Be An Unconditional Friend to Yourself

'Loving-kindness' is a term I hear all the time in the yoga/meditation/wellness world. The goal is to have loving-kindness towards others but also to ourselves. As much as I understand the idea of loving-kindness - of being kind to others - I don't fully understand its meaning. It's as though its scope is too big for me to comprehend. It's not tangible enough. Pema Chodron talks about loving-kindness as unconditional friendliness. This term I get - being friends without conditions. You know that friend that stays your friend even if they screw up? That's the friend you need to be to yourself.

There are things we like about ourselves and things we don't. Certainly there are many things we'd like to change. But as we work to effect change, we must practice unconditional friendliness toward ourselves. You must accept yourself for what you are, quirks and all. You're never going to be perfect. You're not going to get to a point where you make no mistakes. You're not going to achieve anything that makes you like yourself at all times unless what you're achieving is unconditional friendliness. Once you've achieved it, you've achieved loving-kindness - the sort of love that goes beyond the minutia of your prakriti - the things about you that change, like your job and your house and your possessions and your hair color and your yoga poses - and settles its loving gaze on your unchanging soul. Screw up as much as you like - you'll still be your friend.