The moment we spring into existence, a bond begins to form between us and our mothers.
It’s one of the first relationships we have before we’re even able to understand our own existence.
And while, yes, your relationship with your mother is pivotal to your development as a person, it’s not the most important relationship you’ll ever have.
The most important relationship of your existence is the one you will foster, nurture, and grow with yourself.
That’s right: you are your one true love.
No one will ever love you more than you love yourself, and if you don’t invest time in getting to know who you are and form a healthy bond with yourself, then your life will be one of pain, heartbreak, and depression, with bouts of mania and existential dread.
The depth of meaning, connection, understanding, and perception you have of and with yourself are crucial to the quality of life you’re going to have.
You haven’t worked out the meaning of your specific existence on Earth in this present life, then you tend to labor in vain, wander directionless, and apathy reigns supreme.
If you have no connection with who you are outside of your parents, your family, your culture, your friends, and society, you tend to only connect with their version of who you are.
This leads to a disconnect that tends to seep into every aspect of your life in a negative way.
Understanding every facet of your personhood is imperative to knowing yourself completely and then being comfortable with who and why you are.
Your self-perception trumps the perception of everyone else. Every person you encounter will conceptualize a version of you in their mind who is more palatable to them.
This perception of you is not the real you, and in order to function as a whole person who doesn’t require validation from others, you need to know your true perception of yourself.
Getting to Know You
Think about the number of times that someone has asked you a probing question that made you pause and consider your answer. You need to really dig deep to formulate your thoughts to give your opinion.
If this has happened a few times, it’s born from not knowing how you feel on certain topics because you’ve either never thought about it or you simply don’t know how you feel about something.
My point is, it’s imperative to get to know you, because sometimes you don’t know who you are until you dig deep enough and excavate those parts of yourself you keep hidden, even from yourself.
Having knowledge of self leads to a keen self-awareness. Self-awareness is the pathway to self-mastery, in that it allows you to level up on the control you have over your actions and the choices you make. You begin to function at a higher level, making decisions that are not driven by impulse and ego-driven desires. You become more mindful of how things are affecting you, and, in turn, you are more proactive as opposed to reactive.
Knowledge of self flips the switch from autopilot to you taking complete control of your life.
Crash Course in Deepening your Relationship with Yourself
Diving deep into yourself can be a bit daunting. Most times, we’re afraid to face who we are for a myriad of reasons. But the only way to get in touch with yourself is to be prepared to grab that shovel, put your back into it, and dig deep.
Approach yourself in the same way you would approach a relationship with another individual you’re interested in knowing.
Prepare by having a willingness to be open and honest with yourself. Remove judgment, negative speak, guilt, shame, and anything else that would hinder this process.
1. Initiate the conversation.
So, I’m not saying to sit and speak to yourself out loud—which is fine if that’s your thing—but I recommend getting a journal to do this in. There are millions of self-introspection journal prompts on the internet. Grab a few, print them out, and begin a “Getting to Know You” journal with yourself. You will be surprised at what you begin to uncover as you spend time with your thoughts.
2. Show your best self to yourself.
Once you begin diving deep, you will uncover the good, the bad, and the ugly. Love those parts of yourself, forgive those ugly parts, and accept yourself for who you are and then actively work to change for the better. Show yourself how amazing you can be once you’ve done the work.
3. Be a friend.
Again, this is the most important relationship you will have in your life. You need to be your own best friend. Compliment yourself. Avoid negative talk about yourself. Do not criticize yourself. Always speak and think positively about yourself. A good way to practice this is with daily affirmations that you can do in the morning.
4. Be patient.
This is a lifelong journey. You need to exercise patience with yourself through everything. When you make mistakes, be patient with yourself. When you fall into old habits, be patient, work through the root cause, and forgive yourself, and then move on. Nothing is built in a day.
Interacting with Yourself
All relationships require a lot of interaction in order to solidify a bond. This includes relating to yourself. Spending time with you will help to strengthen the bond. You can do this in a few ways.
1. Explore your interests.
Immerse yourself in everything that interests you. But actively enjoying your interest isn’t enough. Talk about it in your journal. Your journal is the direct phone line to yourself. This is where you have those conversations and relate to yourself. Write about why you love what you love and ask yourself questions and answer them. Again, the discovery will be magical.
2. Pay close attention to yourself.
Listen to your rhythms. Practice self-care of your outer and inner self. In fact, you need to go beyond self-care. Tap into your natural rhythms in terms of your emotions, thoughts, and feelings of your physical body. Notice how you react to various stimuli in your environment and how it influences your thoughts and emotions. Watch your habits and trace them back to their genesis to understand them. Grab your journal and unpack these things daily.
3. Foster your autonomy.
This is important. Strike a balance with how much you interact with the outside world and other people. Make sure you keep the relationship with yourself as a top priority. Do things on your own. Take yourself to lunch, dinner, go see a movie alone, just enjoy your independence. Always speak your truth in your other relationships and make your autonomy known.
4. Acceptance is vital.
There will be positives and negatives about yourself. No one is perfect. Perfection is not the name of the game, but growth is. Accept who you are, the good and the bad, as mentioned earlier, but always strive to be better than you were yesterday.
Shower Yourself with Love
Know your love language and then lather it on yourself. Practice makes perfect, and love is an action verb. With that being said, the best way you can learn how to love others is to first love yourself.
The quality of the relationship you have with yourself is exemplified in the relationships you have with others.
Own who you are, accept who you are, and love yourself without conditions or judgment, and you will see visible changes in your life.
You are the most important person in your world. Treat yourself like you are.