We often strive to create healthy and satisfying relationships. But sometimes, despite how much we may try, we’re unable to create relationships that are mutually supportive and fulfilling. When this happens, there are several things we can do to bring our best selves to our relationships, and in turn, bring about the positive change we seek.
To be your best self in your personal relationships you need to develop your awareness of yourself. What do you value? What do you dream of? What are your strengths? Where are the skills you want to hone? When we ask ourselves these kinds of questions we grow our awareness of ourselves and we can use that awareness to create relationships that are beneficial for everyone involved. Sometimes our personal relationships hit a rough patch. When this happens, your awareness will clue you into how you might be contributing to the difficulty at hand and whether or not that relationship should be maintained.
Learning to love yourself is such an important step towards creating healthy relationships. It’s cliché but true – to truly love someone else, you have to love yourself first. This is because we’re unable treat someone better than we treat ourselves. Our limits in loving others comes from our inability to love ourselves. Over the course of our relationships, these limits inevitably come to light. We may compensate for our inabilities by giving more to others than we have – or have allowed ourselves – to receive. Yet, this can set us up for difficulty. If we’re not loving ourselves then we’re likely looking for someone else to give us that sense of being loved. This can be the starting point for lots of problems like dependency, fear of abandonment, and fear of intimacy. To really love ourselves, we need to see the unique value and intrinsic beauty of who we are without any externally imposed definitions. To begin to do this, take the time to tell yourself all the things that you like about yourself. And do it often.
Part of showing up as our best selves is to be in the present moment as much as possible. This means that our previous experiences need to be left where they belong – in the past. To do this, people typically undergo a process wherein they remember the past, understand how it affected them and then disentangle themselves from it. There are a number of different tools that people can use to clear themselves of aspects of their past that no longer serve them. For example, there is EFT, Access Consciousness, energy work, Core Energetics, and the list goes on. If you want to create a different baseline for yourself, it’s helpful to find a method that you can use to continually reinforce your new way of being.
To clear your history, try on a few methods that you sense would be a good fit. Then keep an open mind while you see if they’re effective for you. It takes a little while to clear your past from your present, so give this process some time. As you do this your awareness will increase and old feelings might come to the surface. When in a relationship, sometimes it’s helpful to let the other person know when something from your past has been activated and communicate what you need when this happens.
Nothing makes a relationship stronger than integrity. The biggest gift you can give yourself is know and own your contributions to your relationships – both in the positive and in the negative. When things get difficult in a relationship, look for the ways that you’ve contributed to the problem. Simply ask yourself: “Is there anything that I would have done better or differently if I had remained in full integrity?” If the answer is yes, then do your best to make right on what you know you could have done better.
When we’re unclear about how our own issues influence our relationships we’re likely to do unintentional damage. When we’re unconscious of our unresolved feelings about our past, we’re more likely to blame, shame and guilt others when those unresolved feelings are triggered. It’s only when we’re aware of our contributions to the state of our relationships and able to stay in our integrity that we can create environments in which our relationships can thrive.
Regardless of how hard we try, life can intrude upon our best laid plans and we can lose our grasp on the activities that help keep us healthy and happy. Once off track, it becomes even easier to get more off track as each infraction depletes us until we no longer feel very good. Remembering what to do when we start to get off track to take care of ourselves is so important. Being able to discern between what might just feel good (self-indulgence) and what will truly get us back on track (self-care) is key.
There is a sneaky underbelly to self-care. Sometimes what we call self-care is actually self-indulgence, sabotage, or avoidance. How do we tell the difference between what honors and takes care of us and what might just be another reason we are not where we want to be.
Self-care is an activity that strengthens, nourishes, or develops who we are at our core. It supports us in the full expression of our essence. Self-indulgence is something that feels really good but does not have additional benefits beyond feeling good. It is an activity that gives us momentary pleasure but does not move us in the direction of our full expression.
It does not so much matter what it is that we are doing as much as the effect that it is having on us. One person’s self-care might be another person’s self-indulgence. A self-care act one day might turn into self-indulgence if used too often.
To be able to tell the difference, we need to develop our capacity to feel the difference. Just as we can taste the difference in food that has a high nutrient content and food that is relatively empty, we can begin to tell the difference between the activities that truly are self-care and those that are just nice distractions. As we practice acts of self-care we become more and more attune to what it really is and more adept at choosing what is in service of what we really want.
If you are uncertain about whether your actions are self-care actions, you can gain clarity by asking yourself the question: Am I getting closer to feeling the way that I want to feel or reaching the goals that I am trying to reach? If you can answer yes you are likely taking self-care actions. If your answer is maybe or no, then you are likely caught up in some kind of self-indulgence.
If you want to return to your self-care after a time of self-indulgence, connect in with the core of who you are and ask yourself what activities will strengthen, nourish or develop this essence. Take the next step and learn more!
Self care may be a buzzword today, but it hasn’t always been. Even concepts of “the self” are relatively young to public understanding. So how do we capitalize on today’s understanding of the self and practice self care in a way that will have the greatest impact?
According to author Caroline Myss, “the self” that we talk about today is an idea that emerged in the nuclear age. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that psychology and psychoanalysis became commonplace ways of thinking about people and their behavior. In turn, the rich inner-life that we all experience became just as real as our outer-world.
This new way of thinking about “the self” ushered in the birth of self-care. Until the 1950’s people didn’t talk about self-care. They didn’t think about balancing their everyday life demands with things that foster their well-being. Fast forward to today, and self-care is a multi-billion dollar industry and an everyday conversation.
I think that the conversation about self-care leaves out one major thing: and that’s inspiration. Inspiration is more than just happening upon a clever idea. It expresses our creativity and forges a path to real change in ourselves and in our world. When you’re inspired, you feel alive!
