We all know that relationships need work, and in general, what we put into them is what we get out of them.
No doubt, you are careful about putting significant effort into your marriage and family. You most likely put time and thought into your relationships with friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
But how often do you reevaluate the relationship that you have with yourself?
At the end of the day, the person you spend the most time with is you. Ironically, however, you’re not alone if, like many people, you underestimate the importance of this relationship and don’t prioritize it the way the way you should.
Perhaps you just never really gave an inner relationship much thought at all. That’s not unusual either.
Just consider the idea that a strong sense of who you are and what makes you happy isn’t likely to be a bad thing. Consider too, that building a closer connection to all the things that make you a whole person is less likely to make you vulnerable to less beneficial relationships and poor choices.
Wouldn’t it be worth it to examine ways to understand and prioritize yourself a bit more?
For some insight about how to make healthy changes, let’s take a look at what might be holding you back:
Signs the relationship you have with yourself needs some work:
You let your inner critic take over.
Everybody has an inner critic – that voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, etc. It’s natural for this voice to sneak in or to grow louder during certain times, but some people have more trouble shutting it off than others.
Are you your own worst enemy? Do you suffer from bouts of feeling unworthy, anxious or depressed due to the statements your inner critic makes? Are you unable to ignore these negative thoughts and allow them to take over?
Continually living at war with your own self-critical thoughts is one of the clearest signs that the relationship with yourself needs work.
You’re not in touch with yourself.
Just as you receive updates from your friends and family about how they’re doing, treat yourself to the same curiosity. As human beings, we are constantly changing. You may not be the same person you were five years ago or five years before that. Hobbies, interests, goals, etc. often change over the course of time. Because these changes aren’t always sudden, you may not even realize how big an impact time and experiences have had on you and your life.
Are you stuck in a job you hate? Dissatisfied with a disconnected relationship? Or out of touch with your passions?
If you don’t check in with yourself and aren’t in tune with who you are, you can easily begin to feel like an outsider in your own life. Getting to know your own wants and needs is a vital step toward a deeper sense of purpose and acceptance that are the foundation of any healthy relationship.
You struggle with self-acceptance.
We all have aspects of ourselves that make us self-conscious or uncomfortable. While it’s important to set goals to become the best version of yourself, there are some aspects of who you are that can’t or shouldn’t be changed.
We live in a culture that feeds off of 24-hour comparison. This can be emotionally draining and mentally damaging if you don’t accept and affirm yourself intentionally. It’s important to be patient and to extend some grace to yourself. To learn to see yourself clearly with compassion and to focus on embracing your strengths and weaknesses takes practice.
A willingness to pay attention to who you are and what shapes you without judgment makes a relationship with yourself safe and encouraging. Sharing honestly with a trusted loved one or therapist can also be a healthy way to make loving, self- acceptance possible.
You don’t make self-care a priority.
Finally, acts of self-care can range from routinely making yourself breakfast to treating yourself to an occasional weekend spa trip. The idea is to prioritize time and energy just for taking care of yourself. Still, as simple and low maintenance as self-care can be, many people resist it.
What about you? If you don’t practice self-care it’s very important to ask yourself why.
Do you sacrifice self-care for the care of others or career productivity? Or is something else driving your choice? Sometimes there is a subconscious or deeper reason for not engaging in self-care. For instance, past abuse, shame, guilt, or loss may have created a well of unresolved emotion or unhelpful thinking that makes self-care difficult or unappealing.
Work with a therapist may be a valuable way to explore what blocks you from caring for yourself first.
Let’s start building your internal friendship together.
The relationship you have with yourself is far more important than any other. Your desire to be a good partner, friend, spouse, or parent is boosted immeasurably by treating yourself well. If you want to make a change, we are here to help. For further tips on developing a healthy relationship with yourself read this article. Let’s work together to rediscover how to make yourself a priority.