When Maslow created his hierarchy of needs, he placed love and belongingness at number three.
This means that beyond the demand for food and protection, friendship and intimacy are essential human needs. This need is met through relationships.
We have relationships with just about everything in our lives. We have a relationship with money, with our bodies, our pets, and our jobs. The most important relationship you will ever have is one with yourself. It is your responsibility to look after yourself and your duty to care for and nurture yourself.
Nobody is put on this earth to do this for you except for your mother and if you are now an adult, it is time to let the poor woman retire from that role. Self-care is not selfish. It is imperative. Without it, everything and everyone suffers.
To have a healthy relationship with yourself, you need a few key elements:
- See yourself equal to others – Putting other people up on a pedestal is not good for your self-worth or your self-esteem. You must genuinely care for yourself. It is perfectly fine to have concern for other people’s wellbeing, however yours must be primary. If you don’t open your own parachute first, you will not be able to collect somebody else who is falling through the sky.
- Trust yourself – To be able to ‘open up’ to another person, you first have to be honest with yourself. If you can’t trust yourself, you will not be able to trust others. Set some goals where you can experience the power of depending on yourself. Growing to rely on yourself as your greatest resource and ally is a way to build your inner trust.
- Respect yourself – If you don’t respect yourself, you won’t respect others. Respect comes from honouring yourself. If you honour your ‘word’ and your ‘truth’, then you will develop your integrity and an internal value system. You have to see yourself as someone who is valuable and ‘worth it’. This is where self-respect begins to blossom and grow.
- Tolerate yourself – I often hear people berate themselves and belittle themselves. Many people are intolerant of their mistakes and shortcomings. If you don’t tolerate yourself and show some compassion, you will be irritable and indignant with others. Be kind to yourself when you don’t hit the mark and gentle on yourself when you fall down. You will then be able to show this same regard for others.
- Give compliments and receive them – Many people find it hard to give and receive compliments. Compliments need to be genuine and authentic. People have radar for ‘fake’ and ‘insincere’. Before you give out a compliment, scan it for legitimacy and credibility. Only say it if it ticks the box. When you receive a compliment, take it with grace and humility.
- Forgive yourself – If you are unforgiving with yourself, others won’t stand a chance. Holding a grudge or harnessing resentment is the ultimate form of spiritual poison. It runs through your energy system, crippling your ability to flourish and thrive. There is nothing more bitter than ‘hate’. Accept that you are human and you are here to grow and learn. Just as you would forgive a toddler for falling as a part of learning to walk, forgive yourself for not always taking the high road. The best part of all is that forgiveness itself elevates you there.