Self-sufficient. I’m enough. It sounds nice. Being self-sufficient doesn’t mean be a selfish, narcissistic, jerk. It can mean being a boundaried, confident, and loving adult.
Finding this word took a long time (literally and figuratively). I was looking for a word that was like selfish (considering oneself) but that wasn’t pejorative. But in the English language, considering one’s needs is apparently a bad thing because it connotes not caring about anyone else. Unfortunately, that deep seeded belief that it is “selfish,” inconsiderate, indulgent to consider one’s own needs leaves many of us caring for others while utterly disregarding ourselves. In fact, many of us take it even one step further, we are harsh and critical of ourselves, have an internal dialogue that we wouldn’t tolerate from anyone else (more on this in future posts…).
As I write about relationships and caring for others, I feel compelled to pause and reflect upon the relationship we have with ourselves. There is a reason why we are instructed to secure our own oxygen masks before we help someone else.
There are three main reasons why treating yourself like your best, most favorite person makes good common sense. First, it turns out that you are the one sure thing in your life. You will be there with yourself until the end. Developing a really strong positive relationship with yourself will make that journey a much more pleasant one. Second, it will help you to be much more discerning in your choices about who you develop outside relationships with. When we feel crappy and desperate we aren’t super selective. The last reason, is that thing we have all heard and sort of know (even though it sounds pyscho-babbly) – to take in love from others we have to first love ourselves. Having a positive relationship with yourself is truly a pre-requisite for a positive relationship with anyone else.
So, how do we get started? Just like in romance, what if you swept yourself off your own feet. Be your own best partner and the kindest loving friend. Do all of the sweet things for yourself you wish someone was doing for you:
1. Tell yourself 3 things you like about yourself (really think about it, be specific).
2. Make yourself a special meal – nothing but the finest ingredients (what if you actually treated every meal with yourself as if it was special – not fancy, but special).
3. Run yourself an extra bubbly bath and bring your favorite magazine in for a soak.
4. Organize a lunch with all of your favorite friends.
5. Get a monthly pass to your favorite yoga studio and give yourself permission to go almost every day.