How to cultivate a relationship with yourself

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how-to-cultivate-a-relationship-with-yourself

There’s a plethora of information out there both for how to best to act in a relationship and how to take care of yourself.

While we might perform things with the idea of self-care, it sometimes doesn’t stick or click with us. It’s always okay to try things and see if you like them, but to keep doing them because you either think that’s “what self-care is” or because someone else is pushing you to do them, isn’t helpful.

Considering the relationships with other people, there a few key things that make the relationship work. Mutual values, communication, and genuine love for the other, just to name a few. But have you spent time cultivating your own relationship with yourself?

Here are few things that I believe could help you work on this relationship:

Values

What do you value?

how-to-cultivate-a-relationship-with-yourself

We’re talking about principles. Everyone has them, usually cultivated from teachings as we grew up, whether from guardians, stories, or life experiences.

Below I’ve listed values from a book called Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. The book is centered around teaching women about money, but one of my favorite exercises is called the Values Ladder. I’ll include a quick step-by-step guide.

Note: because the book is centered around money, the ladder also begins with a money question. Despite this, I still believe it is a good exercise if you’re struggling to find your values. I’ve adapted the process slightly to fit a larger audience.

how-to-cultivate-a-relationship-with-yourself

  • Take a deep breath. This is a judgement-free zone. Do not think about what your values “should be”. There are no wrong answers.
  • Think about what you value. Some people might have an easy time thinking of a word. If you’re struggling, look at the list below to help you out. Then write this word at the bottom of a piece of paper.
  • Next, ask yourself the question “What’s important about {your value} to you?” Write that answer above what you wrote in Step 2.
  • You might then see that another value has been made apparent. Write that above Step 3. Now repeat Step 3 with the new value.
  • Continue creating this ladder until you’ve exhausted the question about what’s important to you.

how-to-cultivate-a-relationship-with-yourself

There is no limit to your values. You can have as few or as many that feel right to you.

Here’s an example of my values ladder (just not in ladder form):

Kindness

I value kindness because I think it’s important to be kind to others. I never know what they are going through and if I could do something to make their day a little better, I try to.

Helping others

I value helping others because I have been very fortunate in my life. Because I’ve had amazing opportunities and was born into the family I was born into, I want to lend a hand wherever I can.

Connection

I value connections with new people, old friends, and my family. I think everyone has a story to tell and I’d love to hear those stories.

I could continue on for a while, but I think you get the idea.

Values are quite different than goals. Goals are objects or situations we wish to achieve. Goals are usually based on values.

Someone who wants to start their own business might have a value of wanting to make a difference. Someone who goes back to university might value lifelong learning.

Everything you come up with is valid. You also don’t need to value everything – you could respect lifelong learning as a concept, but in reality, you just want to finish school and get on with your life. And that is perfectly fine.

how-to-cultivate-a-relationship-with-yourself

Communication

How often do you actively check-in with yourself?

Have you sat down today and actually asked yourself how you were doing?

This form of communication is sometimes connected to meditation. If you don’t enjoy meditation or struggle with it or meditate on other things, you can still ask yourself this outside of a meditative session.

Putting names to feelings will help you understand what’s going on in your brainChecking in with your body will allow you to find stiff muscles or pain points that you could then work on.

How to cultivate a relationship with yourself

This form of communication is sometimes connected to meditation. If you don’t enjoy meditation or struggle with it or meditate on other things, you can still ask yourself this outside of a meditative session.

Naming the feelings will help you understand what’s going on in your brainChecking in with your body will allow you to find stiff muscles or pain points that you could then work on.

Some people choose to journal, others just to think about what’s going on. Once again, there’s no right or wrong here. Communicating with yourself can also allow for better communication with others. If you can figure out your feelings, you can share them with a partner, parental figure, or friend rather than bottling them up and exploding at an inopportune time.

Genuine Love

When was the last time you said “I love you” to yourself?

Loving yourself might be the hardest hurdle all of us have to overcome. Even people who do love themselves have bad days.

A way to cultivate love for yourself is to perform actions that make you feel on top of the world.

I feel my best when writing, connecting with my higher self through meditation and tarot, watching my favorite comedians, playing board games with my friends, being on the phone with my family, swimming, singing while driving, and completing a long or difficult task at work. There are many more things I could list. I try to fill my days with as many little things as I can to make myself smile.

You are in charge of your happiness. It doesn’t come from another person, object, the perfect job or body. If you’re having a hard day and you want that donut, by golly eat it. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, work on getting yourself out of it. If you need help from someone, ask.

how-to-cultivate-a-relationship-with-yourself

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