How would you describe the relationship you have with yourself? Would you define it as good, or not so much? Do you struggle with your self-esteem and self-worth? Are you happy with your physical and mental features? What about your thoughts, emotions, and actions; do they help build a healthy relationship with you?
Yes, this may sound weird, to talk about our relationship with ourselves. We often define relationships as something we have with another outside person, which is also true. However, we miss the opportunity to have a positive and growing relationship with ourselves if we only define relationships in an outer way. Before we can be part of healthy relationships with others, we have to be content with ourselves and confident in who we are, how we see life, and our personal development along the way.
For example, if you are not content with how you physically look, this has an impact on how you think and feel. Of course, if there are some physical changes that you want to make, like adding a healthy diet and exercise, this is always good to help us improve our physical and mental well-being. But my point is regarding your satisfaction level with your overall appearance and the things that you cannot readily change. If you have not yet accepted the shape of your face, the texture of your hair, the color of your skin, your body-type, etc., then its time to begin and finalize the acceptance process. There are many aspects of our appearance that are just part of who we are, genetically pre-determined, and these are the pieces that we must accept and embrace. Become comfortable in your own skin.
The same goes for our thoughts and attitude. If we are constantly battling with negative thinking, this has an impact on our mental and emotional health. We begin to see ourselves through our thoughts, and if we are caught in a negative spiral of thinking, then we are going to see a drastic decrease in our self-esteem, our self-worth, and our perspective on living a good life. This is one reason why it is so important that we are in tune with our thoughts, to identify any patterns that are affecting our relationship with ourselves and the way we view our life. This internal relationship also affects our ability to co-exist with others and develop healthy relationships with others. It truly starts within.
What do you do if your relationship with yourself needs some improvement, and how do you even know if it does?
- Take inventory of your thoughts.
- Take inventory of your emotions.
- Take inventory of your actions.
- Our Thoughts + Our Emotions = Our Actions.
As you take a deeper look at your thoughts, emotions, and actions, begin to notice any patterns. Are there certain triggers or people who have a negative influence on you? What role does your environment play in a healthy connection between your thoughts, emotions, and actions? Can you identify some areas of your thoughts or emotions that have a negative effect on your actions and decision-making?
Our thoughts have direct influence over our emotions and how we feel. We see this everyday as we move through our daily routines. What we think about often produces our immediate feelings. So, if you are thinking of something that stresses you, you will likely feel overwhelmed, angry, anxious, or even fearful. But if you are thinking of something positive, or encouraging yourself, you will likely feel peace, joy, grateful, and hopeful. This is why it is so important to be attuned to your thoughts, and how you are interpreting your experiences. Negative thinking = Negative feelings.
Positive thinking and feeling has direct influence over our decision-making and actions. It is very difficult to make a good and positive decision if we are thinking in defeating ways and feel overwhelmed. It is like trying to function through the day without any sleep. Everything about us will just be off, and it is near impossible to make life decisions on little sleep. Similar to needing sleep, if we are stuck in a pattern of negative thinking, we will have negative feelings, and this can lead to poor decisions and actions.
Our thoughts, emotions, and actions are the ingredients for the relationship we have with ourselves. If any one of these areas are not functioning in a healthy, positive way, we may face serious relational challenges within ourselves. It is very important to practice some self-reflection and always work to enhance this internal relationship, just like we would for a relationship with another person. We have to spend time alone, assess our life in several ways, make necessary changes, and of course identify areas that we are doing well at.
So, begin to do some personal assessment. Start taking a deep look at how your days flow, and what you are able to accomplish based on your relationship status with yourself. If it needs some work, just start small and do not feel alone. Begin with your thoughts, as this is the foundation of a healthy life. We all can improve on our internal relationship. There is no “arrival or mastery” of this process, for anyone, including me. This assessment is a skill that you will need to reassess and redefine as you navigate through life and all of your experiences. The ultimate goal is to get better at thinking and experiencing life through a positive lens.
Just be sure that your relationship with yourself takes priority over any other relationship in your life. Then you very well may experience major strides in your relationships with others.