Your relationship with yourself involves self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-care, among others. It impacts your mental and emotional health and your bonds with other people.
A healthy relationship with yourself can improve mental health, connections, and even work productivity.
When you are in a healthy relationship with yourself, you embrace your strengths and opportunities. You value who you are and what you’ve experienced. And you take good care of your physical, mental, and social health.
What if you don’t have a strong relationship with yourself yet or want to improve it? Here are four strategies that can help you better get along with yourself.
1. Try to build a healthy inner dialogue
Your “inner dialogue” is how you talk with yourself in your head throughout the day.
A healthy or positive inner dialogue builds self-confidence and helps you cope with anxiety and depression. An unhealthy inner dialogue may increase feelings of shame or fuel negative thinking.
To nurture a healthy inner dialogue, consider noticing how you talk with yourself throughout the day. Are you kind? Do you focus on things that go wrong or things that go right?
Next, try to think about gratitude. Focusing on what goes well in your life may help you develop an overall gratitude practice.
It’s natural for negative thoughts or worries to arise every now and then. It may be helpful to look for evidence that contradicts your negative thoughts.
2. Consider identifying your strengths and opportunities
Valuing your strengths may help you build self-confidence. Accepting that you also have growth opportunities may help you to be gentle and forgiving with yourself.
Try writing a list of your strengths. If this is challenging, consider asking supportive friends and family members what they see in you. A mentor, life coach, or mental health professional could also help you identify your unique characteristics and how to work on developing additional skills.
3. Spending time alone may help
Alone time may help you create space for self-assessment and inner work. You may want to focus on identifying your:
- core beliefs
- likes and dislikes
- current challenges
- life goals
Time on your own may look different for everyone.
Maybe you take an hour for a coffee break, take a long bath, or walk. Perhaps you decide to attend a sporting event without taking a friend. Maybe you put on your favorite podcast and do mindless cleaning at home.
4. Try to take care of your needs
Loving yourself is essential to have a healthy relationship with yourself and others. You may want to start by engaging in self-care.
Caring for yourself might look like:
- eating nutrient-dense foods
- getting some physical activity
- improving sleep hygiene
- taking a course or finding a new job
- spending time with loved ones
- practicing relaxation techniques
- seeking professional support
When to seek help
Consider the help of a mental health professional if you have difficulty establishing a loving relationship with yourself or if you’ve experienced adverse circumstances that may need healing.
A therapist may also help you develop coping skills and identify ways to develop gratitude, self-awareness, and compassion for yourself.
How you relate to yourself might seem like an afterthought in your life. However, when you invest in that self-love, you reap important benefits.
1. Better relationships with others
How you view and treat yourself will affect how you relate to everyone.
People who love and care for themselves are more likely to love and care for friends and family.
Those who have compassion for their own mistakes may find it easier to exercise compassion for others. Knowing how you should be treated makes you less likely to stay in unhealthy relationships or develop codependent traits.
2. Improved mental health
Research shows that a positive relationship with yourself is linked to stronger mental health.
For example, researchers who studied students ages 15 to 21 found that high self-esteem and strong mental health go hand in hand.
Another study that worked with university students noticed similar results. Participants who experienced anxiety, depression, or reported feeling “out of control” were able to improve their mental health by focusing on developing self-esteem and self-confidence.
3. More productivity
Liking and accepting yourself can also have a positive effect on productivity levels.
For example, a
Positive emotions can boost your energy. In addition, identifying through self-awareness what you’re good at can help you develop effective processes to get things done.
When you understand your growth opportunities, you can work on overcoming them or keeping them from getting in the way of your work.
4. Better problem solving
Sometimes, threats or problems might feel overwhelming because you secretly believe you can’t handle them.
If you don’t understand your strengths or don’t trust yourself to do hard things, you’re more likely to panic when a problem arises.
When you have a healthy relationship with yourself, you’re more likely to know how capable you are and understand how to care for yourself during tough times. You may develop a sense you can handle obstacles and challenges.
A healthy relationship with yourself may help you better cope with life challenges and mental health conditions. It may also improve social relationships and work productivity.
Practicing a positive inner dialogue, finding your strengths, getting time alone for inner work, and practicing self-care may help you improve your relationship with yourself.