Whether you are struggling with trauma, depression or simply balancing the pressures of daily life and stress, finding a way to stay centered can be invaluable. One way that is beneficial in establishing balance is developing a positive relationship with oneself. The relationship with self defines our inner world and the way we process information and respond to events in life. Below are a few tips for fostering that relationship with self, which is just as important, if not more so, than fostering relationships with others.
Keep In Touch
Life changes and so do we. Looking back, you’re probably not the same person you were five years ago. It’s easy to find yourself thinking, “I don’t know who I am anymore”, if you don’t check in every now and then. This can be done through, meditation, journaling, or therapy. You need to perform a State of the Union with yourself. How am I feeling? What am I struggling with? What am I interested in? What are my goals? Come up with a list of questions like these that you can routinely ask yourself so you get a sense of where you’ve been, where you are now and where you are going. Self-awareness is key to improvement.
Problem solving is fundamental to one’s success in life, as well as on a personal level. Ask yourself, what can I do to make my day-to-day life easier? It may be something as small as packing yourself a healthy lunch the night before work rather than eating out. On a larger scale, it could be reflecting on a mistake you have recently made and taking the time to sort through it. What could you have done differently? How can you keep that from happening again? Another example would be reasoning with yourself, and being kind to yourself. If you have been stressed out about a project or a hardship, make sure you have established effective ways of relaxing. In sum, if you notice you are struggling, take the time to find healthy coping mechanisms.
Going out and having fun usually involves spending time with other people, but do not forget to have fun by yourself. You could take a class, start a project, watch your favorite movie, go out to your favorite restaurant, bake, or go shopping. Some of these things might seem scary to do alone, but it helps build confidence and a sense of independence. You need to show yourself that you can be happy and have fun without relying on others to experience it with you. Not that you need to shut people out, but you can keep yourself occupied in healthy ways to discover things and laugh with yourself.
Part of having a relationship with yourself is understanding who you are and accepting the good and the bad. It is extremely important that you learn to forgive yourself and avoid being overly critical. Acknowledge your strengths and give yourself a pat on the back when you are successful. Many people need recognition from others to feel accomplished, but it is crucial that you learn to rely on self-appreciation to boost your confidence. Self-acceptance is a difficult skill to manage because there is always a fine line of enabling yourself into repeating mistakes, and the other extreme of being too hard on yourself. The best way to find that line is through experimentation and self-reflection. The balance comes by being kind to yourself but making prudent decisions, even when it is hard.
Bear in mind that a key aspect of finding balance is through acceptance. Not just acceptance of circumstances outside of oneself, but of acceptance in each moment of the thoughts and feelings that inhabit us internally. These thoughts and feelings are changing and dynamic and just noticing them without judgment will come most easily as you get to know yourself. So, make your relationship with yourself a priority and see how it contributes to a more positive centered state of being.