“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.” ~Diane Von Furstenberg
I love the truth and levity of the quote above. It took me a long time to recognize that being my own best friend is the key to success in other relationships. And it’s a theme that pops up for most of my clients, especially women. Many of them don’t enjoy their own company.
Understanding how to turn toward yourself when times are tough can seem selfish or self-centred to some and perhaps inefficient to others. You’ve been so well trained to blame or judge others. If you do turn toward yourself when the chips are down, do you judge and blame yourself? Being hard on yourself doesn’t bring out the best in you. I’m not saying to skip having integrity, I’m saying there is a greater opportunity for you to manage the tough times if you have an amazing relationship with yourself.
Imagine a moment when you were cursing yourself. Review the problem and how you responded. Now review how you treated yourself. Maybe you cursed under your breath, “Geez, when will you grow up?!” Or, “I’m an idiot!” Or, “I’ll never learn!” Perhaps there are moments when you are getting dressed and you are saying, “OMG, you look like _____!” Or, “You’re a fat slob!” Now imagine if your friend was having the same problems. Would you talk to her like that?! I don’t think so! You would turn to her and say, “Hey, what happened? Don’t be so critical. Here’s what I know about you…” Or, “Hey hon, you ARE beautiful inside and out. How can I help out here?” You would NOT yell and curse at her.
I know you can see the validity in that explanation. I’ve worked with many of you and you all nod your head up and down and say, “Ya, I should be nicer to myself”. I often see people get the a-ha in this but not the traction on how to get to being kind to yourself. So I want to share a few steps I take to orient myself to cultivating more kindness and compassion.
- Take time to enjoy the radiance of nature. Tend your garden or your indoor plants. Walk in nature. Look out a window at nature. Just notice how all of nature is just being itself, without judgment.
- Notice the rhythm of life. Be mindful of the sun rising and setting. Notice the changing of the seasons and how you respond to each. Notice your own rhythms – are you more clear-minded or energetic in the morning or afternoon? Notice when your energy rises and when it wanes. Notice how many hours of sleep allow you to feel refreshed.
- Consider your day through the lens of faith. Instead of focusing on what is wrong or what could go wrong, ask yourself, “If I knew it will all work out, what would I do?” Being mindful to cultivate faith and trust more than worry, doubt or fear will improve the chances of you believing in yourself and tapping into your genius.
- Cultivate the bigger picture. Step back from your day, whether first thing in the morning, midday or at the end, and look at your movement, decisions, and actions from a distance. As if you were the Observer of your life, what would you say is happening? What would you advise?
- Cultivate your wisdom. Look at your own experiences and those of others and see if there is some wisdom you can apply. Your wisdom not only comes from a place of knowledge and experience but also from unconditional love. Deep down we all know we are just becoming and the more we allow that becoming to feel good and direct our everyday living, the wiser we become.
- Believe in your integrity. By this I mean, know what is important to you, believe it, live it and share it. When you walk your talk and talk your walk, you go to bed feeling whole even if there are challenges.
I hope these steps help you enjoy yourself more and tap into the best relationship you can ever have – the one with yourself!