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“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the universe, deserve your love and affection.”

~ Buddha

You may have tons of relationships in your life (especially if you are a young adult) – i.e. parent/child, sibling, family, romantic, friendship, co-worker, neighbors, associates, peers, etc., but do you have a healthy relationship with yourself?

If you want to learn more about relationships with others, there is plenty of research available to help you better understand them. However, the research on self-relationships and self-love is limited at best. Articles, self-help guides, and studies on developing (and maintaining) healthy relationships with friends, family, and a partner are always available – which is a good thing. But, what about you?

Why having a healthy relationship with yourself is important

Something is missing. The most important relationship is your relationship with yourself. However, it is often ignored or dismissed. This is tragic because how you perceive and feel about yourself forms your identity. It helps guide your decisions, it impacts how you see yourself, others, and the world around you, and it influences your thoughts, attitude, and behaviors. Thus, having a healthy relationship with yourself is imperative to your overall health and happiness.

Another benefit? It provides you with a clearer perspective on everything. In other words, it helps you look at situations in an entirely new and different light. It also strengthens your existing relationships and helps you develop new ones. The truth is, if you do not have a strong sense of who you are and what you want and need then it is impossible for you to truly understand someone else and what he or she needs.

What does a healthy relationship with yourself even look like?

Well, self-love involves recognizing and accepting that you are valuable, unique, special, talented, “a catch,” intelligent, witty, and a host of other amazing things. It is also understanding and embracing your strengths and weaknesses so you can improve who you are as a human being, partner, sibling, child, friend, co-worker, etc.

When you’re in a healthy relationship with yourself, you put yourself first – not because you’re selfish or inconsiderate, but because you can’t love others if you don’t love yourself. You also cannot be in healthy relationships with others if you are not in one with yourself. It’s a two-fold connection.

Imagine preparing to take-off for an airplane ride to your chosen destination. The flight attendant bellows the safety instructions over the loud system to the flyers, ‘Secure your oxygen mask on your face before putting it on anyone else, even a child.’ If you are not ‘secure’ then how can you be there for someone else? You can’t.

Therefore, practicing self-care and demonstrating positive self-esteem and self-confidence, having strong self-respect, and displaying goodwill towards others is essential for having a healthy relationship with yourself and others. Ironically, most of us have no problem focusing and loving others unconditionally, however, we find it extremely difficult to extend that type of focus and love to ourselves.    

But, we cannot emotionally survive if our needs are not met.

So, if you are struggling to love yourself and form a healthy relationship with yourself, look no more because this article will teach how to develop a healthy, happy, and loving relationship with yourself.

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Actionable Steps


1

Practice self-care

A great way to gain a healthy relationship with yourself is to practice self-care. In other words, focus on your own emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical needs first. Once you have a firm grasp on what you need to not only survive but thrive, you can start focusing on others.
 
You can practice self-care by: adopting a well-balanced diet, getting proper rest and sleep each day, spending quality time with friends, your partner, and other loved ones, and getting regular exercise. Many people also really enjoy practicing relaxation techniques – i.e. yoga, cognitive reframing, mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, etc.
 
It is imperative you always make time for yourself each day. It helps you de-stress from the day’s challenges and it’s a good way to develop a healthy relationship with yourself.

2

Find comfort in solitude

The goal of this step is to learn how to be okay with doing things alone. Does the mere thought of going solo scare you? If so, you’re not alone. However, when we’re able to find comfort in solitude it enriches our lives by teaching us who we are. It highlights our strengths and weaknesses. It forces us to become more in-tune with who were are and what we need in our lives. Once we’ve mastered this step, it’s truly comforting.
 
So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and a pastry or sandwich, and settle in at your local coffee shop with a good book, or take a scenic hike or bike around your local park – all of these activities will help you foster a healthy relationship with yourself!
 
Psychologist’s Note: You can gain an amazing amount of insight from being ‘alone.’ More specifically, it can teach you how to accurately assess situations and make decisions and it can help you manage your time so you have more time for yourself and others. It can even teach you how to entertain yourself – without the aid of others.

3

Be kinder to others

If you want to cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself, you’ll need to work on being kinder to others. I’m not saying you’re not already kind to others, but the kinder you are to others, the healthier you’ll feel – mind, body, and soul. Plus, we could all stand to be kinder to others, even if we already consider ourselves kind and considerate people. There is no limit to kindness.
 
Another benefit? Being kind to others makes us feel good. It can also improve our mood, energize us, and help us reap the benefits of making someone else feel heard, appreciated, and valued. So, pay-it-forward at your local coffee shop and grab the tab for the customer behind. Or, open the door for an older adult who is struggling to enter the building. There are so many ways to be kinder to others, from compliments to gestures. You just have to pick one!

4

Read more about this topic

If you are interested in learning how to have a healthy relationship with yourself, check out the following articles: 5 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Relationship with…Yourself, 9 Ways to Build a Healthy Relationship with Yourself, and The Importance of Having a Healthy Relationship With Yourself.

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About the Author


Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn


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