journals and books

Five Essential Tools to Be Your Own Bestie

*Updated March 10, 2018

So much about living a full and rich life is having a genuine, loving relationship with yourself, yet because we’re wired to run from pain, we tend to take off when things get rough.

Maybe you spend your time focusing on others and their struggles to avoid your own.

Maybe you numb out with food or shopping or the internet.

Listen, I’m as guilty as the rest of them, so this week I’m sharing five tools I use to get me to hang around with me a little more often in hopes of helping you stay in close contact with your magnificent self.

So without further ado, here are my Five Essential Tools to Be Your Own Bestie:

1. Journal. Having a beautiful journal you can turn to when you need to unload, process, grieve, vent, or get centered is a must. What often stops people from using it is the idea that you need to write in it every day or that the entries must be profound prose.

My journal is a friend who is always nearby and available when I need it. In my way. On my terms.

It feels great to use it to empty my brain, dialogue with Little Kerri, or write angry letters to situations or people who have pissed me off.  Unlike some human sounding boards, I don’t have to worry about my journal trying to “fix” my dilemma, one-up me with a worse challenge, or offer unsolicited advice.

Being a less-than-daily journaler used to stop me from ever reaching for it because, after all, the “experts” say you should journal every single day. Nope. Not this girl. At times, I may go months without opening it. Other times, it’s with me wherever I am. I get to decide how I use it and when. And that’s pretty freeing and incredibly empowering.

gratitude2. Happy Moments Jar. “Gratitude” is quite the buzz word and for good reason. When you intentionally identify what you’re grateful for, you train yourself to look for the positive, and when you look hard enough for something, you’ll find it.

So, instead of searching for evidence of how hard life is or how shitty your luck is, spend a couple minutes each day documenting things for which you are grateful.

I keep a square, glass vase on my desk. I think of a highlight from my day, write it down, and add it to this Happy Moments Jar. I do this for the full year (almost every day), and then, on New Year’s Eve, I open the jar and read them all.

I write my highlight on the back of that day’s page from my Louise Hay’s You Can Do It daily desk calendar. That way, I have the memory, the date, and an affirmation from that day.

This practice keeps me more focused on gratitude on a regular basis, and, as a bonus, I get to review my year from a place of joy.

3. Belief Book. This is a great tool to help you flip a blocking belief. If you’ve recently identified some thinking that’s getting in your way, such as “I’ll never get my act together,” “I’ll always be broke,” or “It’s not safe to be seen,” spend some time creating an opposite, empowering belief and use your Belief Book to train your brain to think in this new way.

I know, I know. How many journals, books, and papers can you have on your nightstand, but it’s a good idea to keep this one there as well. You’ll pull it out only when you’re working on flipping a belief.

Once you have your new, empowering phrase or affirmation that directly counteracts the blocking belief that’s tripping you up, write it 10 times each night, right before bed. Do this for as long as you need to feel it take root, but at least, one week.

Planting the new belief seeds when you’re about to have the best access to your subconscious (when you’re sleeping) is powerful stuff.

For more steps to flip a limiting belief, check out this blog post.

4. Photo of yourself as a child. Having this handy and visible is a fast way to reconnect your young, creative, deep-feeling self with the responsible, taskmaster, grown-up self. Looking into the face of yourself as a child makes it easier to stop the negative ticker tape running in your head. It makes you pause before saying something like “I’m such an idiot!” or “I look so fat in this.” Would you say those things to that sweet little girl or boy? I doubt it.

I keep my photo on the side of my refrigerator and I look at her often. I imagine what kind of loving messages she could use and I silently encourage her, reassure her, and remind her of just how freakin’ awesome she is.

Taking care of myself in this way helps me feel safer to play bigger in the world, be braver in my business, make healthier choices in my life, and deepen relationships by practicing vulnerability. Yup, all this from my kindergarten school picture.

5. A kudos file. There may be times when, no matter how deeply you dig, you cannot come up with evidence of why you don’t suck. Enter, the kudos file. Anytime you receive an email, social media comment, greeting card, or any other kind of note where someone has expressed how great, beautiful, thoughtful, brave, smart, you are, file it away in a folder marked “kudos.” I have both an electronic folder and a regular file folder.

On days when I am feeling particularly low, unmotivated, unproductive, fat, ugly, or afraid, I read some of my kudos notes to get back in touch with some self-love and compassion. And you know what? It works.

