The most important relationship you will ever have is not with your partner. It’s not the one you have with your child. It’s not even with your friends or family.
The most important relationship you will ever have is with YOURSELF.
A relationship is a state of connectedness. Your relationship with yourself is based on the integrity between who you are inside and the life you live on the outside.
I could write a whole book on this, but today I want to share 3 questions to ask yourself.
Do You Know Yourself?
This may seem like a radical or confronting question to ask but in my experience, very few people are connected to their own likes and dislikes or needs and feelings.
Do you know who you are on a deeper level than the external labels of mother/father, daughter/son, employee/entrepreneur etc? Perhaps you did when you were younger, but over the years you've hidden or changed parts of yourself in order to fit in, appear successful or avoid judgment.
Here are some questions to help you get curious about yourself:
- What do you love doing? Why?
- What makes you happy? What makes you feel alive? Why?
- What are your hopes and dreams?
- What are your secret fears? Why?
- What are your values?
Do you Honour Yourself?
Do you make choices in your life out of a sense of duty, what is expected or to avoid shame, guilt or criticism? Perhaps you find yourself saying “I should…” a lot!
When we are connected to ourselves, we are able to make decisions with honesty and integrity.
Marshall Rosenberg, PhD, suggests that nothing positive can come from negative motivation. What if you started making decisions from a desire to contribute to the wellbeing of yourself and others?
Rosenberg has a great suggestion. Make a list of all the things you do that you don't enjoy, that you dread or feel like you have to do.
Now insert the words “I choose” before each item on the list. Explore your intention behind each choice by completing this sentence: “I choose to… because…”
By doing this simple exercise, we are able to uncover the values that truly guide our decisions.
For example, after feeling frustration at how much time he spent taxiing his children around, Tim realised: “I choose to drive my children to sport practice three times a week because I want to give them the opportunity to excel in the sport they love.”
Or perhaps you will realise that there are some things that you have no genuine motivation to do.
For example, Poh said: “I choose to cook a big meal every time my family comes over because I feel I should because my mother always used to do that.” When realised that she was cooking out of a sense of obligation, Poh asked everyone to bring a plate or ordered take away and enjoyed time with her family without any resentment.
Do You Love Yourself?
We can be our own worst critics. I would never talk to a friend the way I find myself speaking to myself sometimes!
Everything we do is an attempt to meet our needs. When we judge ourselves for being “bad” or “wrong” this is a signal that we have unmet needs. Try asking yourself: “When I behaved in the way I now regret, what need of mine was I trying to meet?” As soon as we can recognise this, the self-reproach ends and we begin to feel a deep sense of compassion towards ourselves.
When we acknowledge the parts of ourselves that we don't really like and practice accepting them with a gentle, unconditional curiosity, we give ourselves permission to BE. Free to be human, to be ourselves, to be alive. Free to make new choices.
May You Fall In Love With Yourself This Valentine's Day!
Being connected to ourselves means that we recognise our feelings and needs, we honour them as valid and seek to fulfill them in a way that contributes to our well being and benefits others. There is a deep personal freedom that comes from doing this and after a while, we will find we start offering this same compassion to others.