We are usually taught to focus on others needs before our own. There are articles about helping us build healthy relationships with our partners and loved ones, magazine covers telling us what we need to do to attract a man, and books on being a good mother, etc. I have no problem with any of this because I believe in creating happy and healthy relationships with others, but on the flip side I don’t hear nearly as much about the most important relationship in our lives: the one with ourselves.
As women we are more likely to compromise in our relationships, especially romantic ones. I see how easy it is for us to have more of an external focus and lose our sense of self, and I’m not okay with that…anymore. I say anymore because I had this self-sacrificing thought process at one point. From personal experience I know how easy it is for us to get caught up in others and not realize that we are disconnected from ourselves.
What happens when you don’t have a true connection to self?
One of my past downfalls in relationships was not having a strong sense of self. I got lost in my past marriage and other roles I played. Because of that I didn’t make conscious choices based on who I was and what I wanted. Instead my choices were formed around what others wanted and needed. I used to go along with it and in the end that approach never served me. This can show up in any type of relationship that we deem important and for that reason I encourage you to always stay connected to who you are. Also, as a mother with a child who has special health-care needs (due to chronic illnesses), I learned very fast how important it is to make sure I develop a healthy relationship with myself first and foremost. Being a caregiver is very overwhelming at times and I need to maintain my overall well-being in order to take on what comes my way and to also be my best self in the relationships I value.
Have you been ignoring any signals that clearly show a disconnect with self?
Outside of relationships we also get lost in life. With all the tasks, people, and activities competing for our attention every day, it’s so easy to get misplaced in the routine and lose touch with ourselves. In the end, your life is about your journey and it starts with rediscovering a relationship with YOU.
“Having a good relationship with yourself improves your relationships with others.”
How you are living should be aligned with how you see yourself authentically. Reconnecting to who you are and showing up as your true self will make you happier, reduce stress, and also make your relationship experiences more fulfilling.
The following are some ways to start reconnecting with self:
1. Spend Time Alone
Life happens really fast and it’s up to you to slow things down. Therefore, the first thing you must do is take time for yourself. You just have to disconnect externally and go inward. Spending time alone with no social media or cell phone is a good place to start. Most of us are connected all the time making it very easy to get out of touch with how we feel. It’s so important to be alone every day for personal reflection and check-in. You can start off with just 15 to 30 minutes a day. If you stay committed to it you will start to crave that time.
It’s inevitable that your mind will wonder about what else you can do during alone time besides just sitting with yourself, so take a journal with you to capture your thoughts. Writing is a great way to give what’s rolling around in your head some room to breathe. By putting your thoughts on paper you’ll begin to sift through mental clutter, process, and let go of stuff that needs to be discarded. Writing is a way of clarifying and releasing. It also reveals where you’re stuck. There are no rules. Just write!
3. Perform Self-Inquiry
After you move past your surface thoughts use these guided questions to get you on the path of reconnecting:
- Are you really focused on what matters to you?
- Is your life in alignment with what you believe and what you feel is really worthwhile?
- Are you engaged in at least one thing that you love doing?
- How are you relating to yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially?
- Are your needs being met in the most important areas of your life?
- Are you happy with self and your life?
Whatever shows up for you while answering these questions, I want you to practice self-compassion. If a painful thought or feeling comes up be understanding. Ask yourself the following: How would I respond to someone I care about if they were having a difficult time with something? What comforting words would I say to them? Then say those same words to yourself.
Self-exploration processes are beneficial to understanding who you are and how that transfers into making decisions in your relationships. When you have a sense of clarity you’re more likely to engage in relationships and experiences that enhance and improve the quality of your life, and I want that for you.
Let’s start a dialogue around this topic, leave a comment and let me know what’s most challenging for you to stay connected to yourself.
Meet the Contributing Writer:
Monique Allison is a Relationship Clarity Coach. Her personal experience, observation, and insight gained over the years allows her to help women release unhealthy relationships and heal from broken ones in order to love again from a more self-loving and authentic space. She is also the mother of 10-year-old son, Pharaoh. Monique’s background/experience is in the nonprofit sector working for United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (UWMA) for 13 years; holding the position as the Quality Assurance Manager. She has achieved a B.A. in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, is AIRS Certified as an Information & Referral Specialist, attained a Creative Writer Certificate from Kennesaw State University. Monique has also taught life skills to young adults for two years. Learn more about Monique’s work helping women build healthy relationships HERE.