Maintaining Your Most Important Relationship
What Is Your Most Important Relationship?
Relationships are such a wonderfully desirable part of your life. Strong relationships improve your life in a multitude of ways, like providing you with feedback for challenging decisions, giving you a sounding board to release your stress and anxiety, and offering you the opportunity for fun and leisure.
For all of their benefits, though, relationships demand work and attention. As you age, your relationships continue to grow and change into something different than they once were. Sometimes, important relationships go unnoticed or forgotten.
When was it that you last paid attention to your most important relationship? Do you even know what your most valuable relationship is? The relationship that has the biggest impact on your daily life is not the one you have with your boss at work, your children, or even your spouse.
The most imperative relationship is the one you have with yourself.
This relationship is central because the way that you relate to yourself controls the way that you relate to others. For example, if your relationship with yourself is poor, you will be more likely to have a series of unsuccessful relationships with others in life. You will be more willing to tolerate unfair and even abusive treatment because that is what you have come to expect.
Conversely, if you handle yourself in a kind, respectful way, your tolerance for anything less than this from anyone else will be low. With this being true, the relationship you have with yourself is the keystone for all other relationships.
Now that you know the value in the relationship with yourself, what are you going to do about it? The task might seem overwhelming, but the steps are straightforward. Want to be good to yourself? Here’s how:
Assess the Situation
To have any idea of where you are going, it helps to know where you are now. How do you speak to yourself? This daily, internal dialogue is called self-talk. Self-talk is almost constant as you assess and judge yourself and the world around you during the day. Self-talk, mood, and anxiety have a cause and effect relationship. Saying mean, deprecating, negative things to yourself will make you feel worse. Self-talk seems largely automatic, but if you pay attention to it, you can begin to change it.
How do you treat yourself? Sometimes people get caught up in so many things beyond their bodies that they lose sight of how they treat themselves. Are you kind to yourself? Do you ever splurge on yourself? Even more elemental, do you meet your own basic needs? Behaviors like feeding yourself healthy foods, exercising regularly, and allowing enough time for sleep might seem unimportant, but they really speak to how well you care for yourself. If your basic needs are not met, healthy relationships with anyone become less obtainable.
Now that you have investigated the current relationship with yourself, you must ask a question. Why? Why do you treat yourself this way? Why has this become normal and acceptable? In the pursuit of this answer, you will have to retrace time back to childhood to identify the messages that you were taught as a child, a teenage, and a young adult. Did someone express the message that you were not good enough? Did you find that sacrificing yourself for others was a good way to get attention or short bursts of esteem?
The way that you relate to people, just like the way you relate to yourself, is a learned behavior. Along the way, someone taught you through a set of rewards and punishments to speak to yourself, treat yourself, and behave in this way.
Identifying the source of these patterns gives you more information to modify the course.
As valuable as assessing the situation and building connections between the past and present are, they mean nothing if you do not take tangible steps to reverse course. Consider ways to work towards a fairer, more balanced perspective. If your self-talk is overly negative, begin to compliment yourself more often with more positive praise.
Many people attempting to change the flow of self-esteem cannot find aspects of themselves to compliment, but do not fall into this trap. Many good things about you exist. Feel free to consult with people in your life regarding what they enjoy and appreciate about you. From there, begin to welcome it and accept it as reality rather than finding ways to talk yourself out of it. Change your self-talk to repeat these views throughout the day to change your self-talk into something more positive and optimistic.
When it comes to treating yourself well, find ways to better balance selflessness with selfishness. Selfishness is unfairly seen as being overly negative. In reality, you need to have some level of selfishness to be happy with yourself and others. If you permit others to frequently take advantage of your kindness, you will have fewer physical and mental resources remaining for you.
Telling others “no” is a good way to improve the relationship with them and yourself. It does not make you a bad friend; it makes you someone with healthier boundaries and better self-respect.
Transfer the Inside Out
This entire process will improve your self-esteem and the overall relationship with you. From here, you will be in a better position to start new and improve your established relationships. With these improvements, you can expect to see your mental health benefit and reach a level of happiness previously unknown to you.
Beware, though. Whenever you change, even if the changes are healthy and beneficial for you, other people will be resistant. Perhaps they like the version of you with low self-esteem because they could exploit and take advantage of this. They may report a belief that you have changed for the worse. Remember that this will not be true. It is only their attempt to continue their manipulation.
Relationships will come and go, but the one that you have with yourself lasts forever. You want to make certain it is as healthy, positive, and fulfilling as possible. By assessing your current status, working to understand the connections, reversing course, and then transferring the inside out, you will be in the best position to have the best relationships with yourself and the people around you. This is your chance to change.
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