The relationship you have with yourself

“The relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.” Robert Holden

Try this exercise: imagine being in a relationship with someone you didn’t love, found to be deeply flawed, worthless, and not good enough. Now imagine you have to be in this relationship for the rest of your life. How would that relationship feel? How would that relationship affect your thoughts, behaviour and day-to-day life? 

It’s important to evaluate the relationship you have with yourself. Ask yourself: would you speak to someone else the way you speak about yourself?

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” Audre Lorde

Self-care is about looking after yourself and your mental health. The relationship you have with yourself is crucial to your own wellbeing and also to creating healthy and happy relationships with others. Being kind to yourself regularly is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Self-care can look like different things for different people. For some, self-care might be taking time to rest each week; for others, it may be sweating it out at the gym or going for a run outside. Self-care could be going for a walk in one’s neighbourhood, spending time in nature, or seeing or speaking to friends regularly. Here are a few habits you can start today that can bring about a positive change to improving the relationship you have with yourself:

  • Invest in yourself. Spend 15–30 minutes each day doing something that uplifts you.
  • When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said.
  • If you stumble or feel you have failed, don’t beat yourself up. Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive.
  • Do something to wind down at the end of each day.
  • Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself.

The Mental Health Foundation has a number of guides to help you look after yourself.