Many times when we talk about relationships we focus on those relationships we have with other people. I think it is important to develop and maintain healthy relationships with friends, family, co-workers, etc. I also believe having a healthy, positive, and loving relationship with yourself is crucial. The type of relationship you have with yourself can impact the relationships you have with others. If you don’t love yourself, or even like yourself, it will be difficult for others to like you. Asha Stephen, Ph.D. staff psychologist at the University of Oregon, stated “Treat yourself the way that you wish others would treat you. When you respect and love yourself, you make it easier for others to do the same”.
You might be asking what kind of relationship you have yourself. Maybe you’re wondering how to develop a good relationship with yourself? Really, it’s no different than maintaining a good relationship with a friend, partner, or family member. Healthy relationships take work and an investment of time, effort, and good communication. Evaluate what your needs are and spend some time figuring out how to meet those needs. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself and let go of the notion you must be “perfect”.
California State University offers several suggestions for developing a good relationship with yourself including:
- Take time to listen to your body and be aware of how you’re feeling
- Practice positive self-talk
- Give yourself simple pleasures daily
- Show self-respect
- Learn from your mistakes
- Appreciate yourself
If you don’t currently have a good relationship with yourself, I encourage you to practice being your own best friend. I often remind my daughter to “choose kindness” when it relates to other people. But really, I think we could all benefit from choosing kindness when it relates to ourselves. Start with basic self-care strategies like getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and implementing physical activities into your daily routine. Once you have those things mastered you can begin to practice other healthy self-relationship habits. Remember, you can do this!