7 Unexpected, But Amazingly Effective Ways To Improve Your Relationship With Yourself
So often we focus on how we are interacting with others, we don't spend enough time cultivating a good relationship with ourselves. It's obvious that you need to put time and effort into building a relationship with your significant other or friends, but there are also important habits that help you improve your relationship with yourself. Once you get to a place where you feel comfortable, confident, and loving towards yourself, all those other relationships you want to cultivate will also benefit from your newfound self-appreciation, and you might find you have much more positive experiences in all facets of life.
"It is important to have good self-esteem and self-worth because how you treat yourself translates into the quality of your life and relationships," clinical psychologist Dr. Helen Odessky tells Bustle. "When your sense of self is whole, you can understand yourself and others from a more compassionate place and have better relationships where your aim is to solve problems and create connections rather than defend yourself or be overly self-protective."
Developing a strong, healthy relationship with yourself might take time, but you can help yourself along by engaging in certain habits. Here are seven amazingly effective ways experts say you can improve your relationship with yourself.
"One of the best ways to explore your thoughts is to write them down," therapist Dr. Judi Cinéas tells Bustle. "It’s a great way to explore your thoughts and an even better way to see yourself grow in the directions you choose." According to PsychCentral, journaling can help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, solve problems more efficiently, reduce stress, and more.
There's a reason meditation has caught on with so many people — it can do wonders for your self-worth. "Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you gain some distance from your inner critic by creating a compassionate, observing, open attitude towards your inner experience," clinical psychologist Melanie Greenberg, PhD tells Bustle. "You can observe the negative thinking, rather than feeling like it’s the ultimate truth about you and your life."
3. Set Boundaries
"When you assert your rights in a relationship, speak up about your needs, and refuse to accept unfair, inconsiderate, or abusive treatment, you are showing yourself that you are worthy of respect," says Greenberg. "Being treated well by others will boosts your self-esteem." And this goes for any relationship in your life — asserting your needs and not settling for less is you letting others know you are respecting yourself.
4 Allow Yourself To Fail
It might not sound like the most appealing option, but failure teaches us a lot about ourselves. "When we don't get something right the first time, it forces us to step back, re-evaluate, consider alternatives, and be more prepared next time," psychologist Dorian Crawford tells Bustle. "Though it may be painful in the moment, trying and failing helps us learn how to trust ourselves, knowing the world will not come to an end if we didn't get it right the first try."
"A way to feel confident and valued is to give of yourself regularly," says Crawford. "Donating time to a passion or an organization or charity is not only a generous way to share your talents and energy, but it also makes us feel good about ourselves." Additionally, studies show that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, which can help ward off loneliness and depression, according to Harvard Health.
6. Do Something New
You'll never know if you enjoy something if you don't get out of your typical routine. "Always been curious about something but haven't felt ready to take the risk of putting yourself out there? Gently or compassionately push yourself to set a goal to challenge yourself in some way that is meaningful to you," psychologist Marni Amsellem, Ph.D tells Bustle. "Accomplishing what you consider to be challenging will no doubt be a confidence boost."
7. Get Off Social Media Every Once In A While
It's only human to want to compare yourself to others around you, but people tend to present their best selves online — or the version of themselves that they want the world to see. "When you are no longer comparing yourself with those around you, you can let unrealistic standards go," says Amsellem. "You can be in the moment with what you are doing and not feeling like you are not measuring up to others."
The more time you spend focusing on habits that develop your self-worth, the better relationship you'll have with yourself and others.