The relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have. At birth we know nothing other than to be our true selves and have little awareness of our surroundings as we begin to bond with those who care for us. Soon, however, we slowly begin to learn that we are not the center of the universe—that all of our actions are not acceptable and that not all of our desires get fulfilled.
Our self-image is gradually molded during our formative years. In childhood, parental demands and expectations begin to chip away at our self-concept. When we become teenagers, the desire to fit in often supersedes our desire and ability to be our true self. Some of us spend a lifetime trying to reclaim this birthright—the ability to be genuinely ourselves and to feel good about it.
Getting it back means taking a good look at yourself, pros and cons, and fully accepting “you” exactly the way you are. Recognize that you don’t need anyone or anything else to make you whole. Of course, this is easier said than done because we do need to have relationships with others. Too often, however, these relationships take too much away from us, and we lose more even of ourselves.
A healthy relationship is one in which two individuals, who are whole and complete in themselves, come together to delight and share in each other’s lives. These relationships are honest, supportive and loving whether they be friendship or romance. The fact is that you cannot be in this type of relationship fully with another until you first have it with yourself.
For those who need a little help, here are some tips to get you there:
- Buy a journal or notebook and begin to write about your hopes and dreams, your feelings, your experiences during the day, etc. This is an excellent way to get to know and understand yourself better. You might even try writing a few love notes to yourself.
- Make a list of your pros and cons without judging. Accept that this is the way you are and begin to love yourself unconditionally. Everyone else has their own pros and cons—no one is perfect. Stop comparing yourself to others; no one is better or less than another, just different.
- Take note of what makes you unique and different from others you know. This is the treasure that you are meant to give to the world. Focus on developing and sharing more of your special qualities.
- Take five minutes a day to look at yourself in the mirror and say positive affirmations such as, “I love and accept myself just the way I am.”
- Remember to treat yourself as kindly and lovingly as you do the person whom you love the most. Take time out to be good to yourself. Make a date with yourself to do or buy something special.
- Stop worrying about what others think of you. Many times, what others think about or do to you is because of their own “stuff.” In reality, it doesn’t have very much to do with you at all.
The ability to be yourself, under your own terms, will bring you one of life’s greatest joys. Others may disappoint you, but you can always depend on yourself. Most importantly, if you have a great relationship with yourself, you will have the same with other people.
BIO: Shirley Sorbello lives in New Jersey where she majored in psychology at Rutgers University. She later attended Widener University where she graduated with an M.S.W. in 1995. For a number of years she worked in the human services field as a social worker, therapist and administrator.
“That’s Just the Way It Is” was her first published short story and was released in September, 2013. This was followed by a stand-alone sequel entitled, “Return to Texas” in March, 2014. Ms. Sorbello is currently working on a novel and is editing a small book of poems that her grandmother wrote in the early 1900’s. In her spare time, she enjoys family, friends, Italian music and traveling.
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