Why You Aren’t Always Your Own Best Friend

Nina Lockwood
5 min readJun 2, 2022


Here are five ways you can change that.

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How often has your own self-talk steered you wrong?

How many times has the voice in your head told you that you can’t or shouldn’t or it’s just not possible?

Or, even worse: there’s nothing left for you?

This is not the kind of advice your best friend would give you. So why do we give it to ourselves?

We’ve all had the experience of making bad decisions based on the need to be safe or to conform.

Too often we follow the recommendations of others who think they know what’s right for us. That could be almost anyone: a trusted friend, our family, society, our church or our culture.

Whenever we’re faced with a decision for which we don’t yet know the answer, it’s normal to look to other sources for advice. But that comes at the expense of invalidating our own truth and way of being in the world.

What’s the solution?

Tune in to your own unique voice that truly is your best friend, and it will guide you to your own path and express what lies inside you.

Here are five relief-providing results you can expect from always checking in with yourself:

  1. Decision making becomes ever so much easier.

When you listen deeply to yourself, the answers are obvious. You may still do the Ben Franklin method of listing pros and cons, but ultimately you’ll make a decision based on your gut. And it will be a quiet, simple process. No fuss, no muss.

2. Productivity soars with much less effort.

Without all the distraction from other people’s opinions or expectations, you’re able to focus on what needs to be done. There’s a clarity that comes with being single minded.

3. Risk taking becomes fun, not fearful.

Most of us shy aware from anything risky, fearing the worst, whether it’s physical harm or disapproval from others. But we also know that taking risks (within healthy boundaries) is exciting and shows us what we’re capable of.

4. Opportunities become obvious. When you’re listening to that deeper knowing, you find a freedom to look around and discover new possibilities. When you’re wearing the blinders that designed to keep you looking within a very small peep hole, you overlook the invitations to grow and expand your world.

5. Confidence increases exponentially.

Once you learn to rely on that inner voice, your experience of life becomes much more comfortable and easy. You find yourself much more willing to try new things, just for the fun of it.

No one knows what we need better than we ourselves do.

But if you don’t know how to listen for that inner knowing that’s innate to all of us, it’s all too common to go looking to so-called experts “out there” for the answers.

The willingness to go along with what seems like well-meaning advice often results in our living a life that doesn’t fit us. And that chafes; the benefits of the choice we agree to, when it’s not in our best interests, far outweighs the disadvantages.

We don’t perform at our best when it’s not something we can put our hearts and minds to.

It becomes even more poignant by the time we arrive at the end of our careers or retire and all the years of disillusionment and despair prompt us to ask, is this really all there is?

Sadly, this experience is all too common. And not surprisingly, it accounts for the large number of people who feel unfulfilled and isolated in the work they do or on a broader scale, the life they lead.

My own experience with listening to the wrong source began when I was quite young. I was repeated told, in one form or another, that no one was interested in what I had to say. Clearly, I had nothing of value to offer.

That was a harsh message, to be sure. One that made me very insecure and eager to do whatever would win me love and approval. And if it meant going against what I felt was right for me, then I was willing to do it.

I was definitely not being my own best friend.

I became adept at second guessing myself. I spent the first few decades of my life wanting someone to tell me what to do and how to live my life. I became a chameleon; I mostly did what my preferred source of advice recommended.

Not all the advice I took turned out badly, and I’d guess that if you’ve had a similar experience, that’s true of you as well. But the more I listened to other people instead of myself, the harder it was to change course and go my own way.

Maybe this or something like it has happened to you, too.

My ability to capitulate and conform came to a head when I was laid off from a job I didn’t love but performed well. I had no prospects for another job, but I did have a mortgage to pay and a dwindling bank account. I started avoiding my friends who all seemed to know who they were and where they were going.

That was when my clarion call from the Universe came. I finally said, “I’m done”. I recognized that I’d been searching for my identity (some might call it my calling) in all the wrong places. Now I wanted to do what made me happy and used the skills I enjoyed.

I was determined to listen to my own heart (or gut), wherever it would take me. I wanted to be able to listen to a best friend — but this time, that best friend would be inside me, not “out there” somewhere.

Here are five steps you can take to become your own best friend:

  1. Make sure what you do resonates with your truth. Whatever advice you’re given, take the time to ask yourself if it resonates with you. Do you really need to do something that doesn’t feel like a fit just to “get ahead”?
  2. Pay more to attention what’s really important to you. Cut back on social media or zoning out on Netflix. Those activities, although satisfying on some level, may be taking you further from your priorities. And the clock is ticking.
  3. Don’t try to fit in because you need approval. Your own approval of yourself is more important than anyone else’s. If you don’t feel a connection with who or what you’re doing, it will be obvious. It’s all in the vibe.
  4. Trust your inner GPS. There may be a learning curve with this, as with all new behaviors we cultivate. And yet, access to this kind of unbiased awareness is critical to enabling you to express yourself authentically and in alginment.
  5. Share your time with people who know and love you. More than the approval of the world, you need the companionship and support of those who understand your need to be true to yourself.

None of us can make intelligent decisions if we’re reeling from all the conflicting advice the world throws at us. When we decide to make the shift from being outer-directed to inner-directed, life becomes clearer, simpler and more satisfying.

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Nina Lockwood

Coach/writer/artist. I help others find peace of mind, fulfillment, spiritual understanding and how to live consciously.