Once I was silently riding an elevator with a friend when I realized in the last few quiet moments, I had been glowing, feeling ecstatic. It was one of those times where you know you were thinking something really good that felt just delightful but then it slips away and you are left going, “wait, what was I just thinking? Come back, I liked that!” The feeling that passed was juicy, kind of like when you reeeally like someone. “Who do I like?” I asked my friend. Who was it I was thinking of? Then it hit me…the person I was thinking I had a crush on was me! I was feeling happy and gushy about myself.
It is one thing to feel good about yourself in moments, but it is quite another to take that fleeting crush and make it in to a long-term relationship. When faced with the idea of being in a relationship with myself years ago I would’ve felt depressed. While I could feel a shallow infatuation with myself in moments, even I didn’t want to be in a relationship with me.
The writer, Sark in her book Prosperity Pie asks, “what if when someone asks you if you are dating anyone, you respond ‘well I am really involved in loving myself right now.’” Here are some of my tips:
Falling in Love with Yourself
- Get to really know yourself: Try to be present to your experiences. What are you thinking and feeling? This one is especially hard as it seems the reasons we don’t like ourselves is often because we don’t like being in ourselves – being present to the now and what we are thinking and feeling. Try to just stay aware and experience your feelings, even if it is unpleasant.
- Learn what your likes and dislikes are. It can be as simple as “I did not care for this movie” or “I like this summer rain.” Finding what your preferences are and stating them can feel empowering.
- Respect and listen to your emotions. We all have parts we’d rather not listen to…inner critic anyone? Yet even with that inner critic you can thank it for it’s input and move on. Your parts are all there for a purpose, you can also ask yourself, what would this part rather be doing?
- Nurture your Inner Children. For me, connecting with my inner children is where I began to learn empathy and gentleness toward myself which I think are the two most key-factors in having a relationship with yourself. I had spent much of my life pushing these inner children away, I had to really work on making a relationship with them. I connected with my inner children through meeting them in meditation, writing them letters and emotionally checking in with them. When you are caring for your inner children as well as yourself, it becomes easier to be gentle with your adult-self. For instance, I could work all day without getting exercise or going outside, but I don’t want my inner 5-year-old stuck at the computer all day, so I try to take walks.
- Finding your core-self. This is your wise self, and everyone has a wise self. The way that I get in touch with this part is to close my eyes and let my thoughts drift past, as in a meditative state and work on connecting to myself, to what I am feeling. After awhile there is a strong feeling that comes from within, a part that feels as though it is waiting to be discovered. A fabulous secret about this part is that once you find it, you can ask it questions and feel the answers coming up from within.
Being in a Relationship with Yourself
- Gentleness is key. Become sensitive to what you are feeling, do what feels good for you. Don’t compromise your comfort for other people.
- Have Empathy: Have empathy for your past self, remember that you did the best you could at the time, and you survived. Begin to tell the story of your life to yourself with you as the hero or heroine.
- You are a multi-faceted being and there will be multiple dimensions of self-acceptance. This is a long journey so be patient with yourself.
- Check in with yourself multiple times during the day to see how you are feeling.
- Create Boundaries: Explore what you are comfortable and uncomfortable with. Notice when you are feeling uncomfortable. Work towards creating boundaries with those around you.
- Observe how you are in situations, are you responding or reacting unconsciously? Do you know when you are reacting? Work on not simply reacting. Become curious to your reactions as well as emotions.
- Respect Yourself: KensRay recently wrote about this. In this post he finds that when he does not respect his home, leaving it messy, guests and family are more likely to leave messes too, but if he keeps his house neat, they will pick up after themselves. Self respect works the same way, if you respect yourself you will receive a lot more respect.
- Indulge in a date with yourself. Do whatever you enjoy. For me this may mean buying magazines and flipping through them while listening to my favorite albums or watching movies I want to see while sipping pretty drinks. Whatever the feel-good activity is for you, do a lot of that.
- Make your masturbation joyful, sensuous and celebratory!
- Make a list of all the things you like about yourself, this comes in handy in moments of self-doubt
- Take photos of yourself. Just as you would snap memories with a new beau or a friend, take photos of and for yourself.
- Be generous with your time. Don’t scold yourself for spending hours in the bath or curled up reading. Give yourself some downtime.
- Have a good long journaling session about your dreams, your goals, who you want to be. Ask yourself the big questions you would ask a significant other.
- Have an adventure with yourself! Adventures come in all sizes, from walking to the nearest park to swing or going out for ice cream or taking a trip on the train to anywhere-just you and your luggage.
If you have a good relationship with yourself, it is highly likely that you’ll have good relationships with other people. We like being around positive people that like themselves — think about it, no one wants to hang out with your inner critic! It should also be said that you should surround yourself with people who mirror this positive image of you.
I think we sometimes write off self-love as something cliche or something that is selfish… but neither could be further from the truth. Self love takes an incredible amount of bravery and is an extremely virtuous endeavor.
Remember, the good news is that the capacity for self love and a self-relationship is already within you, you just have to find that spark and grow it.
What are your tips for creating a better relationship with yourself?