Episode 7 | September 7, 2021

Stellar Experiences: Ways to befriend yourself with Stephanie James

A Personal Note From Orion

We must show up and commit to ourselves. We can be the best version of ourselves if we prioritize self-care. Today, Stephanie James shares simple exercises we can do every day to build a more solid inner foundation. 

Stephanie is a filmmaker, published author, public speaker, transformational coach, seasoned psychotherapist, and creator of The Spark with Stephanie James, a podcast. For the past years, she’s experienced what it truly means to live and fully light up.

She lets us understand that practicing self-care isn’t selfish. When we cultivate love within ourselves, we can replenish and nurture our relationships with other people. Change begins with us, and this session will help us do just that. Tune in today!

About Today’s Show

Hi, this is Stephanie James. I’m here today to talk to you about the art of befriending yourself and beyond. We’ve heard forever, “oh, just love yourself and be your own best friend,” but I know from 30 years in the self-help and professional and personal development field that it’s just not that easy.

When we befriend ourselves, it’s not just flipping a switch. If you were to meet someone new and begin to befriend them, you wouldn’t trust them right away. It wouldn’t be after a few conversations of showing up for one another—maybe to go have coffee or to take a walk—that you’d tell this person your deepest, darkest secrets, or that you’d just say to this person after a couple of times of meeting, hey, would you start picking my kid up at preschool? It just doesn’t work that way. 

The same is true when we’re cultivating a relationship with ourselves. What that takes is building trust—trusting yourself to show up for yourself over and over. We need the message from ourselves that, hey, I’ve got you, I’ve got your back. I’m here, and I’m here to take care of you. 

One of the ways that we can do that is (honestly) by starting a morning routine that we are committed to. You can think about how many times you have promised yourself, okay, I’m going to do that exercise routine, I’m going to start this new diet, and then not follow through. For so many of us, that is the case. We let ourselves down, and we don’t show up for ourselves. We are so self-critical that we are not our own best friends. We’re the ones that are cutting ourselves down or giving ourselves negative messaging. 

It starts with having this commitment to yourself and then showing up in the morning. I love the morning routine of doing some mindfulness practice, meditation, and then exercising. I like to do some journaling in the morning. 

I think one of the great ways that we can start the day is by asking ourselves these three journaling questions and then writing down the answers. The questions are what I call the Three Cs to Starting Your Day. Right now, we live in a time where the world can feel really out of control. There is lots of chaos. People watch the news and get very fearful. We can be like, I don’t have any control of what’s going on. Things can feel pretty overwhelming. 

Control is really an illusion.

The truth is that we really don’t have control over much. Control is really an illusion. We like predictability, and our brain loves predictability. That’s why we’re so good at routines. That’s why this is a really important routine. It helps to literally reel you back from worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. It reels you back into the present moment. 

You’re asking yourself about these 24 hours, these 3 C questions because usually, we can manage and feel more in control of ourselves if we have a plan for 24 hours. 

The first question that we ask (the first C) is care. How do I take care of myself today? What that might look like is you’re writing down, okay, I’m going to do this morning routine where I’m meditating, I’m exercising, and I’m taking care of myself. It may look like eating nutritious foods. It might be taking a walk, being in nature. At the end of the night, it might be a bubble bath if you’re me, it might be reading your favorite book, or listening to something that inspires you or makes you laugh. These are all ways that you can take care of yourself.

The second question (the second C) is connection or connect. How do I connect today? In these 24 hours, I think it’s two-fold. How do we connect with others? Whether it’s through email, through a phone call, a Zoom call, or if we can in person, that’s the best. The higher the level of the connection—we could say texting is the lowest level of connection all the way up to being there in person being the highest level of connection—that’s what we want, really looking at where can I connect today?

I also like to take it a step deeper to ask myself, how can I connect in a way that will make someone else’s day? I also think about who is someone that (1) needs me to show up as my best self today, and (2) who can I reach out to today that really might need that sense of connection? Just to drop a note and say, hey, thinking about you, reaching out, and just saying, whenever you’re free, let’s schedule a call. Again, just throwing out those lines of connection.

Then, the other part of connection I like to write about is thinking of how will I connect with myself today? That goes truly back into fostering that friendship, learning how to befriend ourselves, and growing and cultivating a sense of love with ourselves.

I’ll be going over some exercises in just a little bit that has been really helpful for me, for my transformational life coach clients, my psychotherapy clients, and my friends. I teach everyone this technique of growing in love with ourselves.

The third C is how can I be creative today? Being creative is being in flow. It doesn’t have to be that you are creating this great piece of art or a stunning piece of music. It can literally be, one of the ways of being creative today is I’m going to walk a different way with my dog than I usually walk. That’s creating new neural pathways in our brain.

It might also be something like, I’m going to come up with a song list of my 10 favorite songs on Spotify, I’m going to play that tonight while I’m making dinner, and I might break into a spontaneous dance party in the kitchen. That would be something that happens in my life.

There are all kinds of ways of being creative. Adult coloring books are fun. We forget how much fun that is just to play. We can be creative. We can do arts and crafts or paint. It’s just letting yourself move into a place of flow. Our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls just really need that. It’s a beautiful sense of freedom, we get into that space of timelessness, and it really is a beautiful gift to give yourself.

When you start doing these kinds of things for yourself, and you write them down each day—because they’re not going to be the same each day. It’s okay if some of them are, but most days, things will be a little bit different from how you want to care for, connect with, and be creative in your day.

I did want to share with you one of the love exercises that I really do believe helps to grow self-love. A lot of these things are going to be coming out in my new book. Look for that in the coming year from GracePoint Publishing. Really excited about that. It’ll be at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Your healing matters.

