I ask people all the time what is the most important relationship in your life? Most people will answer their spouse, children, parents, friends, and then look to me to see if they got the answer right. Well, my friends, there is no wrong answer, but I am always hoping to hear that someone views the relationship they have with themselves as being at least as important as the relationships we have with others.
Sadly, the most neglected relationship most people have is the one with themselves. I believe that if we take care of that relationship, it can, and will, improve our other relationships.
Why, you may ask, do you think that? Because I have seen it over and over again in my career and in my life. When we do not take care of the relationship with our self, that person you look at in the mirror every day of your life, then we limit our ability to have really good outside relationships (all those listed in the above paragraph). When we are looking for love, respect, acceptance, whatever from external sources only, then we tend to be continually disappointed. If we learn to have those things from the inside, then we have more to give and less to need.
Don’t get me wrong, all those social relationships are very important because humans are social creatures, but in order to have the best relationships possible with others, we really need to have the best possible relationship with ourselves.
Take a few minutes and assess how you feel about yourself. Are you happy with who you are? Are you overly critical of yourself? What are your strengths? I’m not going to ask about your weaknesses because most of us can list those off in rapid fire fashion since they get so much of our attention most of the time. If this is not true of you….AWESOME! You are probably one of the people who has already learned that good relationships start with the only one you’re going to have for the entirety of you life, you!
After you take a few minutes and write some of this down (yes, write it down if you really want to make a difference), then you can start to discover the areas you would like to improve and focus on those, 1 item at a time. When people are trying to make changes, the biggest pitfall is trying to change everything at once. This is overwhelming and a great recipe for giving up. Maybe you would like to be more confident, feel stronger, or even just like yourself more; all these are possible and necessary to make life easier and happier.
So take the challenge and assess what you like about yourself and the strengths you possess. If you notice that something(s) are not where you would like them to be, then pick ONE and start there! The better relationship you have with you, the better all the other relationships in your life will get.