We concern ourselves with how well our relationships and friendships with others are going. We monitor them. We do our best to make them work – we nurture them and give them every opportunity to grow and flourish. We seldom take them for granted, instinctively knowing they are valuable to our health and well-being.
What we rarely do is take stock of how well our relationships with ourselves are going. We take for granted the everyday routines of waking, dressing, eating, working, playing, relaxing, and resting again. We give little thought to the relationship we have with our “small voice inside” that goes along with us wherever we go, and remains there with us for as long as we live. There is no “breaking up” with our inner person, no running from who we are, no divorce or annulment possible. Who we are inside stays with us, whether we like it or not.
Suppose we’re not all that enthralled with that inner person? Can we change that? Can we make our relationships with ourselves better? We can, and if we’re questioning the relationship at all, we should. There are ways to develop a better relationship, or at least a better understanding and friendship, with oneself. This isn’t new-age double-speak; it’s been around for centuries. There are techniques for strengthening the bonds between your mind and body and to improve the way you see the person inside you – the one perhaps nobody else gets to see.
The importance of developing a healthy relationship with yourself
Having a healthy relationship with ourselves keeps us mentally and physically well. It’s as simple as that. It isn’t possible to be at odds with yourself, harboring feelings of unhappiness, and still be able to maintain a healthy body. The more you dwell on past events, unhappy experiences, and “what if” thinking, the more you open yourself up to illness. As you age, illnesses may be more frequent and may sometimes become chronic ailments. Everyone would rather feel physically healthy, so developing a relationship with yourself that is healthful and rewarding is a vital part of being and staying well.
Relationships with others
Without a good, healthy relationship with oneself, healthy relationships with other people are much more difficult to develop and maintain. We naturally like to be around people who have respect for themselves, a keen sense of self, and an upbeat and positive outlook on life. If we are constantly in turmoil because of our own perceptions of ourselves, we ruin our chances of developing positive relationships with others. These relationships are important to our health and well-being and keep us feeling vital and vibrant. We need strong and dependable relationships with others to bring positive energy into our lives. To have them, we must first have a healthy relationship with our inner self, or our other relationships will have less of a chance of thriving.
The mind-body connection
There is a very real connection between the mind and the body. The brain is responsible for sending messages to the rest of the body; if it is sending unhealthy messages about self-esteem, self-confidence, lack of achievement, worthlessness, hopelessness, etc., the body will react in unhealthy ways. Again, developing an improved way of thinking of oneself – seeing yourself in a more positive light – is one of the keys to unlocking a healthier, more rewarding relationship with yourself.
Our perceptions of self
Usually, the way we perceive ourselves is not at all the same way others perceive us. When we are down on ourselves, unable to see our true worth, we are falling prey to destructive perceptions that we have chosen to believe. It is often surprising to us when we hear others describe us in glowing terms – quite the opposite of how we see ourselves. Other people are more objective about us than we are about ourselves, and their perceptions are quite often more accurate. In order to develop better relationships with ourselves, we need to pay more attention to how others truly see us and stop listening to our own negative self-talk.
Achievement, contentment, and peace
We started out talking about the importance of developing healthy relationships with ourselves, and so far, we’ve established that we want to feel well and avoid health issues, see ourselves in a more positive light in order to have a happier relationship with ourselves, and gain an understanding of the concept that how we see ourselves is usually not the way others see us. These are important aspects of achieving success in life, contentment in the present, and a sense of peace and tranquility on an ongoing basis. We can reap these benefits by living a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet, some form of regular exercise, adequate rest, development of some talent or achieving an educational goal, and nurturing our spiritual side. Focusing on these will help us foster those healthy bonds with ourselves.
There are many ways to go about developing a healthier relationship with yourself, but the very first one is forgiveness. This means forgiving yourself for whatever mistakes you think you’ve made in the past so you can let go of destructive ongoing guilt, and forgiving others for past or present wrongs done to you. This promotes healing inside and out for the mind and the body. Once this is accomplished, you can be on the way to achieving that ideal relationship with yourself – one that will last and allow you to be your own best friend.