Having a Relationship with Yourself

by Maggie Barton

Hi, my name is Maggie Barton! I'm a psychotherapist in private practice, and this is my first article for Long Island Lifestyle. This month I want to talk about having a relationship with yourself. By doing this, you will be able to have more meaningful relationships with other people. What many people don't realize is that you really can't have a wonderful relationship with someone else until you have one with yourself. Let's face it, the most important relationship that you will ever have is with yourself.

When we were infants we all used to take care of ourselves: we simply demanded what we needed. It is a natural progression to think about ourselves first and then others. However, many people are told, while young, that putting yourself first is wrong - it is being selfish. So rather than being allowed to trust yourself to care first about yourself and then to go on to care about others, you are told to reverse matters. Just imagine that you are a horse and the other people are the cart. What would you get by putting the cart first? You're right, a great deal of frustration!

The perfect prescription to start to take better care of yourself is to start by getting to know yourself better. You may think that you already do. You know your name, age, sex, occupation - in other words, you are familiar with your "cover", but are you in touch with your "contents": what you are feeling? Are you tuned in to yourself or are you primarily tuned in to other people? One way to start to tune in to yourself is to take time for yourself. By this I mean to stop everything and spend a few minutes with yourself. This technique has been described as self-observation. For in this quiet time you can begin to see what you are really doing or thinking. You can assess your thought processes, your decisions, your behavior and determine the possibilities for real growth. When you do this you have begun to take better care of yourself.

Within each of us there is a part that knows what's best for us. Unfortunately, today many are caught up in the modern madness of our culture, racing against time. It goes so fast that you race right past yourself, ignoring all the warning signs that tell you that you are off the track. It's only when you take the time to stop and observe yourself that you can discover what is best for you at this present time. So for starters take a few minutes for you on a daily basis. As you start to do this on a regular basis you will be surprised what a difference using this technique will make in your life.

As you start to take better care of yourself, you will find that you are getting along with other people better. This is because the way that you treat others is the way you treat yourself. For instance, if you are critical of yourself you are critical of others. So it follows that taking care of yourself, becoming less critical, and more tolerant of yourself you will treat other people likewise.

So folks, start to nurture and take care of yourself as soon as possible. It may cross your mind that thinking about yourself is selfish. If you're really truthful though, you will realize that people are going to eventually do what they want to do anyway. If you want to do what another person wants against your own best interests, sooner or later you are going to become resentful. Then it is only a matter of time before you consciously or unconsciously find a way to "get back" at the other person. This may be hard to swallow but it's the truth. If you bury your own self-interest in favor of someone else's, it festers and the situation usually gets worse. To avoid a larger problem later, remember to take care of yourself now.

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