Your relationship with yourself is the most important and most consistent relationship in life. When your relationship with yourself is right, this is a powerful foundation for healthy relationships with others.
In order for that to happen, like any relationship, it takes having good fundamentals, foundations and regular consideration and investment. From time to time, things need to be thought through, or reconsidered as your circumstances change, and as you and your needs change as life evolves. When you are under too much pressure you need to know when to ease off. When you need to be challenged to be and do better, it is important you can do that too.
Our self-talk mainly comes from what other people said to us when we were younger. Mum and dad and others too. Your relationships with others in early life and the way you are treated by others as you grow shape your relationship with yourself as an adult. If we are encouraged to meet our own needs and pursue our own interests by the behaviour of our parents or key adults around us whilst balancing the needs of others, we will develop a healthy foundation for our self-relationship. If there is a feeling that one person is doing everything and the other has 'no time', this creates less healthy dynamics.
Being able to focus on yourself may seem in a way a luxury. But in an age when we are so busy doing so many things and where mental health is challenged on a daily basis it is a key foundation for everything else.
At work the average person is processing 9 - 10 times the amount of information than we were even a few years ago. In our personal lives with so many things pulling at our emotions and 'weapons of mass distraction' everywhere, it is probably comparable.
Given all the pressures, it is important to be able to have space so you can clarify and simplify things for yourself. Like your relationships with others in life, your self-relationship must be founded in a healthy self-love for good self-development and growth in life. Here are 10 ways you can do that.
1. In the same way you would plan a relationship with a life-long partner, do this with yourself. Where do you want the relationship to go? How do you want to support yourself?
2. Assess your self-talk. Is it constructive? If it is not encouraging, look at changing the narrative. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Meditation and daily reflection can all help greatly in this.
3. Spend quality time with yourself regularly. How you like others to treat you is a great guide. No nagging or tormenting. Periodic time for self-reflection where you are not being too easy or too hard on ourselves is key.
4. Prioritise Self-care - proper sleep, exercise, food, relaxation and rest.
5. Move beyond self-care and be a good friend to yourself and do all that goes along with that.
6. Challenge yourself. Encourage yourself to grow and do and be better.
7. Have an attitude of acceptance and curiosity regarding yourself. This stops judgement and thus guilt and shame from dominating.
8. Have a way of finding the reset or off button, day to day. Unplug from technology. Meditation or a walk in nature are great. Too much thinking and busyiness clutter the mind and your self-relationship.
9. Cultivate a positive and growth oriented mindset. Expect that things will work out and improve.
10. Have fun with it. Self-discovery is a life-long daily reality to be enjoyed not endured.