“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”Buddha
Reconnecting with ourselves
Imagine that you were trying to make friends with somebody. You really wanted to like them and for them to like you, but every time you got together with them they do nothing but complain, point out the things that they didn’t like about you, remark every time you fail, and almost never gave you any praise for how hard you are trying.
How long would you continue trying to be friends with them? How long would it take before you wrote them off as a crazy, sadistic, miserable person? How long would you let somebody you care about try to make friends with that person before sitting them down for a hard conversation about self-worth?
No go inside your own mind and listen to what that voice inside of you says throughout the day. How often it yammers in fear and berates you before you’ve even done anything ‘wrong’. Just watch how often it takes both sides of an argument in order to be able to keep talking. And it just keeps going, day in and day out; it talks so often that we forget that it isn’t us and we start believing the things it says.
Creating intentional relationships
So many of spend an incredible amount of energy creating and maintaining relationships with others. Yet, we totally forget to do the same thing with ourselves.
How do you intentionally create or deepen a relationship with another person? Do you get vulnerable and tell them what’s going on below the surface? Do you ask them how they are doing? Do you get to know what they care about and why?
So, why don’t you spend as much energy developing a relationship with yourself? It’s an odd catch-22 that so many of us find ourselves in – that we are willing to spend so much time and energy learning about those we call friends, and yet we rarely spend anywhere close to as much time getting to know ourselves in an intentional way.
But, don’t I already know myself?
Don’t worry – you aren’t alone. Plenty of people seem to fall into this trap. We assume because we spend all day with ourselves that we automatically know what our deepest desires are, what our greatest fears are, and who we most want to be in our lives.
And yet, as a coach, most people that I talk to stumble when I ask them what matters most to them. Few individuals can explain why they have the life they have and why they want the changes that they always talk about. Only a handful can talk about the emotions that toss them around like a roller coaster (even if it doesn’t show on the outside).
How to build a relationship with yourself
First off – recognize that the voice in your head is full of shit. Seriously – it’s really good at keeping you safe, but it sucks at helping you do much that’s useful in today’s day and age. Forgive it for doing its job, and go a level deeper to build an intentional relationship with yourself.
Next – ask yourself some hard questions. Take a pen and paper (because it forces you to actually complete your thoughts) and write down the answers to a couple of questions:
- What do I want most in my life right now?
- Why do I want that?
- How would I know if I’d gotten it?
- Why haven’t I gotten it yet?
- How would I need to grow in order to get that change?
Sounds easy, right? Great! Go for it. Nobody is watching, nobody will see your answers except for you. Most people stall out here… a big blank wall of ‘Oh my goodness, I DON’T KNOW!’ comes up. No worries – pretend that you were talking to a friend about this – how would you help them get to their answers?
Finally – Work with your accountabilibuddies. Of course, I think a coach is a good way to go, but a therapist, a best friend, and/or a family member all work as well, so long as you are willing to be totally honest with them. Open a conversation about these questions with them. Talking about it with another human is a surefire way to not only build a relationship with THEM but also do deepen your understanding of yourself.
Decide to be your own friend
So often we are used to stepping into being our own worst enemy. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Instead, commit to being your own friend. Call and check in on yourself, give yourself a high-five (Silly? Yes. Effective? Yes), and most importantly – care about yourself. It’s not selfishness, it’s sanity.