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Building a Healthy Self Relationship: Make Your World a Better Place

In my work as a life coach, people come to me to explore and improve life direction, confidence, life purpose, and connection. They want to understand why they feel lost and stressed, what's missing. What I've found most lacking at the center of those things is a healthy, loving relationship with self. It is the relationship most often ignored, the one that takes last priority but is the most important.

A lot of us treat ourselves like shit. We have a critical inner commentary day in and day out that demeans and diminshes us. We usually call that self talk our inner voice, but I don't think that voice really coming from us. To me, it's the other voice, not the inner voice.

The reflection of a woman looking at a grey stone wall

The other voice is the voice of scolding parents or teachers, status quo, the moments when someone said something that put us down and we believed them. The other voice is all the times we doubted ourselves, when instead of standing up for ourselves we sat down. That other voice is not us, not our hearts, and it is not our friend. It does not come from us. It comes at us.

The other voice holds us back, tells old stories, it wants us to stay the same. It needs us to be in a distant and/or critical relationship with our truest selves to survive, to stay powerful. It masquerades as motivation and care, it tells us that once everything else is perfect it will set us free. It drowns out the real inner voice, does immense harm to our self trust, and creates an ever expanding rift in our relationship with ourselves.

That other voice isn't you. Your inner voice would never be so cruel. That other voice is a combination of fear and doubt habitually repeating the same things over and over. It isn't telling the whole truth. It is the noise that gets in the way of your real life, your true inner voice. Your true inner voice believes in you, loves you and trusts you. It wants the very best for you. It knows you are good enough and knows you are lovable. Your inner voice may have been drowned out but it is not gone, it has been here the whole time, ready and willing to make friends whenever you are.

Without a good relationship with ourselves we get lost, frustrated, and we feel alone or abandoned.

The inner voice, on the other hand, is us. It is the sound of our own self, our own compass and instructions . It is a loving guide and a consistent supporter. The inner voice makes space for us to be here, gives us time to decide. It is a way-shower instead of a task master. It connects us with our brains and our bodies so we are clearly connected to all the information flowing through us.

Two hands reaching for each other from above and below with a blue sky and a few clouds in the background

For a many years now, since I quit drinking, started going to therapy, and learning to notice myself in all the noise of the world, I have been working to strengthen my inner voice and my relationship with myself. I have been turning up the volume of my true inner voice and cultivating a deep friendship with myself. To me, it is the thing I need more than anything else. More than money, more than stuff, more than status or titles- I need to be my own best friend.

I've been building a healthy relationship with myself for several years now. I remember hearing once that you don't try to rush into being your own best friend, that it takes time to rebuild trust. If a stranger knocked at your door you wouldn't just fling the door wide open tell them all your secrets and invite them to move in immediately. It's like any new relationship- you take time to get to know someone. You take time to get to know yourself- without the other voice as a third wheel.

So often we feel like someone outside of ourselves has to take care of us, treat us kindly, build us up . We believe that outer approval is more important than inner peace. Because we aren't best friends with ourselves many of us feel like imposters, we feel insecure, full of doubt and never good enough. We go outside of ourselves for what we need to go inside for. And yet, the more attention we pay to improving our relationship with ourselves, the better we are at relationships with other people, and the more confidence and self trust comes naturally.

The way to start is by noticing how you talk to yourself. What you say. When you say it. Start today- notice what it's like inside your head, and then visualize that voice. What does that other voice look like? How much time do you want to spend with that other voice in your head? What level of trust is there? How loved do you feel when they're around?

Building a healthy self relationship is the key to being able to feel a sense of well being, even when your world is chaotic and things are overwhelming and hard. We have a solid, trusting relationship at our fingertips all the time- our relationship with ourselves. We never have to leave ourselves behind, or be unavailable.

It's time we learned to be our own biggest supporters so we can live lives that fully express who we are and that we feel loved, seen, and heard no matter what.

Sometimes I feel like it's just me against the world. Like I can't take one more thing, and then one more thing happens. Life gets complicated and I know where to turn, because it's not me against the world- it's me with me, on the same side, capable of handling whatever comes up because we have each other.

The world needs us to be friends with ourselves. See if you can meet your self today. Open to the knock at the door. Welcome your voice and offer it a seat at the table. See what it might have to say. I have my clients write to themselves in the third person to get some objectivity- maybe try that.

By being in a good relationship with yourself you make the world a better place. You make the lives of the people around you better just by being in a good relationship with you. Your sense of trust and ability to be vulnerable means you can count on yourself. It changes your relationship with your partner, your children, your family and friends. It changes your relationship with the whole world. By holding out a hand to you, you can start healing a suffering world. Truly. Hurt people hurt people and it's time we stopped hurting ourselves.

Befriending yourself is a radical act, an act that just might create the life you've always wanted.

Questions for you to ask yourself:

Right now, how close are you with yourself in a loving way?

Would you want to spend a day with you? Not you as you are to other people, you as you are with YOU.

Do you find yourself dismissive, judgemental, and harsh? When you talk to yourself is it how you would talk to your best friend? Your child? Your pet? A stranger?

What is your relationship with yourself like? How do you describe it?

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