I can think of a handful of people and relationships that I love and care for deeply. Take a minute to think of 5 to 10 relationships you cherish. Could any of these relationships be better? Before we can answer this question, we have to address the main character in all of these relationship stories, you. Every relationship in your life is really an overflow of the relationship you have with yourself.
3 Major Relationship Roadblocks (with yourself) and How They Pour Into Your Relationships.
1. People often see themselves as something that needs to be fixed.
We hear it everywhere! Stand in line at a grocery store and read the headlines on the magazines. Guarantee you want to pick it up and read how to get a flatter belly in 14 days or how you can be more masculine for your woman. You should really be doing better at xyz. You should be following a new diet. You should be trying a new exercise program. You should move on to the next flashy thing. You should be thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing, moving differently. There’s always something that could be fixed about you. The problem is that you ARE NOT A PROJECT. You are a person. You are a living, breathing being who first and foremost needs to just survive and exist. You deserve contentment and happiness.
Imagine if your inner voice walked around with you on a loud speaker. Now, trade your inner voice with someone you love very much. Would you trust it to be kind and gentle and caring to that person? Having trouble thinking of things your inner voice might say? How about, “That outfit doesn’t look good on your body,” “You shouldn’t be as weak as you are,” “You need to prove your intelligence or you won’t be respected,” “That picture makes you look fat.” I think it’s safe to say you would not allow that voice to speak to your loved one that way. Yet, it’s so often how we interact with ourselves. Sometimes you just need to be accepted for who you are and what you bring to the table right now. I’m not saying we don’t all have things we need to improve on or work on, but if we don’t have a safe, trusting, loving place within ourselves first, all of that “improvement” is self-rejection, not self-improvement. It’s not actually getting better, it’s choosing to see yourself as never quite good enough.
2. People assume self-love is selfish.
The most selfish thing you can do is neglect your own needs. When we neglect a healthy relationship with ourselves, it pours out like hot lava onto everything we interact with. We beg for positive reinforcement from others when we should be getting it from ourselves. Do you find yourself constantly checking Facebook and Instagram for the little red notification symbol for likes and comments? Does that build you up? Do you feel like you need to put a filter on everything and keep up an image that resembles an organized blogger lifestyle? Do you crave words of affirmation from your friends and family? Do you feel like all of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions need to be validated by your friends and family? These are hard questions to answer and accept that they’re true.
Self-esteem is contagious. If I’m in close proximity with someone who has low self-esteem, I can catch that like a virus. And if I carry high self-esteem and interact with you, you can catch that too. We are constantly feeding off of one another. If you continue to think that focusing on your self-esteem and self-love is selfish, then your low self-esteem is potentially harmful to the people in your life. We actually need to be consistently filling up our own cups because that is the selfless thing to do.
3. People try to fake it until they make it and it doesn’t work.
That act of projecting confidence, but not feeling it on the inside rips us apart. When you walk into a room and instantly put a big smile on your face and act bubbly, happy, and care free, but feel totally and utterly sad and alone…that sucks. It feels fake and you start to believe you are fake. When you have self-love, you can be alone and be in unfamiliar environments and feel completely content and confident to the core. This fake it until you make it thing is really loneliness masked as liberation. Sure, fake it until you make it might get you through a new school, a new job, or a new situation, but at the end of the day you’re always going to be aware that there’s nothing underneath that that’s supporting you for something that’s long lasting. So when we mistake this for what confidence is, we really start to believe that true confidence isn’t actually attainable, that everyone must be faking it. In reality, true confidence comes from ultimate self-acceptance both in the things that you’re great at and the things that you aren’t so great at. The honesty of knowing and accepting where you’re at now builds a strong foundation. So when you interact with other people, they can’t shake you. You already know the things that are under the surface that aren’t serving you, you know the things that are amazing about you. So the opinions and experiences of others with you isn’t that important because you have such a good experience with yourself.
If we can focus on, “how can I better love myself,” we can impact the relationship we have with our loved ones by being a positive influence on how they interact with themselves as well. How I talk to myself will rub off on how other people around me talk to themselves. I, for one, want that to be positive. I want the people in my life to interact with me and see the love and care that I have for myself and for them to take that with them into their journey and how they treat themselves.
The next time you’re at the gym, or cooking dinner for your family, or hanging out with a group of friends, pay attention to the words that come out of your mouth. Are they words of support and understanding for yourself or are you speaking poison that may rub off on someone who has come in search of a safe place?
Food for thought 🙂