We often hear the phrases "Love yourself" or "Be your own best friend", but have you ever stopped to ask what they really mean? In our journey through life, it's crucial to cultivate a relationship with our inner selves. It's about acknowledging, accepting, and cherishing who we truly are. This is the essence of self-love and having an inner best friend.
The Concept of Inner Goddess
The Inner Goddess is a term that represents the divine feminine energy within us. It symbolizes strength, wisdom, intuition, and nurturing - qualities that are inherent in every woman. By embracing our Inner Goddess, we tap into a powerful force that fuels our self-esteem, creativity, and spiritual growth.
This concept is not limited to women alone. Men too can tap into their inner divine energy, often referred to as the Inner God. It's about recognizing and honoring the balance of masculine and feminine energies within us.
Understanding the Inner Best Friend
Your inner best friend is the voice of love, encouragement, and acceptance in your mind. It's the part of you that genuinely loves and adores you for who you are. This isn't about arrogance or an inflated ego. Arrogance stems from insecurity and an overcompensation for perceived inadequacies. On the other hand, genuine self-love comes from authenticity and acceptance of one's true self.
Befriending ourselves is beneficial on so many levels. It boosts our happiness, enhances our resilience in tough times, and contributes to healthier relationships.
The Power of Authenticity and Love
Authenticity is being genuine with ourselves about our feelings, desires, and values. It’s living in alignment with our true selves rather than trying to fit into societal expectations. When we honor our authenticity, we naturally cultivate self-love.
Love indeed is contagious. When we love ourselves, we send out a powerful energy that can attract more love into our lives. This is the law of attraction at work. What you focus on, you attract. So, when we focus on loving and appreciating ourselves, we attract more love and appreciation from others.
Understanding our Shadows: From Protection to Hindrance
Our shadow aspects, as coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, are the parts of us that we often try to hide, suppress or deny - these include elements like our insecurities, self-doubt, shame, and fears. These are not inherently bad or negative; they are simply facets of our human experience.
Shadows are typically created as a means of protection during our formative years, particularly in the face of traumatic or challenging situations. As children, we develop various coping mechanisms and behaviors to protect ourselves emotionally and psychologically. These can range from avoidance, denial, aggression, compliance, or even withdrawal.
For instance, a child who frequently experiences criticism or ridicule might develop a shadow aspect of self-doubt or insecurity, serving as a defense mechanism against further emotional harm.
When a child is constantly subjected to criticism, they may start to internalize the idea that they are not good enough or that their efforts are always lacking. This leads to the development of self-doubt and insecurity, which are parts of the child's "shadow self."
Self-doubt and insecurity can serve as defense mechanisms in the following ways:
Expectation Management: By doubting their abilities or feeling insecure, the child may lower their expectations and set less challenging goals for themselves. By doing so, they are less likely to experience failure and the associated emotional pain.
Avoidance: These feelings can also lead to avoidance behavior. If the child feels insecure or doubts their abilities, they might avoid situations where their abilities are tested, thereby avoiding potential criticism or ridicule.
Self-Protection: In some cases, the child might use their self-doubt and insecurity to downplay their abilities or achievements. This can serve as a protective measure, as it draws less attention to them and reduces the chance of further criticism or ridicule.
While these defense mechanisms can serve to protect the child in the short term, they can be harmful in the long term. The self-doubt and insecurity can persist into adulthood, affecting the individual's self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being.
It's important to remember that acknowledging these "shadow aspects" and working towards integrating them can lead to personal growth and improved self-awareness. It's about learning to understand these feelings, accept them as part of oneself, and then work towards using them in a beneficial way.
Shadows in Adulthood
As we grow older, the context and need for these behaviors change. What once served as a protective measure can become more harmful than beneficial in our adult lives. They can hinder our growth, relationships, self-esteem, and overall well-being.
For example, the aforementioned self-doubt might manifest as an adult constantly second-guessing their capabilities, thus impeding their potential growth and success.
Recognizing and Working with Shadows
To work with our shadows, we first need to recognize and acknowledge their existence instead of pushing them away or ignoring them. This involves introspection and honest self-analysis - understanding where they come from and what they're trying to tell us.
The next step is acceptance. It's about being okay with these parts of ourselves, not necessarily liking them, but acknowledging that they are part of who we are. Acceptance can be a difficult process, but it is crucial for true growth and self-improvement.
Through understanding and acceptance, we can then work towards integrating these shadow aspects. This doesn't mean getting rid of them, but rather, finding a way to work with them, harness their energy for our benefit, and transform them into strengths.
In doing so, we can become more authentic, self-aware, and resilient individuals, better equipped to deal with life's challenges and our own personal growth.
The Alchemy of Self-Love
When we embrace our shadows, a beautiful transformation occurs. We become less judgmental of ourselves and others because we understand that everyone has their own shadows. This newfound compassion improves our relationships as we become more understanding and empathetic.
Self-love also sparks love for those around us. When we truly love ourselves, it's easier to extend that love to others. It's as if our hearts expand to hold more love for everyone in our lives.
Cultivating a Relationship with your Inner Best Friend
One of the most crucial steps in understanding our shadow aspects and cultivating a healthier relationship with ourselves is to notice our inner self-talk. Our inner dialogue is a reflection of our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves. It's the running commentary that plays in our minds throughout the day, influencing our feelings, actions, and overall self-perception.
Becoming aware of our inner self-talk allows us to recognize any negative patterns or destructive beliefs that we may be unconsciously reinforcing. This could be constant self-criticism, belittling ourselves, or doubting our abilities.
Once we're aware of this, we can consciously begin to shift it. Instead of engaging in negative self-talk, we can replace it with positive affirmations, self-compassion, and validation. This process is not about suppressing or denying our negative thoughts, but acknowledging them and choosing to respond to them in a more self-supportive way.
Releasing Shame and Guilt
Shame and guilt are emotions that often accompany our shadow aspects. They stem from a belief that we have done, said, or thought something wrong. While they can serve as moral compasses, excessive shame and guilt can be detrimental to our self-esteem and overall well-being.
Releasing shame and guilt involves forgiveness and compassion towards ourselves. It's about understanding that we are human and that we make mistakes. It's also about recognizing that our worth is not defined by our mistakes or shortcomings.
As we work on releasing shame and guilt, we also cultivate a sense of equanimity - seeing ourselves as neither better nor worse than anyone else. This perspective allows us to approach ourselves and others with compassion, understanding, and acceptance.
Practical Steps to Becoming Your Own Inner Best Friend
Connecting with your Inner God/Goddess involves practices like meditation, journaling, or any activity that allows you to tap into your inner wisdom and intuition.
Understanding and accepting your shadows can be challenging, but remember it's a journey. Start by acknowledging your shadows when they show up. Try to understand what triggers them and why.
Cultivating authenticity involves honoring your feelings and desires, even if they don't align with what others expect from you. Remember, your value doesn't lie in how others perceive you but in how you perceive yourself.
By consciously working on these areas, we can create a more positive, accepting, and authentic relationship with ourselves.
Becoming your own inner best friend is a transformative journey of self-discovery and self-love. It's about embracing all parts of you, including your inner goddess and your shadows. This journey might not always be easy, but it's deeply rewarding.
Remember, you are worthy of your own love and friendship. Embrace your authenticity, honor your inner goddess, and let your self-love spark a beacon of love for those around you.