“A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself—and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to—letting a person be what he really is.”
~ Jim Morrison
Being a genuine person and a true friend go hand in hand. Ours is a culture of superficiality and fakeness. When asked, “How are you?” the answer should always be “fine.” False smiles, forced laughs, awkward small talk about the weather…Nobody likes it, but we all do it.
Here are 21 reminders of how to be more real and true to yourself and your friends.
1. Say what you feel.
Speak it, write it, whisper it, yell it. Yes, be mindful of your words. But also, don’t fret over what others think of you for expressing yourself. (It’s actually none of your bizness.)
2. Admit failure.
We all mess up some things on most days. But viewing “failure” as an essential part of the learning process and admitting to it is liberating.
3. Make more eye contact.
The eyes are the windows to the soul. Gaze at your own in the mirror for a couple minutes. Look others in the eye more often during conversation, whether with your beloved or the sales clerk.
4. Remember your own (and every being’s) basic goodness.
It’s pretty much the key to everything.
(Even if you can’t sing.) Belt out some favorite tunes in the car, the shower, or, if you’re really brave, in the company of friends.
(Even if you can’t dance.) Remember when you were in middle school and dancing was sooo embarrassing? Thank goodness those days are over. Turn on some James Brown and shake your money-maker.
7. Admit it when you’re wrong or when you’ve been wronged.
And say sorry. Forgiving is powerful, although we cannot force others to forgive us.
8. Look fear in the face.
Rather than escaping from difficult emotions or numbness or boredom, sit with it, lean in, feel it fully and then let it go when it runs its course.
“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” ~ Joseph Addison
9. Write heartfelt notes.
By hand, if possible. The postal service still works. Revive the art of handwritten letters.
10. Give up small talk.
Talk about things that matter. Ask how someone is doing and make a conscious effort to really listen with your full attention.
11. Prioritize your health and well-being.
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Crying with a trusted friend is definitely a form of therapy. It’s okay to show your “weak” side. Tears can be so healing.
13. Laugh loudly.
You know those people who see something hilarious and smile slightly and say, “That’s so funny”? Don’t be one of them. Guffaw, giggle and snort for goodness sake.
14. Practice pausing and noticing the present moment.
Try it now. Take three deep breaths. Where are you? How do you feel? Check in.
Cancer, cirrhosis, car accidents. Death happens all time and it’s a worthwhile practice to remember our own mortality. It brings greater gratitude for this, here, now.
16. Don’t try to make your life seem perfect on social media.
Be real. Be a flawed, wonderful, messy, unique being. Online as well as off. ‘Nuff said.
17. Practice yoga.
Fall down. Get up again. What we do on the mat is what we do in our daily lives.
18. Practice meditation, every day.
Even if it’s just for five minutes. It will transform your day and maybe even your life. For real.
19. Surround yourself with real people.
As opposed to fake ones. Spend time with people who are and make you more genuine because of it.
Whether you publish or not, write your heart out. It’s another amazing, free form of therapy to process all the nutty things, thoughts and feelings in this wild thing we call life.
21. Remember: everyone wants happiness & does not want pain. Remember, we are all the same.
Thank you for to striving to be a better friend. Thank you for being you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Mathias Klang from Goteborg/Wikipedia Commons