There’s no shortage of information on how to strengthen your relationship with your family, boss, or coworkers. However, we don’t often hear about how to have a healthier and better relationship with ourselves.
Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you have. We struggle with our relationship with ourselves because we’re not nearly as kind to ourselves as we are to others in the way we speak, act and behave.
Have you had the experience of feeling unheard when you’re speaking with others? We do that to ourselves and don’t consider that there’s a message we need to hear that we’re avoiding or distancing ourselves from. There’s often something that may need our attention and instead of listening to that voice, we try to squelch it by numbing, avoiding and distracting ourselves from listening to what it’s trying to say.
Facing and dealing with uncomfortable thoughts is uncomfortable. We don’t like being uncomfortable so we use food, drugs, alcohol, work, TV, keeping busy or some other “method of mass distraction” to quiet what that inner voice is trying to say. But, since you can’t escape yourself, you might as well make friends.
Try these techniques to develop a stronger relationship with yourself:
- Start your day with gratitude and positive thoughts. Instead of reaching over for your cell phone to check any overnight texts that came in, the weather or emails, spend the time on yourself. Mentally list a few things that make you grateful to be alive. Tell yourself something positive.
- Give yourself the intention of having a good day.
- List your positive qualities.
- Get your day off to a good start with yourself.
- Write in a journal. Your thoughts and life are worth recording. Take time each evening to write for a few minutes. You’ll gain a lot of insight and appreciation for your life. Show yourself that your life matters.
- Let go of your avoidance behaviors. What do you do when you’re feeling emotionally under the weather? Shop? Eat? Get online? Instead of avoiding yourself, sit with yourself so that you can move through it.
- Just breathe and notice your feelings and body sensations. Avoiding them just prolongs the cycle.
- In time, your negative emotions will dissipate without your attempts to hide from them.
- Think of meditation as spending quality time with yourself. Begin with just a few minutes and extend the time as you feel more comfortable. You’ll learn how your mind works by meditating.
- Spend time on your personal development. What do you feel the need to learn?
- Social skills?
- Relaxation skills?
- Spiritual development?
- You spend so much time doing things for your boss, home, and family. Take a break and spend some time dealing with your own needs.
- Have some fun. Plan some fun in your life. Get a monthly massage or meet a friend for ballroom dance lessons. It’s your life. Enjoy it.
- Forgive yourself. You’ve made a few mistakes and missed out on a few sure-fire opportunities. That’s no reason to beat yourself up for the rest of your life. It’s time to let go of your past and forge ahead.
- Take a few extra minutes to put yourself together. Take the time to get ready each day so when you step outside (or in front of your computer screen), you’re proud of how you look. Throw away those ripped sweats, donate those clothes that don’t make you feel good, shower, do your hair, makeup or whatever lets you know you care about how you look.
- Take good care of yourself and show the world how much you mean to yourself.
- Get support if you need it. No one can handle everything all of the time. At some point, we all need support. That help may come in the form of a trusted friend or professional help. Get the help you need. Remember, you’re worth it.
How well do you know yourself? How well do you manage yourself? Both could always use a little attention. And consider this; if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, why would you say it to yourself? Treat yourself with the same kindness and consideration you give so freely to others.
Spend some time each day being good to yourself. Have some fun and spend some time strengthening the most important relationship of all – the one with yourself.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute