I recently returned from Wanderlust - a yoga music festival that was essentially a giant ball of love and positivity. This event was more than just yoga. It was a movement of a budding collective consciousness. Wanderlust was a gathering of people whose intention was to build community, kindness and have sweat-dripping vinyasa and rocking parties in the process.
After mats were rolled and stretchy pants packed there was a lingering feeling of joy. The tiny seed of community had blossomed into a feeling of acceptance. Reflecting afterward with a fellow Wanderluster we hypothesized that the best way to keep this sense of belonging and home within us was to be our own best friends.
Okay, this is sounding fluffy. What the F does this mean? Well the yogic notion of ahimsa, non-harming, goes beyond what we do to others. It asks us to stop harming ourselves. This means respecting our own limits and reducing negative self-talk as well. Does being your own best friend mean you need to suddenly become a hermit and dismiss the company of others? Not in the slightest. The more we build self-acceptance self-compassion and self-love, the greater we are at spreading that to others. Mike Myers said it wonderfully in his movie The Love Guru: “Love. True Love is not possible without intimacy, or as I like to call it In To Me I See.” Still vague… here are some ideas:
1. Allow yourself your feelings.
When upset or frustrated, often we tell ourselves to snap out of it. We get extremely hard on ourselves in times of vulnerability. What would a best friend do? Probably give you a hug, a pat on the back and an ear to listen. A companion would let you express those feelings, sit with them and offer words of encouragement. After the emotional storm passes you might together reflect on these feelings. The release that comes from expressing angst or fears rather than suppressing them can lead to tremendous growth and positive change thereafter. Be your own best friend, sit with these feelings, journal, offer yourself a chance to breathe then reflect and move on.
2. Give yourself permission to change your schedule.
Friends are often so forgiving about changing plans but in our heads we have this fierce rigidity about altering the schedule that has already been penned in to our day planners (or iPhones). If you are not feeling up to your power-vinyasa class, maybe go for a yin class instead. Skip the party if you are tired and take a bubble bath… be flexible with yourself. Don’t your friends sometimes give you permission to take a rain check?
3. Do something indulgent, just for fun.
Ever have those best friend moments when you decide to skip dinner and just go for dessert? Days where you sneak out of a family commitment to go for a hike or some outdoor therapy? Do this on your own! As long as flakiness and sugar loading don’t become a habit, it is totally fine to enjoy being with yourself.
4. Call for backup.
What would a friend do in a time of need? Call you! Sometimes it is great to strengthen your inner compass or center. Other times it is important to recognize when problems or emotions are too great to bear alone. Ask for help. This is what friends do, so let them do their job!