I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships this week. In fact, I am always thinking about relationships in some way, as I do believe they are one of the most important things in life. So very important.
Yet, when you think of relationships, what is your first thought?
Is it of yourself, or someone else? Most people will say someone else. Why? Because, I think, we are in many ways programmed to think externally first.
However, it is always, and will forever be, the ways in which we look internally first that we will then be able to turn our gaze outward.
Meaning that how we think about and treat ourselves is exactly how we will think about and treat other people. What to do?
We must learn to take care of ourselves, love ourselves, be good to ourselves, and find ways to make time for ourselves.
It is very common, however, to think that by taking care of others we are, in effect, taking care of ourselves. Not so. When we “take care” of others at the expense of our own self-care, or at the expense of their own development, we help no one; and, no one grows.
What can we do?
We can begin to develop a healthy relationship with ourselves now. Today.
It is through developing a relationship with ourselves that we can begin to love ourselves for the human beings that we are. And, guess what? As we develop a loving relationship with ourselves, our external relationships will become more stable, and loving.
It is then that everyone in our sphere, starting with ourselves, has the ability to grow and develop. Does this mean that our relationships will be easy? No. It might mean that some of them will be more difficult.
Especially if we have created relationships with people that have superseded our own relationship with ourselves.
However, once we begin to look inward, and make choices about what’s best for ourselves, we can begin to move ourselves forward.
And, create that loving relationship with ourselves that is absolutely necessary and needed in order to have healthy relationships with anyone.
Alright, so how and where do we begin? And, what strategies can you use to get in touch with yourself, and begin to create, develop, and maintain the most important relationship in your life?
Let’s take a look at a few that I use daily.
Until about three years ago, I was always on the go. Always. I didn’t ever really stop until it was time for bed. And then, I would not sleep well. When I started to incorporate quiet time into my day, I immediately noticed the health benefits.
If quiet time was so beneficial, why didn’t you incorporate it into your life earlier?
Because I didn’t know how. When you live one way, that is what you know. Sounds silly. It is, however, very true. Unless someone else shows you another way, you will continue to do things that are not beneficial for you.
All the while, there is another way, you just don’t have access to it yet.
If you are always running, I suggest building in quiet time into your day. How? Any way you can. Know that when I write quiet time, I mean any time you can get away from technology and other people.
As much as I love people, and all of my relationships, as I’m sure you also do, we all need a break from the constant stimulation. Needed.
Journaling and Writing
Journaling and writing are also helpful. As I’ve written in other posts, I’ve been writing for some time, however, I only began to write introspectively these past couple of years.
Writing about how you are feeling, what your hopes and dreams are, and how you intend to achieve them is a totally different type of writing.
When we write as a way to understand ourselves better, we open up the possibility of actually getting to know ourselves better. And, to have a quality relationship with ourselves, and everyone else, we must know who we are. Very important.
When we get to know ourselves, really know ourselves, diving deep into why we feel as we do, and getting clearer on the things that have happened in our past, which we are still holding onto, we can begin to heal.
And, it is inside of this healing where our deepest and most profound transformation can occur. Learning to love the person we were, are, and will be. Special.
I’ve written about my meditation practice in several posts now, and, indeed, on this topic it is no different. The health benefits I’ve experienced from learning how to mediate, and to incorporate meditation into my daily routine have been, and are, profound. Why?
Because it is your time. Just for you. A time for introspection, to learn about yourself. What makes you, you, and how your humanness works. When you sit, you get to know more about how your mind and body work, and how they work together.
And, inside of a learning like this, you have more access to understand yourself and all of humanity in a whole new way.
In the article, Creating a Meditation Practice: 3 Steps in 4 Minutes, I write about some simple steps you can take to create a meditation practice. It takes time, dedication, and creating the habit. If you are a beginner, it is also helpful to have someone coach you along the way.
What is most important? Taking the time you need to begin a meditation practice if it is something you’ve been interested in. Why wait?
For the longest time I didn’t focus on my diet. In fact, it was one of those things that bothered me terribly, as I was very overweight, yet, I continued to eat poorly.
Not loving myself for a long time.
It is important to eat well. What we put into our body has direct implications for how our mind and body functions. Really. When I began to focus on my diet, which started slowly, I would take one thing out of my diet at a time that was unhealthy for me. Then, I would take something else out. Takes time.
The amount of clarity you gain by removing foods loaded with artificial ingredients and high levels of sugar is profound. Not something I ever really understood or knew about. It is loving yourself to create a diet that is rich in nutrients.
A high-quality diet will fuel your mind, body, and soul. Believe me.
There are plenty of articles out there about creating a healthy diet, and you can also work on your diet with your doctor. What do I know? That eating more naturally produced foods, vegetables, beans, fruits, and nuts has been very beneficial for me.
My diet has been totally plant-based for almost a year now, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, except, the change that comes from continuing to learn about new ways to purchase and prepare new foods.
I’ve always believed in exercise, and through most of my life have enjoyed walking. However, I never really developed a healthy exercise habit until about 2 years ago. Exercise is important. We all need it.
Further, exercise also gives you time for yourself. Time to explore your own needs when it comes to being with your body. You can develop a healthy exercise habit or routine by simply creating the space in your day to do so.
I know. It sounds easy, and yet it can be difficult. Understood. Many people ask or wonder about how to develop the motivation to keep up a regular exercise routine. In the article, Motivation: Is it an inside or outside job?, I write about the fact that motivation comes from within.
Motivation comes from the doing of that which you want to do regularly. Simple. People often say they aren’t motivated, so they can’t get to the gym, or that they are too busy, so there is not time to go for a walk. Normal.
However, the only way to become motivated is to actually go to the gym, or make the space in your day for a walk. That’s it. And, after you’ve done so, and continue to do so, in time, you will find your motivation.
You will also have developed another healthy habit, and routine. Loving yourself.
Sleep is so important, yet in the United States in particular, we often disregard our sleep in favor of other activities. Though I sleep better than ever before, I still struggle in this area.
It’s like that though. You develop yourself, loving yourself, a little at a time. You learn, you create new habits, some old habits hang around longer than others, then they also eventually go away. All the while I am inviting you to persist.
Persist in loving yourself, and allowing yourself the time needed to recuperate from your day. So very important. When we do not give ourselves that time, we will not be our best the next day. It’s just not possible to be your best when you are tired.
Believe me, I know. I spent many years sleeping poorly. Staying up very late, drinking too much, and sleeping, well, like you would imagine. Not well.
And, like the rest of this article, it takes creating the healthy habit of loving yourself enough to ensure that you get the rest you need.
When you are fully rested, you have the opportunity to be your best the next day. For yourself, first, and then for all of those around you.
Alright, there we have it. There are 6 different tips that when worked on, over time, can bring you more time, energy, rest, peace, and overall well being.
And, inside of increasing our overall well being, we are practicing the art of loving ourselves.
For, it is inside of the love that we show to ourselves first, that we can really begin to love other people. When we don’t show ourselves the love we deserve, by taking care of ourselves, we cannot really love other people. Not really.
Loving starts with the love you show yourself. Show yourself love today, then, by taking up a healthy habit you’ve been avoiding or putting off.
It takes creating the time, and taking action. Remember, developing your new healthy habit will take time. Yet, I am inviting you to persist in your quest to develop your healthy habit. Why?