I want to begin this series on relationships by diving deep into arguably one of the most important relationships of all: Self. Whether we realize it or not, the small conversations we have in our head or the decisions we unconsciously make every day relate to our relationships with ourselves.
However, even though having a strong relationship with yourself can be the foundation for success in other relationships, it is often the most neglected. To achieve success or to “fit in” to the established roles of society, we often will suppress our own needs and desires and adopt the personality and wants of those around us.
Being out of touch with ourselves for too long can often lead to what is known as an identity crisis.
Although commonly associated with teenagers going through changes in emotions and hormones, I believe that it can happen to anyone at any time. The less time we spend with ourselves the less we remember and take the time to do what makes us happy and meet our individual needs.
The more time we spend with ourselves, however, the more we are able to learn about ourselves and grow as individuals. By taking the time to learn about ourselves we can learn more about our strengths and weaknesses and how certain situations affect us.
Grant Hillary Brenner of Psychology Today writes about how having a strong and healthy self-relationship helps to identify and deal with the “negative narcissism, overwhelming shame about ourselves, overly solipsistic perspectives, and an inability to relate to and empathize with others” (Brenner). As you spend more time with yourself, you will notice the negative thoughts and feelings that will come up. Although these can initially be disheartening, it is important to sort through these feelings and see learn why you are feeling certain ways.
Diving Deeper into yourself, you will also notice how you view the situations you are in and relate to relationships you are in. Philosopher Zaid K. Dahhaj writes that “If you do not love yourself entirely and actively ensure your own needs are met, you will find it difficult to do the same for others”(Dahhaj). This is not to say that if you don’t know yourself completely you will automatically have bad relationships with others, but by knowing yourself it will become easier to see what you need and don’t need in your relationships with other people.
How you view yourself and treat yourself ultimately will affect the people you surround yourself with and how you treat the people you have relationships with. The next few pieces will dive into each of those relationships in greater depth, but to end, I wanted to share a few ways that have helped me have a better relationship with myself.
Make time for yourself.
“You often feel tired, not because you’ve done too much, but because you’ve done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
― Alexander Den Heijer,
Taking the time to make sure that not just your body physically, but mentally and emotionally is healthy, and if not meeting those needs can help you stay motivated and healthy.
Listen to your feelings and emotions.
While it is often ignored and suppress what you are feeling, it is important to think about why you are feeling a certain way and how you are being affected.
View yourself differently.
Be patient with yourself when you make a mistake or face a wall and instead of counting and picking out all the imperfections about yourself, focus on how you are growing as a person and what you have been able to accomplish.
For more ideas on having a healthy relationship with yourself and how to grow in that relationship, make sure to check out a few of the articles below:
Brenner, Grant Hilary. “12 Keys To A Great Self-Relationship, Starting Now.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 25 May 2015, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/experimentations/201705/12-keys-great-self-relationship-starting-now.
Dahhaj, Zaid K. “Here’s Why Your Relationship With Yourself Is The Most Important Thing.” Medium, Medium, 1 Mar. 2018, https://medium.com/@zaiderrr/heres-why-your-relationship-with-yourself-is-the-most-important-thing-2232b547cbf6.
Tartakovsky, Margarita. “6 Ways You Can Have a Healthy Relationship with Yourself.” World of Psychology, Pysch Central, 24 May 2019, https://psychcentral.com/blog/6-ways-you-can-have-a-healthy-relationship-with-yourself/.
“The Relationship You Have with Yourself.” Mental Health Foundation, 9 Feb. 2018, https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/guide-investing-your-relationships/yourself.
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