Are you one of those people who reads countless books on how to “fix” your partner so you can finally enjoy a life filled with peace, serenity, and happiness? If so, stop it. Everything you need to know to fix your relationship can be summed up with your answer to this question:
What is my relationship status with…myself?
That’s all there is to it. Answering that question will lead to a new-found clarity that you may have never received before now. How is this possible? Let me explain.
When we feel disconnected and disengaged from others, what we are really experiencing is a disconnection from ourselves. Something is out of balance inside of us and we’re not fully aware of what that imbalance is…yet. This is known as “cognitive dissonance,” that uncomfortable struggle between what we feel is real versus what we “know” in our heads to be true. That’s where the problem lies, so we need to turn our search for happiness inward and ask ourselves, “What is my relationship with myself?”
Some people struggle with the concept. It can be very hard to turn the spotlight around and focus on ourselves because some of what that spotlight illuminates can be ugly and uncomfortable. But in order to change our relationships with others, we must be willing to look in the mirror.
There are three things that are tied to how we feel about ourselves: self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence. And we must make the effort to inventory our own self because others can’t do this for us. Here’s another important lesson:
We cannot hold others accountable for our own happiness and peace.
That’s it, right there. The lesson to be learned. We need to stop looking outside ourselves for happiness, approval, and validation – all those key “feel good” words that fill book shelves and ereaders with endless volumes of meaningless blather. It is much, much simpler than that.
Here are some good questions to ask yourself if you’re struggling in a relationship:
- Do I spend more time catering to the needs of others more than my own, so as not to appear selfish or demanding? (We cover this misconception in the article “Does My Relationship Fill Me Up or Deplete Me?”)
- Am I too busy with life and work to stop and get to know myself better?
- Am I too concerned about disappointing others if I change?
When you sit down and answer those questions, being 100% honest with yourself during the process, you will learn how much you really like (or dislike) about yourself. And that’s where the change needs to occur.
While there are some great self-help books and audiotapes out there worth reading, skip them for now. Because I’m here to give you some hardcore truth, right now, free of charge:
Learn how to love yourself more. Truly love every part of who you are and how you show up.
Here are some valuable tips on how to strengthen the relationship you have with yourself.
- Self-care. Decide to do one thing every day that feels good for you. Eat that extra cookie. Take that relaxing bath. Add 15 minutes onto your 30-minute meditation. Take a yoga class. Do a workout you’ve never done before. These are all activities that promote self-love. Don’t deny yourself the chance to experience them.
- Listen to yourself more often. When was the last time you paid attention to the internal dialogue rolling through your mind? (Yes, it’s there all the time.) This dialogue is your knowing, your truth. It’s trying to tell you what you need to know, do, or experience. Tune in.
- 5-Minute Deep Breathing. Take a moment to notice your breathing. Is it quick and shallow, or deep and slow? Deep, cleansing breathing is probably one of the easiest things to do, and is also really good for you. It gets the oxygen and energy flowing throughout your body, and brings peace and calm without costing anything. Amazing, huh?
- Watch this video, the “7 (Not-So-Secret) Secrets” to getting better in sync with yourself and your intuitive knowing:
Many times when we experience strains or growing pains in a relationship, we have a tendency to blame or project our own negative feelings onto the other person. The only way to fix this is by turning inward and evaluating the relationship we have with ourselves. Once we learn to know what we need, deserve, expect, and understand about ourselves, then the love we have will grow and eventually expand outside of us, giving us the chance to gift it to others.