When did you last take some time to think about your relationship with yourself?
If you’re anything like me then you might spend a lot of time thinking about your relationships with other people.
Whether it’s your partner, your kids, your boss or your friends, we all know that relationships are important. We know that our words matter. That the time and energy we give to the people in our lives makes a huge difference.
And yet sometimes, in the midst of all this, we can forget the person we spend the most time with. The person who has been with us the whole way and will be with us till the end. Ourselves!
When did you last think about your own self-relationship? Or reflect on how to have a relationship with yourself that is good and healthy?
Not recently? Don’t worry, I got you.
Why you should aim to have a healthy relationship with yourself
Your relationship with yourself is the most lasting relationship you will ever have.
We are often told to surround ourselves with positive and encouraging people and we know the impact these relationships have.
But the person that we spend the most time with, and whose voice we hear each and every day, is our own. How we speak to ourselves and the way in which we treat ourselves is key to our wellbeing.
There is no other relationship in our lives that has as much impact as this one and yet our self-relationship is often the easiest to neglect.
How to have a healthy relationship with yourself
An easy way to assess your relationship with yourself is to try to notice how you speak to yourself and care for yourself over the course of a day.
- Do the things you say to yourself sound like the kind of things you would say to a friend?
- Or do you find yourself being harsh and critical?
- As you go through the day how do you treat yourself?
- Do you allow yourself time for the things that you need?
- Even something as simple as a glass of water when you feel thirsty?
Pay attention to the things you deny yourself.
Would you ask a colleague to work through without lunch? Or refuse your child a drink? Of course, you wouldn’t! And yet you may well be asking this of yourself each and every day.
It can be hard to be real with ourselves. But by asking the question ‘would I ask this of somebody else?’ you can begin to get to grips with the real picture of your relationship with yourself and start to set yourself on a better course.
And getting on a better path is, after all, what allows us to continue to invest in our relationships with others. We can’t give out of what we don’t have. Our self-relationship is key.
If this sounds like you then here’s some suggestions to start to invest in the most important relationship in your life.
Your relationship with yourself.
Get to know yourself
Given that you have spent your entire life in your own company, you might feel you know yourself pretty well. But often, in our noisy world, our own thoughts and feelings can get crowded out.
We’re surrounded by other people’s thoughts, feelings, wants, and desires. Even more so in the social media age.
Many of us are so used to putting other people first that our own thoughts and feelings can regularly take a back seat to the needs of others.
To have a better relationship with yourself, somewhere in your day you need to let your voice be the one that is prioritised.
And when you do take time to listen to yourself, you might be surprised by what you hear.
- You might start to recognise what you really enjoy in life and the things you find tough.
- You might realise that the path you are on isn’t the one you want after all or that a surprising aspect of your work is really the one that makes your heart sing.
- Or you might discover a need you have that isn’t being met or even a sadness that needs to heal.
Really listening to yourself, and getting to know yourself, is the first step in developing a healthier you and a better self-relationship.
So how can you go about this?
You could try journaling as a way to process your thoughts, problem solve and decompress at the end of a long day. Check out my easy guide to getting started with journaling and all the benefits it can bring.
You might also consider trying mindfulness. Just sitting with your thoughts for ten minutes a day can help you to realise what is really going on in there.
Try asking yourself the simple question ‘How are you feeling today?’ and see what comes up.
Mindfulness doesn’t need to be complicated and there’s no special formula to follow. Simply find a comfortable place to sit, focus your attention on your breath and notice what thoughts come up.
Knowing yourself is vital to a better relationship with yourself.
Change the language you use
When you start to get more in touch with yourself and your own thoughts you might be surprised by the way in which you speak to yourself. If you hear yourself being critical or negative then you’re not alone.
We all have less than positive thoughts that pop up from time to time. But when your mind strays towards thoughts that cause you to doubt your own abilities then it is worth giving this some attention.
You may notice your thoughts follow a pattern that you begin to see is causing you real difficulty. When you begin to notice this pattern you may have stumbled across a limiting belief.
A limiting belief is a thought you have about yourself that you believe to be true but is actually holding you back.
Limiting believes run deep, they are the kind of thoughts that you just can’t seem to shake, but there are things you can do to move past them and transform them into something that serves you better.
Allowing negative self-talk and limiting beliefs to flourish can spiral down into feelings of helplessness and depression so it’s worth tackling it when you see it. Check out our guide to transforming negative self talk to get you started.
The good news is, talking positively to yourself can have a huge impact and make you much more likely to succeed in your goals. So when you notice yourself talking positively then celebrate it! It really does make all the difference to your relationship with yourself.
Ask yourself: what do you do that’s just for you?
We know that in our relationships with other people, a major part of getting it right is planning time with them and doing things with them they enjoy.
Whether it’s taking your kids to the park or your partner to their favourite restaurant, we all know that investing in a relationship means making the time for it.
But when did you last make time like this for yourself?
When did you set aside part of your day to simply do something that you love and that makes you happy?
Your relationship with yourself hinges on moments like this. Moments when you give yourself what you need rather than relying on other people to do it for you.
Consistently pushing our own needs aside and not allowing ourselves time to simply enjoy what makes us happy, can lead to life feeling like one long to-do list.
We need to break this cycle to avoid burnout and to keep ourselves able to give out to others in the way we want to.
Treat time each week for things you love just like you would any other commitment. You wouldn’t cancel you precious date night with your partner to do the laundry so don’t do that to yourself either.
Allow yourself those moments of joy and fun, make it a priority and your relationship with yourself will flourish.
Develop a healthy relationship with yourself
And so, if you’ve been feeling that you are the last person on your own list, perhaps now is the time to start addressing this.
A healthy relationship with yourself is one of the foundations of happiness and a major factor in meeting our goals. After all yours is the voice you hear each and every day, yours are the choices that affect each and every moment of your life. So make them loving, make them kind and treat yourself well.