6 Keys To Become Your Own Best Friend

By: Carina Grönholm

Why is it that we tend to be so hard on ourselves? And the main

question: Does it have to be that way? I say NO, it does not! It’s all up to you to make your own changes. You have that power.

How did it all start?

After many exciting, fast-paced and fun years in the hospitality business I started noticing that many of my peers were not using the same words as I did to describe our work. I was hearing descriptions like “stressful”, “heavy”, “ungrateful”, “tough”, “bad”, “lack of leadership”, etc. This experience made me realize that although we were all correct in our opinions, each of us had different perspectives. When I brought up the topic in discussions, my co-workers said they loved the job but seemed to have forgotten their “why”—why they did the work in the first place and what their underlying motivation was.

This made me a bit sad. I had never held a job where I did not want to be. With this new insight, I realized that many people around me—not just those in the hospitality industry were feeling stuck, trapped and unhappy where they were.

This realization was also what sparked my interest in coaching, personal development, leadership, teamwork and the dynamics of interpersonal interaction.

It’s all about your mindset

Have you noticed that we, as human beings, tend to blame others for things that happen to us? “It was not me, it was her…” or “The lack of leadership makes this job so hard…” or “What is the point of saying anything? Nobody ever listens anyway…”

Do any of those sentences sound familiar? I bet they do! You might even have used them yourself. It‘s ok—it’s simply a sign that you are human.

My mindset has always led me to look for “the golden nugget” in every person and situation. I think that, without even knowing it, this is what has kept me from going insane many times. Today I see it both as a gift and sometimes as a curse.

I had no idea about things like mindset before I got into coaching. While educating myself I discovered so many exciting, new and even scary things about myself. They all made everything clearer in my understanding of myself, personally and professionally. Things started to make sense to me.

During my years as a coach I have realized that, regardless of position, we are often drawn toward the same type of uncertainty and feelings. We often place such high demands on our own performance and put ourselves under so much pressure that it ends badly. But it doesn't have to be that way. We can choose to handle situations and experiences differently, depending on our background and mindset.

Be your own leader

On my path to a deeper understanding, I have found myself drawn towards softer values. The core of my work and life, is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy training (ACT) and Emotional Intelligence. I have always been able to find joy, but today I know how to truly appreciate it.

Inner leadership and kindness is what it’s all about for me. Be kind to yourself and it gets so much easier to be kind to the rest of the world. Take control of that voice in your head, give yourself time to reflect over how and why you react in the ways you do. Once you are in charge of your thoughts and emotions, you automatically will find it easier to be your own “best friend”.

“We have to learn to be our own best friends, because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.” – Roderick Thorpe

This is why I want to help people find their way of becoming their own best friend: to be the leader of their own life and to see their true value while remaining kind to themselves and others. These are probably two of the most important tasks in everyone’s life, and I am dedicated to coaching people and teams so that they discover for themselves that it does not have to be difficult to make a difference in everyday life. We often think that huge lifestyle changes are required. On the contrary. What it takes is action—that we start doing something. Baby steps can—and will—make a huge difference.


  1. Be kind! – Who is the one person you communicate with most in a day? Is it your significant other, your child, your colleagues or maybe your mother? … Think again. … The answer is: You! You constantly have conversations going on in your head with yourself. Try to remember what you say and how you say it. Is it all positive and cheerful? I hope so (you can stop reading this). Think about what tone you use when talking to yourself. Always aim for treating yourself as you would treat your best friend. If you did, I think your voice would sound different, don’t you?

  2. Remember your “why” – Everything starts with your WHY. Have you figured out why you do what you do? Once in a while, take some time and ask yourself: Is this what I want? Am I on the right path? Am I living according to my values or do I need to make a change?

  3. Own it! – Never ever forget that you are the one responsible for your well being and your actions. You are the only one who can decide what to say and how to act in your life. Or what not to say or act upon in your life. You always have a choice, and it is you who is always responsible for that choice!

  4. Stop and smell the flowers! – Make it a habit to stop and reflect over the day, the week and the month that has passed. Do not forget to feel grateful for the little things around you. Write your thoughts down, in a beautiful journal or notebook, to help you remember the great days when you face the rainy ones.

  5. Ask for help! – If you feel that you are failing in your progress, don’t hesitate to ask for help and advice. Depending on the nature of the topic, ask a friend or colleague. If necessary, find an appropriate professional to talk to.

  6. It’s ok to make mistakes! – If a situation doesn’t work out the exact way you planned, start by remembering #1 on this list, and try something else. Setbacks are good—we learn from them and they offer new opportunities. Give yourself the respect you deserve!

”The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg
Photo: Vicci Lidback

Carina Grönholm, is a ICF Associate Certified Coach with a focus on leadership and teamwork.



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