Why the relationship with yourself is the most important, and the only, relationship you’ll ever have.
If you’re anything like me, you believe that relationships are important. In fact, I would go as far as to say that relationships are one of the most important, if not the most important thing, in any human being’s life. Great relationships based on genuine human connection can bring real joy to a person’s daily life, yet the absence of any such connection can just as soon bring misery. In a world where communication is easy, instant and everywhere, you would think that relationships would be a walk in the park, wouldn’t you? Hold that thought.
We live in a world where there are more people than ever before, and where the possibilities for connecting with each other are seemingly endless, no matter where you might be in the world. Most of us in the developed world have mobile phones, many of them smartphones with the capacity to easily connect with someone at the touch of a few buttons. Yet, as a society it seems we are more isolated, more out of touch and more alone than ever before. Genuine human connection feels hard to come by in a world where inauthenticity is everywhere, most people are too busy to spend time fostering good relationships and there is a serious shortage of examples as to what such relationships actually look like. We are shown images of ‘perfection’ everywhere; in advertisements and especially on social media, where it is very easy to get dragged into the belief that everyone else has a perfect life and you don’t. Do you ever feel lonely in this world so full of people? Do you delete a social media post if it doesn’t get ‘enough’ likes? Do you have the feeling you’re constantly competing with others? You wouldn’t be alone in saying so. In my personal experience, this world can feel like a very lonely place. Yet we cannot blame the world as it is, or other people, or social media for this issue. The solution lies not in fixing the external, but in finding and rediscovering your internal self; your sense of who you really are.
It is safe to say that in our society, relations with others are given far more priority than cultivating a healthy, loving, balanced relationship with self. We are bombarded with information, stimulation and imagery constantly, and shown unrealistically high standards to live up to. As a result, we compare ourselves with others relentlessly, strive to garner attention on social media and compete with each other for better grades, more prestigious jobs and other material things that prove our ‘status.’ This is fine to a certain extent, and a natural part of being human. However, too much of this leads to a degradation of the self, spiritual and mental decay and a feeling that you can never ever be good enough. Much of this behaviour is simply a veneer, an illusion, covering up a fundamental insecurity about who we really are as people. This constant competition is toxic to your authentic self and takes away from who you actually are on a soul level.
It’s an old cliche, but you really do have to love yourself first. Not so that other people will, as that is about attaining an intangible result, but so that what you perceive out there in the world is love, instead of danger, threats and insults. So that you don’t feel the need to perpetually compete with others and show the world how ‘amazing’ your life is, or how much you have, yet instead can simply be content with who you are. So you don’t perpetually feel the need to pepper your face with so many filters the image doesn’t even look like you anymore but instead can take pride in who you are. So that you can live a life directed from your own heart, your own desires and a place of authenticity. Love is abundant, love is infinite and love is everywhere, but you have to train yourself to look for it. First of all within yourself.
The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. Why? Because it’s the only relationship you will ever truly have. It’s the relationship that lasts from day one until life’s end, it’s the relationship that shapes every facet of your life, the one that dictates your words, actions, and to a large extent, your thoughts. Every other relationship in your life is majorly affected by this relationship. Through changing and improving your relationship with self, relationships worth having will get better, whilst toxic ones that do not serve you will become more and more evident.
So how can you start to improve your relationship with self? Well, first of all, you can start to take some time each and every day just for you. Where any distractions are turned off, and you can simply be with yourself and listen to what’s really going on. I find meditation first thing in the morning to be particularly ideal for this purpose. Solitude is a much undervalued and misunderstood thing these days, yet it is only through solitude and listening to our inner voices that we can discern what’s real for us from what isn’t. Secondly, you need to start looking after yourself on all levels. That means eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. It means actively choosing to do things that nourish you and make you feel joyful, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes a day. It means choosing to be kind and loving towards yourself, even when you might not feel like it. And if social media and constantly being on your phone is doing you more harm than good, perhaps it’s time to delete those apps from your phone and see how you feel a week afterwards. The process of reconnecting with self isn’t necessarily easy, and neither does it happen overnight, but it is worth it if you want to have a life of joy, purpose and real love.
You’re the only you that will ever exist. Remember that. You’re worth loving, listening to and taking care of, but you can’t expect others to do so if you don’t yourself. Start setting a positive example for others in your life by beginning to truly listen to, and take care of yourself on all levels.
Self-esteem is a topic I’m really passionate about and is something I’ll be writing about frequently on this blog. If you have any questions about this post or about self-esteem in general, please pop me an enquiry.
Here’s to a happier, more authentic and loving world!
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