One of the techniques in there is this art of cultivating love. It can truly be as simple as putting one hand on your shoulder. You cross (let’s say) your left arm over your chest, you put your left hand on your right shoulder, you take your right arm, and you wrap it around your waist. You’re holding yourself just as if you were in a seat belt. When you feel your arms wrapped around you, it’s just applying a little bit of pressure so that you feel like you’re in a hug. You truly are holding on to yourself.

This is an important part of giving yourself some positive messaging, whereas you’re holding yourself, you take some deep breaths into your heart, close your eyes, and give yourself the messages that your heart most needs to hear. Or maybe it’s the wounded child inside of you that that child still needs to hear.

The messages might be I’ve got you. You’re mine. I’m here to take care of you. I love you. I see you. Just giving ourselves those messages and holding ourselves for a few moments a day truly starts to make the difference. We start hardwiring that touch to a sense of true and deep self-care and self-love. It’s a muscle that, as we exercise it, it grows stronger. That sense of trust in ourselves grows stronger. 

One of the things that I love to do is at the end of the day, instead of crisscrossing out the day on my calendar—I have one of those regular hang up calendars—when I’ve taken care of myself like this and shown myself this kind of self-love, I put a heart on the day. It’s not like, oh, I’m crossing this day off. It’s like, oh my God, this was a day I showed up for me.

I love looking back over a calendar. It might not have hearts on every single day, but the majority of the days, it has a heart. It just feels so good seeing those hearts all looking back at me and being able to see how I truly am cultivating that self-love. I want to encourage you to do the same.

I think there’s really an important message here as well. That is that we do need to take care of ourselves first. We’ve all heard the phrase that if you take care of yourself, somehow, you’re selfish. It’s really important to dispel this myth because it’s not a selfish thing at all. Actually, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and then everyone around you is to do this self-care.

When we replenish ourselves, when we rejuvenate ourselves, and renew ourselves, we’re actually clearing ourselves as a conduit for greater love and healing to flow to us and then back out into the world that can become the gift that we share.

That’s been one of my essential messages that I share with people, that your healing matters. It’s one of the messages. The old saying is when we’re in airplanes, they always say put on your own oxygen mask first and then you can better assist others. That’s such a great metaphor for life because that’s the truth. We can’t operate on fields.

I know for myself that I was a much better mother because I exercised, I meditated, and I had my own career, so the time with my children was very, very quality time. The same is true now with my partner. We cultivate priority time. He’s a busy chiropractor and I’m busy doing films, podcasts, books, my psychotherapy practice, and my transformational coaching.

It’s also making that time that I’m doing self-care so that at the end of the day, after all those appointments and all those events, I can really show up. It’s showing up for myself and showing up for him. I cultivate love within me and then I can cultivate love externally. It just helps to enhance and fortify all of my relationships.

I encourage you and invite you to be this pebble in the pond. As you begin to heal, you become that pebble in the pond, and the concentric circles of love and healing go out from you. Just think, as you raise your vibration, as you raise your frequency, literally everyone you come into contact with benefits from this—the barista at your favorite coffee shop, the person that you’re letting in line in front of you (maybe) at the grocery store, the grocery clerk. The way that you’re just interacting with the world becomes different and becomes changed.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

We’ve all heard Gandhi’s expression, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” and there has never been a more important time than now to start taking responsibility for ourselves and for us to really make sure that we’re not stepping into overwhelm and that we’re not taking on a victim stance.

We can’t control the outer circumstances of our lives. We can control our inner responses and reaction to them. We can cultivate this place of stillness, of health, and of taking care of ourselves in a way that we can ride the rapids of whatever it is that’s coming down the stream of our lives, and then we’re actually able to float. We’re not fighting upstream. We’re not fighting the current. We’re actually able to flow with it.

I’m hoping that this is helpful for you as you begin to look at what can I do to enhance my life? What can I do to really start feeling a greater sense of joy, a greater sense of resiliency? How can I empower myself?

We always tend to look—especially maybe in our culture—to something outside of ourselves to make ourselves feel good. We’re looking at the outside world. We have these programs for happiness. We think something else can make us happy. Truthfully, this is an inside job.

Bringing yourself to a greater relationship with yourself, befriending yourself, learning to really love yourself, and showing up for yourself. You can be the change that you’re seeking to see in the world. You can be the tipping point that helps bring more health, healing, and wholeness to this world. It starts with you.

I’m Stephanie James. Thank you so much for listening.

Check out Stephanie James’ interview with Orion.

Links and Resources

About Stephanie James

Stephanie James delivers her message in a powerful way to help others find their own internal sparks and create their best lives at the next level. Nominated for Fort Collins Woman of The Year in 2014 and a graduate of the University of Denver, Stephanie has an unrelenting commitment to help others ignite their best lives and to become the best versions of themselves.

The Spark, With Stephanie James, is a worldwide weekly radio and podcast created to help you live your best life. Her guests are luminaries in the fields of psychology, inspiration and motivation, science, entrepreneurialism, and more!

Her book, The Spark: Igniting Your Best Life, is available on Amazon. A compelling and inspiring book, The Spark is an excellent guide. Step by step, Stephanie James shows how to examine beliefs that don’t serve us, ways to develop more authentic and rewarding relationships (including with ourselves), and how to approach each day with zest.

With over thirty years in the personal development and mental health field, Stephanie has a passion for connecting with people from all walks of life and continues to fulfill her personal mission to bring as much love and healing to the world as possible. Her soon-to-be-released film, When Sparks Ignite, is about the challenges we all face and how those challenges can actually become the match point that ignite something amazing within us that then can become our gift to the world.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Orion Talmay, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

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