Which Relationship is My Most Important?
In order to rock your most important relationship, you have to know which relationship is your most important one. The answer surprises many. Your most important relationship isn’t the one with your spouse, partner, or love interest. It’s not the relationship with your mom, your dad or any of your children. It also isn’t the relationship with your best friends or co-workers. Your most important relationship is the relationship you have with yourself.
Why is this your most important relationship?
There is no relationship that affects your life more than the relationship you have with yourself. How you think about yourself, what you say about yourself, and how you treat yourself makes the greatest impact of your life.
If you’re anything like me, this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of the importance to shut down your inner mean girl. You’ve likely heard messages about the importance of self compassion and taking care of yourself so you can care for others. So did I. You know what I told myself? “That’s for other people, Susie. That doesn’t work in your life. You’re a mother for god’s sake. You absolutely need to put everyone else before you.” Self care? I either told myself that my shower would count for now or that I’d get to self care when the kids were in college.
Many of us, myself included, have been really mean to ourselves over the years. We’ve criticized almost every aspect of our being: our looks, our weight, our intellect, our habits, our eating, our performance at work, our mothering… you name it, we’ve critiqued it. We are meaner to ourselves than to anyone else. I encourage you to make this your year to improve your relationship with yourself. You, and everyone around you, will benefit.
How Bad is it Really?
The first step to improve your relationship is to determine the current state of your relationship. Let’s look at how bad your relationship with yourself really is. Set a timer for 5 minutes and answer these questions:
- How do you talk to yourself? (You know that voice in your head? Listen in: What’s it saying?)
- How do you talk about yourself to others? (Do you ever say things aloud like “I’m so dumb”, “I’m such an idiot”? When someone compliments you, what do you say? )
- Can you trust yourself? Do you keep your word to yourself? When you say you’re going to do something, do you do it? (Think of this morning: did you wake up when you said you’d wake up? How about yesterday: Did you have a plan for how the day would go? Did you follow through?)
I really encourage you to ask yourself those questions as that alone will begin to shift your relationship with yourself. Awareness is always the first step. We don’t know what we don’t know. If you don’t know the status of your relationship you don’t know how to improve it. We can’t fix what we can’t see. Get started by asking those questions and then move forward with the following four steps.
4 Steps to Improve Your Relationship
Get out a pad of paper or notebook and start writing down the mean or negative things you say to yourself during the day. A therapist once gave me this advice and I remember telling her that there wasn’t enough paper in the world. Seriously, the thought of beginning to write down all the negative chatter in my head was overwhelming. Yet I did begin and guess what….change happened. Slowly at first but the beauty of this whole self-development process is that, once you become aware to what’s going on, you see things much quicker and change happens at a faster rate. What would have taken me months to change before now literally can take hours. Even if you write down half of it, that means you’re 50% more aware of what’s going on in your head than you were last week.
It’s time to learn about yourself. Look over your notes: What are you most critical about yourself for? Where do you judge yourself most? Why? What has happened in your life that has made you sensitive in those areas? Whose voice does your inner voice sound like (A parent? Sibling? Teacher?)
When you can start to understand where your voice is coming from and why, you start to create some distance between the thought and your reality. It is important to start to observe your thoughts instead of believing you are your thoughts. Remember, thoughts are merely sentences in your head. Often, not even true sentences. The difference between observing your thoughts and just running on automatic-pilot on your thoughts is huge. Instead of thinking “I am lazy” you think “I’m telling myself I’m lazy.” You may even think “I’m telling myself I’m lazy because that’s what my parents used to tell me”. Why does this step matter? It changes how you feel. Think of how you feel when you think “I am lazy” versus “I’m telling myself I’m lazy because….”
It is now up to you to manage that inner voice. Start sticking up for yourself to yourself. When you hear yourself being critical, speak up. Say things like: “I hear you but I am choosing to not think that thought now” or “I’m sorry but I’m not going to beat myself up for that right now” or “I did the best I could. Next time I’ll …” I like thinking of my mind like a car and bringing attention to who’s driving the car? Who’s in the passenger seat? Who can I move to the backseat? For example, often when I’m writing, I hear my inner perfectionist pipe up. I tell her that she can speak up when I’m editing but for now, please remain quietly in the backseat. [tweetshare tweet=”How can you stick up for yourself to yourself?” username=”SusieBarolo”]
4) Pour Love:
This step will seem outrageous if you are a beginner on this journey but stick with me. The idea of pouring love on yourself can seem crazy but that’s just what I want you to do. The universe doesn’t make duplicates. Your exact self is here on earth for a reason. Your exact self, all of you, is exactly as it’s supposed to be. Practice loving yourself unconditionally. This step is all about looking at how can you view what you think of as your negative attributes in a different light? For example, I used to think of myself as stubborn and now I view myself as persistent and passionate. How can you view yourself in a positive light? As if you were your best friend? Because you are the best friend you’ll ever have. It is no one else’s job to love you. It is yours. Ask yourself these questions to get started in pouring love on yourself: “What feels most like love right now Susie? How can I pour love on myself? How can I support Susie today?
It’s time. Get Started
Today my relationship with myself doesn’t resemble any part of my former relationship with myself. My inner talk is completely different than it was 5 years ago. I actually would have nothing to write on that paper for the therapist today. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with down times. It’s that I’ve so programmed myself to see my down times with love and compassion so I have a different relationship with myself. If one of my son’s was suffering from a poor decision they made, I wouldn’t berate them and point out everything that they did wrong, and now I treat myself similarly. I can look at the things that happen in my life with a kind eye, learn from them, and grow forward.
How does this impact my life and my other relationships? In every possible way. Today my relationships with other people don’t resemble any part of my former relationships. I am not going to be around people who put me down or criticize me because I don’t put myself down or criticize myself. I expect more of the people around me because I expect more of myself. The people around me uplift and support me because I support and uplift myself.
I urge you to take the beginning of this month and the end of this decade to commit to yourself. Pour love on yourself. Learn about yourself. Commit to making your relationship with yourself the most rewarding, compassionate, uplifting relationship of your life. I promise you everything else will flow from that. If you want help, I am here. I am passionate about this work because I’ve seen the difference it has made in my life. These are simple but not easy steps and I am magical at helping women discover their magnificent, unique selves. You’re not meant to do this alone.