Before going out and looking for someone new, it is so, so important to have a healthy relationship with yourself first. Your relationship with yourself defines your state of mind, mental health and your overall well-being. You can’t expect someone else to love you when you don’t love yourself first.
You may be suffering from a personal setback in your professional or love life; maybe you’ve lost something or someone who was important to you. Times are tough, but they will never stop being tough. Learn to face your battles without deprecating yourself. No one can beat the storm without believing in themselves.
Why Your Relationship With Yourself Is The Most Important
The most important relationship is with yourself whether you like it or not. A lot of people struggle to accept themselves and embrace their flaws. When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Do you like this person? Are you proud of how far they have come? You should be. Honesty brings you closer to yourself.
The whole idea behind having a good relationship with yourself is that your confidence and self-esteem blossoms into something constructive and, for the lack of a better word, beautiful. You can’t help others with these problems unless you’re content with yourself. Are you willing to let yourself heal?
Happy with who I am
I’m 37. I’m single. And I’m content. I’m kind of in a relationship with myself, and I’m not embarrassed to let everyone know.
I remember, a few months ago, a colleague almost a decade younger than me, asked: “How come you’re not all sad and grumpy, considering you’re not married or in a relationship?” He was probably talking from a position of innocence and ignorance…and I wasn’t offended.
But I now have an answer to his question: Because I have understood that your relationship with yourself is the most important. And I am comfortable with every aspect of my being – from the graying hair at the roots, to the skin that needs constant moisturizing, to the occasional spells of solitude and aloneness… I’m truly at peace with it all.
Related Reading: How To Love Yourself – 21 Self Love Tips
Do you need validation?
Do relationships give you validation or a sense of an acquired social status? I don’t understand why people think you should be sad and needy just because you’re not in a relationship or a marriage. Or why you should have a constant companion, someone by your side to make you feel content and happy.
Or worse still, in the case of women, the general notion that you are ‘incomplete’ if you haven’t birthed a child. You don’t need reasons to not let your child be your only identity. Sure, I do want to have kids but I’m still working on my relationship with myself. How can I care for a child when I haven’t learnt how to look after myself yet?
I’ve never felt that a relationship, being married, or having a child validated my existence. I’m alive, the world has taken care of me well, given me ample opportunity, and I’ve had some great people accompany me on my life journey. Basically, I haven’t much to complain about.
Spending time with myself
Moreover, I’m happy being by myself. My thoughts, my space and my daily activities are sometimes the best companions I have. We have a natural rhythm, we are in sync. We don’t need raging passion or clichéd lines like ‘I love you’ to know we belong together. We just do.
But this contentment and confidence comes after much hard work. As you journey through life, meeting some people, loving some and then letting go of some, you realize that in all relationships, you are essentially seeking yourself.
You are coming closer to who you are and who you want to be. And through it all, you learn to nurture yourself, protect yourself, and ultimately love yourself. No one can love you the way you can. No relationship can complete you if you’re not complete by yourself.
The longing for a relationship should emerge when you are complete by yourself, and have enough love first to give yourself. If you are hungry yourself, how will you feed another? The same logic applies to love and relationships too.
Related Reading: How or why I should love myself naked
Work on yourself; nobody is perfect
Thus, the first and most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. And you have to work at it every day, just like you work on every other thing in your life. You need to pay attention to yourself and your thoughts. If you’re beginning to have thoughts of self-doubt, check them, and start creating a positive inner dialogue instead.
Also encourage and support yourself. Sometimes the only cheerleader you have is yourself, so give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, don’t wait for external appreciation. If it’s a milestone for you, celebrate it, raise a glass of wine or beer even alone if you have to.
Some things I do to work on my relationship with myself is practicing skin care, hair care, spa treatments, cooking, cleaning, donating, art, making music, and meditation. These are all little things that go a long way in helping you connect with yourself.
A setback is not a step back
At times, you may have to bail yourself out when you have a setback. For example, you quit on a professional goal, or you gave up on a personal relationship, but in such cases don’t begin to wallow in self-pity, you will only spiral downward. Pull yourself up and get ready for the next opportunity.
Also, it’s ok to be angry with yourself if you felt you did or said something wrong; you can chastise yourself if something goes wrong…that’s what our conscience is for. The most important relationship is with yourself, so give it time to yield results And be patient. Love doesn’t bloom overnight. But then make up with a kiss and hug soon afterward.
How do you kiss yourself? Blow a kiss at yourself in the mirror. No, it’s not narcissism and you don’t have a God complex. It’s just reassurance that you’re loved. And how do you hug yourself? Hug your knees to your chest – like you do in yoga, when flat on a mat – it frees your muscles and holds you tight.
Being in a relationship with yourself is just like loving another, only better. You don’t expect anything back; there are genuinely no strings attached because when you give, you give to yourself, and you give unconditionally. Isn’t that the best kind of love, the best kind of relationship, the relationship you should spend more time on, the one you should focus on the most?
It means accepting who we are and working on our flaws without wanting to change anything. Loving yourself means you don’t try to be someone else for the sake of society or another person.
Unless you are genuine you will never know what you have to work on. In relationships, you will lose yourself completely and ultimately lose someone you care about too.