First, let’s just look at the turn of phrase. No matter what we may think of ourselves, I don’t think anyone would take issue with advice to befriend yourself. Well, except if one has sunk so low that you think you are so bad or evil that you deserve no kindness. Then even this phrase would probably not help. But barring such an extreme, people usually would approve of doing nice things for themselves.
So then the question is, what does it mean, “to befriend yourself?” It means being kind to oneself, doing what is in one’s best interest. And what is in your best interest? What spiritually … as opposed to coming from your ego-mind … you value more than anything else, what is most important to you.
Ah. The reader takes issue with the condition that I’ve placed on the answer. But central to making progress on the path, and befriending yourself, is knowing and accepting that we suffer because life is a struggle between our heart and our ego-mind, with the ego-mind historically always winning because it is so much stronger and louder. And so we have been controlled by our emotions, our judgments, our cravings, our attachments. And they cause nothing but frustration and suffering.
So your mind may want this or that. But when you sit in meditation, you need to ask yourself, “What does my heart want?” You need to discern the difference between the guidance coming from your ego-mind, which causes you nothing but suffering, and the guidance coming from your heart.
If you are able to listen to your heart, the answer you will most likely receive is that you want to be at peace and happy. That is, after all, why most people choose to walk the path. You want to rediscover the state of joy that is your true Buddha nature.
Once you know that that is what you value more than anything else, then you have a test to use whenever you receive guidance. Will that guidance bring you peace and happiness, joy, or will it make you suffer? If it makes you suffer, you will then have the strength to reject it, regardless that your ego-mind has trained you to crave what it wants. (See my post, “Test the Wisdom of What You’re Doing or Thinking of Doing.”)
And so you will befriend yourself by rejecting the advice of the ego-mind and instead following the guidance of your heart and be at peace and happy, joyful. That is the essence of “befriending” oneself.