How to Build a Healthy Relationship with Yourself Every Day
A healthy relationship with ourselves is multi-layered. It’s complicated. It consists of many, many parts—just like any relationship with anyone. And just like any relationship, there are important ingredients to cultivating a loving, compassionate partnership.
A healthy relationship with ourselves includes having a connected relationship with our bodies, according to Karin Lawson, Psy.D, a psychologist in private practice in Miami, Fla., who works with adults using a mind-body approach.
What does this look like?
We tune into our body’s cues and respond to them. For instance, we might notice that our jaw clenches and our stomach hurts every time we talk to a certain person. Responding to these cues might mean setting stricter, stronger boundaries or no longer spending time with them.
Stephanie Kang believes that a healthy relationship consists of making room for all of you—including your insecurities and imperfections. You have a “sense of wholeness and the feeling that you’re free to be your true self…” said Kang, a coach and counselor who guides her clients toward greater self-acceptance and personal transformation.
A healthy relationship also is based on curiosity and knowledge about our motives, intentions, needs, said Terina Lopez, a mental health counselor who specializes in eating disorders, anxiety, depression and identity development. It involves examining our actions and our whys—why do I feel the way I feel? —and making appropriate adjustments or changes.
A healthy relationship with ourselves is an ongoing process—again, just like any relationship. Below, you’ll find a list of ways to cultivate a kind, meaningful, fulfilling relationship with yourself every day.
Notice your inner chatter. Pay attention to what you regularly tell yourself. Pay attention to what you say when you’re facing a challenge or a stressful situation. “Starting to notice this is a great first step because it is often so unconscious,” Kang said. “Once we become more aware of how we relate to ourselves, we can reflect on what effect it’s having, and how we want to change.”