You are with you the most so isn’t it worth cultivating this relationship more than any other?

OK, your turn. I’d love to know what tools you use to learn, grow, and take exceptional care of your sweet self. Let’s chat in the comments below.


10 replies
  1. Kristine
    Kristine says:

    Hi Kerri! I love your lessons and suggestions! Just can’t seem to get my ass in gear. However, today I had doc’s appt @ a specialist and figured I’d be walking out of there w/ an RX and another appt for a test. NOOOOO!! Surgery!! Are you kidding me!! I’d have been preped down the road for that!! It took me 2 yrs just to get my tubes tied. Terrified of surgery!! But after reading this I must say I’m going to use these suggestions and I feel a bit better. Going to get a journal tomorrow. Thank you!! 🙂

    • Kerri
      Kerri says:

      Hi Kristine,

      Thanks for joining the conversation! I’m glad you found the post helpful. How about we change that from “Just can’t seem to get my ass in gear,” to “My ass is fully in gear”. 😉 Regarding your surgery, it sounds like Little Kristine is pretty scared and could use adult you to reassure her that she’s gonna be just fine. What does she need to feel safer? What measures can you put in place to show her that you’ve got her back? First and foremost, simply listen to her and let her feel what she’s feeling. She’ll love that! An additional tool that I can recommend is Peggy Huddleston’s book “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster.” It’s about emotionally preparing for surgery, and I personally know of people who have used her techniques and it made an incredible difference. Wishing you ALL the best! Oh, and be sure to choose a journal you LOVE! <3

      • Kristine
        Kristine says:

        I did. Was going to get a plain old notebook for a buck (funds soooo tight) but then I thought “No, I’ll splurge $3 (lol!!) and get a smaller, hunter green, soft leather one!” And I did, AND I’ve actually written in it!! Also, thanks for the link. Definitely will check it out. Now to try and find (what would have been back then) Little Kristy. 🙂

  2. DAD
    DAD says:

    YES another great post by the BO7. I can relate to the kudos file. Have a group of cards saved from my retirement party. Words of thanks for the years of service to my clients.
    I even use them sometimes to send a note to a client in appreciation of the message.Sure makes you feel good.

    • Kerri
      Kerri says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Daddy-O! It sure does make you feel good. It’s nice to be reminded of the difference you’ve made in people’s lives. You have certainly made a HUGE difference in mine. Love you!

  3. Jenn Lee
    Jenn Lee says:

    Just read “five tools to live out loud”. It was inspiring. I want to practice all 5! I do have difficulty following through. Procrastination can be a big issue for me.

    However I think trying the 5 will help. I’m in need of more positives in my life as there have been a lot of challenges lately.

    Jenn Lee

    • Kerri
      Kerri says:

      Jenn, interestingly enough, procrastination is its own form of clutter, so consider how it might be serving you. In my experience, it’s usually a form of protection, so what might delaying implementing these tools be protecting you from? One example is that sometimes it can feel uncomfortable to journal and spend quiet time alone so we procrastinate. Also, try just one to start and see how it feels. You needn’t dive into all five at once! Good luck!

  4. Chiara
    Chiara says:

    Hi Kerri, thanks for sharing all this… How much more powerful do you think writing is compared to “thinking”.. or verbalizing?
    I wish I could be closer to all u great American teachers and coaches, like u and your sister, Esther, Neal and Hay House team.. but Italy is so far away.. Any affirmations on this topic??? Thanks.
    All my love and gratitude from Italy..

    • Kerri
      Kerri says:

      Hi Chiara,

      Thanks for joining the conversation! I think writing something down gives it a power and a sense of importance that thinking or verbalizing doesn’t. The action of putting pen to paper and capturing something feels more committed and significant, in my humble opinion.

      Suggested affirmation… perhaps something along the lines of, “I matter enough to commit my thoughts, feelings, and goals in writing.”

      Another one for you: “I have easy access to all the wisdom, guidance, and support I need, no matter where I live.”

      Sending much love right back at you!

  5. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Thank you for sharing this letter again, Kerri! I remember reading it the first time. I love all five tools! I especially love putting a piece of paper in my “Happy Moments Jar” to discover again at the end of the year. I have also found the Belief Book beneficial over time. It was great to read about this idea in your book as well. Each of your five “essential tools” offers unique benefits that at the same time work together to build great strength. Cheers!


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