Often when we talk about relationships we think about interactions with others – we also think about intimate relationships – and all of these are important. The people around us shape our lives and define it. The one relationship we often forget about though is the most important one – the one with ourselves.
If relationships with others shape our lives our relationship with ourselves shapes our interactions and feelings about others. How we feel about ourselves can help us to form healthy interactions and friendships with clear boundaries , but in on the flip side how we feel about ourselves can lead to us putting up barriers , having unhealthy boundaries and impacting on our ability to connect with those around us.
When did you last think about how you felt about yourself? When did you last consider what kind of relationship you have with yourself?
Is it positive , full of praise and loving and caring ? – or is it a bit of an afterthought – the last one to get looked after ? – or is it even one which is angry or bitter or unfulfilled?
Relationships are like an never ending cycle of connections – the first ones we experience as young child shape how we see the world around us, this is turn shapes how we experience the world and see ourselves and finally how we build connections with others. It’s complex and takes time in the therapy space to unpick the threads that have bound someone to their current beliefs.
There are two analogies which I love – stories which can help you think differently about how you treat yourself.
Firstly, imagine you met a new person – you like them and decide to be friends with them. Imagine then if you presented them with a list of all the things, they should change which will mean you would like them better? Imagine being presented with one in return ? whilst this seems extremely rude ( and it is !) ... think about how you might sometimes do this – with you ! ... instead of accepting you for who you are and encouraging and on occasion giving some thoughtful feedback as you would a friend you instead run through your lists of changes – things that will make you more .. something else ... and less... well whatever it was ...
The age-old question of would you treat a friend this way can really help you look and see if you need to be kinder to yourself.
Now it can take time to create changes especially when thoughts have been held onto for a long time – we take time in the space of therapy to explore and become curious – there is no quick fix but do not be disheartened.
My second story is that of the sat nav – you have programmed it to take you on a certain route – but you decide to change direction. Initially the sat nav will try and take you back the other way – try and lead you back to the old road. You continue on and each time it gets the chance it tells you to turn back … and yet you preserve and after a while – the sat nav clicks on and realises its time to go a different route – it reprogrammed and starts to help you again on your new road.
Your mind is like that – initially you will fall back to old ways of thinking – but if you persevere the keep heading in the new direction you will notice that it will start to become your natural destination.. you have reprogrammed and your thoughts become helpful on your journey – you start to feel different.
Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. Learning to have a healthy one is vital – it creates the platform on which everything else is built.
That’s why in Reconnections we start with You … and then we can create magical Us We and Them.