Your Number One Relationship
Our relationships form such a big part of how we see ourselves and we put an awful lot into them. How are yours working out for you? Do the relationships in your life fulfil and sustain you and give you what you need? Chances are if the answer is no, then it could be time for you to take a look inside...
YOU DON’T ALWAYS GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN
We put so much into our relationships, be that our work relationships, family relationships or intimate relationships...we think of what we can do to make other people’s lives that little easier, of how can we show we love them or how to make them feel special. A great deal of our internal happiness is often tied up in how much we perceive we are loved by those around us. We judge ourselves by how we think we are being judged and seen by others. So then we put even more time and effort into other people...and so it continues.
CARRIE FINALLY GETS IT
The main relationship that’s truly key and vital to our happiness, is the one that we have with ourselves - Just as Carrie says on the last ever Sex And The City! But how much effort do we put into that one? How often do we consider what makes us feel good, put our own needs first and consider them above and beyond that of others? I bet it makes you feel uncomfortable and guilty even thinking about that! That would be selfish and we would probably judge ourselves heavily for that - or someone else if we deemed that’s what they were doing. I’ve done that before, haven’t you? Got all judgemental about someone who is clearly taking good care of themselves?
PUT YOUR MASK ON
So why is it that we have such an issue with self-care - why do we associate self-care with selfish? They’re two totally different things! Let’s use the common analogy of the oxygen mask...so when you’re on a flight, when you listen to the safety announcement (which we all do diligently of course!) you’re advised that in the event of an emergency, the oxygen masks will drop down. You’re instructed to put on your own oxygen mask, before you help anyone else. The logic being that if you pass out, you’re not much use to anyone else. Makes sense right? Is it selfish to make sure that you’re alert and conscious so that you can make sure your kids are ok? I hope to never ever be in that scenario, but if it happens, I pray that I have the common sense of making sure I’m in the best possible position to be able to help everyone else. I am in no doubt that this will probably mean fighting against my instincts to help everyone else first though!
THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF CARE AND SELFISH
Selfish literally means ‘a person, action, or motive which is lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure’. I don’t believe that taking good care of yourself fits in that criteria. Whatever self-care means to you, it’s a positive thing and it’s our responsibility to change how we think about this so that we can be more present for our family, happier role-models for our kids, more fulfilled colleagues at work...The key really is in the ‘lacking consideration’ part of the definition for me. When I take time out to read a book, meditate, exercise, go for a walk or chill out with my friends - I’m not doing this because I don’t care how my absence or actions impacts others...the opposite. I’m doing it because I know that by recharging my batteries, inspiring myself or giving myself rest actually enables me to be and do more in the long run. My loved ones deserve that. I deserve that. I finally get that now.
AVOID THE BRICK WALL
So coming back to my original point, if you aren’t taking these steps to make yourself happy, fulfilled and balanced within yourself, you’re going to feel the impact of that in your relationships. If you’re out there just giving, giving and giving some more, you’re going to hit a wall. At some point, you will be empty. Then what happens is, we start expecting a different result from our relationships. We are looking for them to give us something, but that’s never been the game up until now! It sort of throws everyone for a loop! We change the rules half way through!
GREAT WAYS TO DO SOME SELF CARE
The fact is that we can’t expect from others what we aren’t prepared to give to ourselves. We can look for external fulfilment for what is essentially an internal issue. Spotting these patterns in ourselves and identifying what it is we are looking for can really change the relationship you have with yourself. So as a start point, take a look at how you treat yourself, what you do positively for yourself - which might not be a lot right now - and commit to making yourself a priority. Here are some ideas of the kinds of things that you can do (and some of our favourites are in there) as great acts of self-care to help you recharge, give you thinking space and time to yourself…
Go for a walk and have a listen to an inspiring podcast
Take a long hot bath with the candles on and some relaxing music
Create a morning routine that gets you set up for the day
Take some time to read a book
Spend time hanging out with friends
Watch a film that makes you laugh
Spend time doing your hobby, something that you have fun doing
Practice some meditation
Treat yourself to a lovely spa day
Take some time to plan for something that gets you excited, a holiday or a personal project
TAKE A LOOK INSIDE
This is list could go on forever - you get the drift. What is the one thing that you do to make yourself feel good quickly? Is it something from this list or is it something else. If you were being consistent with taking care of yourself, how do you think that would impact your closest relationships?
So if your relationships aren’t where you want them to be, look at what you need first, look at how you’re taking care of yourself, how you’re feeling about yourself first and make sure you have that covered off before looking any further. It’s amazing what you will find!
Love and hugs,