So how do we move beyond the self care suggestions to eat healthier and exercise more (good suggestions!) and learn more inspired ways to feed our spirit and nurture our soul? Get creative, and get in touch with YOU.
Feeding your soul is self-care. Self-care is all about honoring and caring for yourself in ways that matter most. When you’re able to practice inspired self-care your life becomes less of one huge to-do list and more of a field of abundant meaning and joy.
So take a look at the ways that you feel most enriched, and then put some real time and creative energy into creating some inspired self care practices for yourself. To get you started, here are 4 easy, rich, and deep ways YOU can bring more inspired self-care into your life.
Inspiration is within reach most of the time. So, cozy up to your inner-bard and write a poem about your partner, your child, or a good friend. See if you can capture what you love about them in this expressive form. If you brainstorm adjectives, qualities, or feelings you associate with this person, you’ll quickly create phrases that inspire you.
Say you’re sitting at home or taking a walk through your neighborhood. Look around you, and free associate with what you see. For example, if you see thin blades of long grass growing by a wall, maybe they remind you of a time when you saw a piece of beautiful graffiti on a wall with grass just like that. Perhaps the grass near the wall reminds you of the eerie beauty and loneliness of neglected things. Let yourself wander into your thoughts. You’ll be amazed where you wind up!
If your version of self-care is to take a bath, a walk in the woods, or get a massage, then it’s time to take it up a notch. Make a decadent, fantastic, and — yes — inspired experience for YOURSELF. Try new things. Mix and match your experience. Take a bubble bath with candlelight, wine, chocolate, the smell of jasmine, and opera music. Or, walk in the woods bundled in soft fabrics singing a song to yourself and noticing how the light hits things.
Tap into your inspiration and find something – or make something – that will let another person know how special they are to you. When you think about bringing pleasure to someone else’s life, you naturally think creatively and playfully about what’s in the world and how to use it. And even better, when you give a gift your heart opens up and you feel satisfied on a deeper level.
It’s too easy to let days slip by while we’re distracted from what matters most. So challenge yourself to spend an hour each week doing one of these activities. It won’t take long before you’ll feel more inspired and your spirit will feel more nourished. Help remind yourself by printing out this list of ideas!
Self-care helps me succeed and bring my best self to my work with you. I love what I do and all the lives I touch, but there is no denying that my job can sometimes be intense and draining. I put large portions of my self into my clients, my business, and my loved ones, which, if I’m not careful, leaves little time for me. After years of working without adding self care to my life mix, I realized that if I didn’t take care of myself one of two things would happen: either I was going to compromise my health or I was going to compromise my results in my business.
Self-care became my battle cry and I am now a steadfast devotee. Through practice, I’ve come to understand that, although practicing self-care can sometimes be difficult to fit into a busy day-to-day schedule, it’s merits are undeniable and necessary. When I made my practice of self-care a priority, both my health and my ability to get better results in my business increased. This was a win-win for my life. My strongest suggestion to help you be your personal best is: Self Care, Self Care, Self Care! Let yourself succeed. Self Care is an investment in your personal resources. Whether the achievement of your goals requires a lot or a little of your resources, you need to take care of your most important tool – yourself. Here is a list of 10 self care techniques you can use to be your personal best.
Movement and nutrition are essential to self care. Learn to lovingly and joyfully move your body. Dance, do yoga, stretch, walk or engage in more vigorous exercise. Feed yourself everything your body needs to be healthy. If you’re not sure what this is, start by drinking more water and eating more greens.
Both of these experiences have a positive effect on our overall wellbeing. They help us de-stress and relax. Animal’s playful and loving ways do wonders for our moods. And taking a walk in the woods can help us feel connected to the larger world. If you can’t get outside, get a plant, or two or three.
We’re wired 24/7 these days. We wake up and almost immediately look at our smartphone or TV. If you haven’t already put yourself on a technology diet, I’d suggest doing so. Limiting the amount of time you spend looking at screens can have a fabulous effect on your quality of life.
It takes two to tango. If you’re in a negative mindset, then chances are the people around you are too. Take some time to work on your mindset first. Bring more positivity into the way you think and speak. Then choose to be around people who reflect your new mindset, whether they are new acquaintances or not.
Nothing pulls your well-being down more than un-cleared anger and resentment towards others. The only person suffering from your negative thinking is you. People can be short-sighted and can sometimes make mistakes. Yet, holding onto the mistakes of others is the biggest mistake of all.
Spending time with people you love and doing fun things with them – especially things that include lots of laughter – is a wonderful way to relax and connect two important aspects of self care.
Obsessive thinking and worry are so commonplace that people think it’s normal to act and feel these ways. While common for sure, these are not healthy patterns. Learn to stop yourself when your worry or catastrophic thinking gets the better of you. Simply say stop and focus your mind on something more pleasant or productive.
Being of service is a powerful way to bring good feeling and wellbeing into your life. Service to others gives us a sense of purpose in the world. So, take a weekend to volunteer at a food bank, community garden or your local Habitat for Humanity. You’ll put some good juju in the world.
Sometimes you just need to tend to your emotional backlog. If you have a lot of built up emotion or if you’ve been dealing with a lot of stress, the best self care might actually be to throw a fit. Lie down on your bed and kick and hit the mattress with your arms and legs. Scream if it feels right. You’ll feel like a million bucks afterwards.
Nothing changes your attitude like gratitude. Take a moment every day to write or state at least three things that you’re grateful for. So many of us have so much to be thankful for. Remember this is a form of self care.
Download or print out this handy list and tack it somewhere you will see on the daily!