help, they just want attention." [Explain THAT statement to me – yes, I want attention, attention in the form of helping me solve a problem I can't solve myself, so that I can GET to a point where I don't always need help]. I know this may seem silly to some people, but I really believe in that phrase they used on the TV show Lost: "We either live together, or we die alone." The "every man for himself" attitude has led us to this place where most of us feel completely alone – most of us ARE completely alone. Some people are "toxic", sometimes to the point where continuing to be involved with them is damaging you or your life – I'm not denying that. But they're few & far between. Most people will stop being disruptive to others lives if someone(s) would find out what they really need, help them get what they need, & help them re-learn how to be stable. Don't cut people out of your life without trying to help. If you don't know how to help, or your attempts to help aren't working, do re-search – maybe a different approach, or finding professional help is what's needed. Don't give up on people who are troublesome because they're having trouble.

  13. My real name. The most important thing that I've learned from my failures in life is that I just don't give a s**t anymore about most everything, including most family members (but not all). And I've been growing more and more happier each and every day because I just don't care anymore. It seems to be very liberating! I think I'm beginning to realize that I've missed a lifetime because I refused to be a "friend to myself".
    Thank you for this video.

  14. Do you have any book recommendations on helping one become a better friend for himself? Or maybe some exercises?

  15. "Un ami c'est quelqu'un qui te connaît et qui t'aime quand même" (a friend is someone who knows you and loves you nevertheless). Be a friend to yourself : that's my goal ! 🙂

  16. Why does the cartoon woman have cat ears as her hair, my hair is actually like that in real life naturally as a result of my freeforming but the cartoon character is the wrong colour as I am a light skin black woman, lol

  17. Why does the cartoon woman have cat ears as her hair, my hair is actually like that in real life naturally as a result of my freeforming but the cartoon character is the wrong colour as I am a light skin black woman, lol

  18. I hope that who ever watched this learned something a bit new. Don’t hate yourself ❤️ I can assure you 10 other people made some of the same mistakes as you. Everyone has a chance to heal, learn, grow, change, and live

  19. encouraging and even helping…anyone, or thing just to maintain a friendship based on nothing, and worse to overlook their flaws and highlight their positives bcs they’re too weak to handle the truth and “don’t know any better” is not only wrong advice but downright suicidal. I don’t recommend accepting a mind that won’t cooperate with your conscious will, just retrain it, don’t bow to it.

  20. I love this videos!
    They are perfect, with the concepts and better yet, that voice is absolutely fantastic!

  21. Next time a friend comes to me with a problem I think I am just going to tell them that they are a shithead and a failure 😝

  22. I don't know about anyone else, but I worry about turning into one of those unbearable narcissists if I focus too much on myself. I think perhaps I'm over compensating (as usual) 😏

  23. It's hard to be kind to yourself and love yourself when way too many people around me tell me off for not doing X well enough and when they create barriers too high to ensure failure – such as social security, disability benefits, accessing housing and healthcare that I can afford that is adapted to my needs etc. = access to justice = not having that makes me feel sub-human and hate myself for my inadequacies.

  24. What does the man eat ? Honey or sugar? cause his voice feels so soothing and surreal to my ears.

    Umph . 😣😣💕

  25. is it trick? Is this those you are trying to humor me? Yes, people are all blind, including me, no one exactly know what they should be doing, including me,

  26. Well, being a friend to yourself is a world wide epidemic. It is called a self referential fallacy, like mental masturbation and well the other kind to.

    A lot of us went looking for ourselves back in the 60' s and never came home.

    So, if you see me walking around anywhere, just yell out, wild animals here or dragons be here, or giants, or something really groovy.

  27. Fundamentally a shit head and a failure..Gotdam!!!!😂. I really should not laugh because I say that in my own head but hearing someone else say it was both jarring and hilarious!

  28. Ever since I become best friend to my own self, I discover that I could love others better especially my own family. I become a better person, calmer than my old self. And..people can feel that. They compliment me more and they look sincere delivering those compliments. I think loving myself is simply magic.😊

  29. Just anticipate problems in life and face them and mostly importantly learn from them. Your subconscious has been programming to think negative (inner voice). You can reprogram it by being kinder to your self. This requires immense repetition and if you fake it constantly then your subconscious will change and so will your inner voice! Don't treat the symptoms, treat the root of cause. What do you all think and suggest?

  30. Relationships, romantic or platonic, are generally formed based on egos, false selves, which is why most fail. Human beings have the daunting task of being able to see our physical form and behaviors as a diaphanous veil to our soul, our authentic selves. A sisyphean task whose zenith may very well forever be its nadir.

  31. Thank you Alain De Botton, you have helped me through countless moments of self-doubt, breakups, and loneliness. I was never taught how to process my emotions (I did not even know that was an option) and I’m glad I can take initiative to do so with the School of Life.

  32. Very helpful video for self improvement! Thank you for this! We also posted a video on happiness, go check it out! 🙂

  33. I'm here after a lot of your videos. I've learned a lot and your advices will accompany me through all my life.
    I am now a true friend to my self. So you reached exactly the pourpose of what you're doing, and the least I can do to thank you is to tell you succeeded in changing a person's life. Again, whit all my heart, thank you,

  34. I always thought of my subconscious as my best friend I even talk to my self and it helps me though though times but I didn't wanted to sound like I'm crazy to others so I never tell

  35. But I rip the shit out of my friends 🤔 it's teasing as praised in your other videos. I suppose that explains a lot why I reflect in gallows humour in my item behaviour..

  36. I have never had childhood friends. When I made friends at high school, we got distant. I don't know how to talk to people, how to put emotions in conversation. I have problem even smiling, it seems fake to me. I get sad watching other people having friends, having smile and being emotional 🙁

  37. Dear people who suffered emotional neglect in childhood and also everyone else,
    You in no way were responsible for the fallacies of your parents. When we are abused as children we tend to think we don't deserve love and kindness from people around us and end up sabotaging their efforts. Remember that you are unique, you are beautiful, you are lovable. Love yourself unconditionally, shower yourself with love for being you. See you will make mistakes but if you love yourself you will find the strength to say "It's okay, its human nature to be like this". The assurance from yourself will give you joy even when things go very wrong. You will be your own lover, friend and parent, glowing with inner warmth, helping people discover their own glow and helping them love themselves. This will give you the zeal to live, and even in darkest times, you will be grateful for your existence.

    Love yourself the way you want people to love you and never once will you feel that life is not worth living.

    Keep glowing,

    P.S: The message of self-love is urgent. It might prevent someone from committing suicide, it helped me.

  38. Was this part of the plan. Because this video seems more enlightening in teaching people (yourself included), HOW to be a good friend 😉. With an practice suggestion at the ending 🤣.

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