Part of therapy often involves looking at the relationship we have with ourselves. Often people really struggle with being tough on themselves, battling that voice that says 'I’m not doing a good enough job' or that 'I should be a better wife' or should somehow be further along on my path by now. Sometimes in session I offer my clients the challenge of writing down on paper the way they talk to themselves internally in an effort to raise awareness to just how damaging this can be to our self-esteem and even affect how we feel day to day. Following are four ways that we can begin the process of being better to ourselves.
1- Self Awareness
It all starts with awareness. Unless we have some insight into how we treat ourselves it is hard to find a place to begin the road to bettering the relationship. As I mentioned above paying attention to how we talk to ourselves, the language we use and how often we criticize is a great start to opening a door to change. What does your internal voice sound like?
2- Self Care
Often we get so caught up in the stress and data overload of our day to day lives that we can forget to consciously pay attention to how we are doing. It is important that we find ways to take care of ourselves. If you are feeling stressed out, that is the perfect signal to slow down and do something that will help you to refuel. There are lots of forms of self care - your self care will likely be unique to you. What fills you back up when you feel depleted? For one person taking a walk is what they need whereas for someone else they may need a short getaway to refuel. Google “ideas for self-care” and a ton of ideas will be at your fingertips.
3- Self Growth
Paying attention to our self growth can help improve our lives as a whole - it can improve your relationship with yourself as well as your most important relationships with others. For many people part of self care can include seeing a Therapist. It’s a chance to have a space dedicated specifically to them that they can process all of the stress and emotional events of their lives. One of the great benefits of therapy is that it can help you change and grow into a better person with new habits and behaviors. Though, self growth is supported in therapy it is also very common to find your own self growth, whether that is through books, podcasts or deep conversations with family or friends.
4- Being ‘Selfish’
Often the term 'selfish' is seen as negative but if we find ways to be selfish in the right way, it can lead to healthier versions of ourselves which typically improves our relationships. Sometimes when people have a tendency of putting other people first, they will find themselves feeling a bit neglected which sometimes leads to an (often unconscious) pull on our partner or friends to fill us up. Saying 'no' is important in setting healthy boundaries for yourself - you deserve to have your needs met as much as anyone else. This will lead to a happier you and in turn will affect those around you in a positive way.