3 Strategies to Improve Your Relationship-with-Self
Your experience of life is through the filters of your mind. The quality of your mind is a relationship-with-self. The practise of self-love and compassion greatly improves your relationship with and experience of others and life.
Through my thousands of hours of coaching individuals, relationships, leaders and teams, I have witnessed time and again, the power of improving your relationship with Self and the positive affect it has for your quality of life, well-being and ability to contribute to the lives of others. Below are three tips that I hope will help you, or someone you know.
You are exactly as you should be in this moment right here right now; just the way you are. How do I know this? Because Reality told me. There you are. Just like that, with all your bits and bobs. So, apparently, you are exactly as you are supposed to be in this moment. Perfectly imperfect and completely good enough to be you.
You shouldn’t be more like anyone else, because you’re not anyone else! You are doing the perfect job of being you. As one of my favourite authors/thinkers, Byron Katie, says… ‘you can argue with reality, but reality will win… only 100% of the time!’
By the way, this doesn’t mean you might not want to continue to improve as time passes and you project into your future, to get ‘better’ at being you. It just means that in the snapshot of this moment, you are exactly as you are supposed to be. This is about complete acceptance of the past and present moment and of yourself.
When you can accept and even love all that you’ve been and are (yes even the stuff you regret), your relationship with Self moves from toxic to resolved. When you are resolved with Self, you’ve freed up mind space to be more present; to communicate more clearly with life and others. You can better ‘see’ with less interference and past baggage.
Here is a tool to help you with accepting the past… C.I.A. (no, not the Central Intelligence Agency!) This acronym was developed by Neil and Sue Thompson in their 2008 book ‘The Critically Reflective Practitioner’. It is one of the most helpful and regularly used tools I’ve adopted. Control, Influence, Accept.
There are some things in life you can control. If something is within your control and it’s not the way you would like it to be, rock on, give it all your energy. Give it all your worry, concern, attention… your blood sweat and tears to make it better.
Then, there are somethings that are not in your control, but you have some influence over. Great. Give them the appropriate amount of your energy. The appropriate amount of your sleepless night figuring out a solution. If you only have 1% influence… then only 1% concern. 80% influence?... 80% concern.
Then, there are things you can’t control, or influence and they go straight into the accept basket. Zero worry. Zero stress. Zero frustration and none of your sleepless night distraction!
Here is some more gold from C.I.A. ... EVERYTHING from your past can go straight into the Accept Basket! Why? Because it all qualifies as things you can’t control or influence. Apparently, it all should have happened. Why?... because it did. This includes every action you took that you hope you won’t take again. Viva la improvement!
Start to notice and become more aware of the words and tone you use in your head when you are alone. When it’s negative, change it. This is a practise. You don’t get to just tick the box once with this. Be persistently kind in the way you talk to yourself. You will find over time that your default tone-to-self changes and it becomes more habitual to talk to yourself in a positive, supportive and loving way.
This doesn’t mean not to hold yourself accountable to trying to be the best version of you. It just means, when you slip (and we do that, us humans), pick yourself up and encourage yourself to get back on your game, in a kind way. There is never a reason to be cruel. Cruelty is simply dysfunctional.
It’s crazy when you think about it. We are prone to speak way more harshly to ourselves than we ever would to anyone else. Why is that? Do we like others more than we like ourselves? How can that be? We are all equal, aren’t we? Are you not as deserving of love as your child or sister or friend? Speak kindly to yourself. Ease up on your imperfections and focus on your intentions. If your intentions are good, you’re good.
What are the things you know are good for your well-being that you don’t do? What are the excuses you’ve been using for not rejuvenating and replenishing? Are you someone who has tipped the balance towards helping everyone else to your own detriment? Perhaps you’ve buried yourself in your work. Maybe you’ve bought into the belief that ‘there’s not enough time for me’. Maybe you deal with overwhelm by procrastinating. And, when you do invest time in yourself, do you do it guilt-free?
If it makes it easier to get your head around doing good things for yourself, look at it like this; you can only give/serve/contribute/help others if you have the energy reserves and clarity to do so. If you want to keep making it about everyone else, you have to look after you.
Remember, by getting good with you, you can more easily get out of the way for clearer and more connected communication with life and others.
Habit formation tip: schedule it. You are way more likely to spend time on you, for you, if you schedule it in your weekly calendar. You could even make it a weekly repeating event ;)
I hope this has helped. I know it certainly will if you put it into practise.
All the best. Stay well. Jem.