I used to say that I was one of the funniest people I know. At least top five. But then I started reading books written by my favorite comedians (who are, undoubtedly my near and dear friends, since we’ve spent hours of our lives together through the miracle of television.) So, yeah, my name moved down a few places on my list of funniest people, but I’m ok with that. I still think that I’m highly entertaining and I would love to be friends with me. I have quite a few great qualities that make me a great friend. (I about peed my pants laughing through Mindy Kaling’s list ‘Why it’s so awesome to be my friend’ in her book Why Not Me? I think you should make your own list called ‘Why I’m the most awesome’ that details your most endearing qualities and e-mail it to me!)
I didn’t always feel this way. Because, well, I’m not perfect. And back when I was a perfectionist, being not-perfect was unacceptable. (I consider myself a “recovering perfectionist” and “reformed control-freak.” I don’t have time for that nonsense anymore!) Most of you can relate: when you take honest inventory of the sum of your being, it seems like your flaws add up more quickly than your charming qualities. While it’s easy to feel this way, I would suggest that your friends and your loved ones disagree with the outcome of your equation. Sure, it’s true: no one is perfect. And it’s also true that anger, jealousy, bitterness, and insecurity are ubiquitous human emotional responses. In yoga, we believe we are all working toward equilibrium between the dark and the light (remember this post about those crazy neon shorts?) to become whole and authentic. So we can still be friends with ourselves, even if we are only nearly-perfect.
Building a friendship means investing time into a relationship. In his in-depth study of the hilarity of modern dating, Modern Romance, comedian and author Aziz Ansari concluded that surface level, three-new-ladies-a-night-found-on-Tindr dates were not as fulfilling as investing time and effort into getting to know one person at at time. Ansari (the real life actor of smarmy and charming Tom Haverford from Parks and Rec) studied how romantic relationships are built in small towns where the pickin’s are slim (surprise, surprise, he chose a town in Kansas) and found that when choices are limited, people found success and fulfillment in the dating scene by spending quality time with one person and getting to know them before making a split-second ‘Hot or Not’ decision.
Well, pickin’s are slim, dear reader: there is only ONE you. And YOU need to invest in yourself, get to know yourself, and make friends with yourself—the imperfect parts AND the perfect parts—to truly feel whole, authentic, and confident.
Chögyam Trungpa (I introduced him in the post about compassion as a bridge) calls it: “Making friends with yourself through Meditation and Everyday Awareness.”
Trungpa writes: “Meditation is contacting our actual situation, the raw and the rugged state of our mind and being. No matter what is there, we should look at it. It is building a long-term friendship with [yourself.]”
When a friendship is deep and authentic, you ultimately discover things that you don’t especially love about each other. And when you encounter a part of the friendship that is uncomfortable, you move beyond this discomfort with grace because keeping the friendship alive is worth it. I’ve been roommates with my two closest girlfriends and I assure you that we know each other’s ‘dark sides’ and love each other anyway.
In meditation, when you sit down to make friends with yourself and truly get to know yourself, you will undoubtedly encounter what you deem to be negative aspects about yourself. But, in meditation, you won’t have to hide them from anyone. You are afforded the luxury of being real, authentic, and unencumbered by judgement. You just get to be your own friend– No matter what!
As Trungpa writes, in meditation, “you cultivate the positive side [of your friendship]. That is a very good way to start making friends with yourself.” When you are friends with yourself, your inherent worth becomes obvious, delightful, and alluring. Basically, your list of awesomeness will write itself.
Take a chance—without apps or websites that tell you if you’re Hot or Not—and just sit with yourself. Sit for 10 minutes and just enjoy the alluring fact of being awesome—and being a good friend to yourself.
Here are some of my favorite, basic meditation techniques to get you started:
If you do write your “awesome reasons why you should be friends with me” list… send it along– I will probably agree with all of them!
Happy Making Friends,