Relationships with others and how to relate to yourself

Recently, a friend informed me that the guy she’d been seeing had ended it with her. She admitted to feeling like a “reject”. I told her that there is nothing wrong with her, that she is perfect exactly as she is, and that she is perfect for the right guy for her. What I didn’t say is that the only thing that isn’t perfect about her right now is her lack of understanding of her own perfection.

Relationships are excellent for giving us very important lessons. They bring us onto an intimate level with another human being so we are forced to confront our issues, insecurities, and deep-seated emotions. Emotions do not arise only for us to squash them. They should be explored as they are a clear indication of what’s working in our lives and what isn’t. Emotions teach us who we are.

The most important relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself. If you don’t know yourself properly, you can never experience a healthy partnership. And if you don’t love yourself, how can you say you love anybody else? Your love is conditional – you will love yourself when you look the way you think you should look, when you’re in a relationship, when society seems to accept you and tell you that you’re a success. The moment any of these conditions change, you snap your love back like a yo-yo. If the love you have for yourself is dependent on a list of conditions, the love you claim to have for others is conditional too. You love them until they behave in a way that you think isn’t right. You love them as long as they fit your criteria of a good friend, a loyal family member, or the perfect partner. This is not real love.

Accept yourself and then you will be able to accept others for who they really are. Lift the veil of delusion that you are wearing across your face and you will be able to easier see what a person is really like. Then, you can make an informed decision as to whether you want a close relationship with this person or not. When you find yourself thinking, “This person looks good and we have a lot in common with each other so we’d be perfect together”; realise that the moment you thought this, a veil came down over your eyes. You are no longer seeing this person as they are but rather as you want them to be. And when chinks of light appear in this veil, you don’t like what you see. So, you blame the other person for making you feel bad. How is a relationship like this going to work?

And when we can’t blame others, we blame ourselves. When relationships end, we often wonder what’s wrong with us. I’m not attractive enough. There must be something missing in my personality. What do I need to change about myself so somebody else can love me? Never change yourself for anyone! Always be yourself no matter what. You can only attract the right people into your life when you are who you really are. Don’t waste any more time pretending and crying over failed relationships. Be grateful that they’re over and that you are not trapped in an unhealthy partnership. Know yourself, be yourself, and love yourself, and everything else will follow.

Last night, a man called into me. As we drank our tea and chatted, he spotted a photograph of me when I was nine years old. I was sitting in the sun with my brother, cousin, and neighbour. We were in our swimming togs after enjoying a water fight. The man asked if I’d been happy back then. I admitted that I cannot remember ever having truly been myself, even when I go back to my earliest memories. I was always trying to change myself to please others. It was a mistaken belief that that was the only way to survive in this world. I worried what others thought about me. I was afraid of being less than perfect. I have cried tears of sadness over this. But that is simply how I chose to think and, therefore, feel at that time. As a result, I can better appreciate and savour getting to know the real me, living my life in the right way for me, and loving myself unconditionally.

Only very recently have I started to know, be, and love myself. I accept myself exactly as I am. Loving myself as I am doesn’t mean that I remain stagnant. Because I love myself, I take myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself with my own potential. This is scary but rewarding as my confidence and belief in my talents and capabilities are strengthening. I don’t run away from my feelings. I sit with them and learn from them.

I am constantly exploring new avenues of growth and change. I exercise because my body cries out for it and thanks me for it. But I don’t deny myself rest and relaxation. I want to eat healthful foods because that’s what my body deserves. I enjoy what I eat and am grateful for it. I am good to my body so it will be good to me. I get up early to get work done. I study and attend classes because I want a good life of abundance and fulfilment. I help others because I have something to offer and because we are all connected in this world. When I feel sick, hurt, angry or scared, I observe it and allow it, and when I remember, I give thanks for the challenge as it is an opportunity to learn more about myself, which, in turn, enables me to grow.

I am good to myself. I have baths and light candles. I walk in nature and take yoga classes. I feed myself with knowledge as it’s one of the most important nutrients there is. I read books and meditate and listen to music. I wear pretty colours and do my hair. I travel and swim in the ocean and laugh with friends. I spend time alone so that I can centre and rejuvenate myself. And because I now know, accept and love myself, I have given myself a wonderful gift – the freedom and the ability to know, accept, and love my family, friends, and potential partner.

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6 responses to “Relationships with others and how to relate to yourself

  1. Sharon, this is beautiful! You are an amazing woman – I feel so blessed to have found your blog. It is so helpful to me on my journey. Bless you on your journey!

  2. Love this… I keep taking it out and reading it x

  3. Hey,

    I found your blog after a search for “how to relate to others”, as sometimes this is confusing for me. I spent many years absolutely hating myself and after a recent breakup with a man i simply adore- i had to look inward. I had to find the cause(s) of my internal suffering. I had been diagnosed with bpd/hormone issues. But i knew this couldn’t be an excuse anymore or i would never heal from these things. Tons of people live with mental/physical illness and still maintain happy relationships. For years of my life i have desperately wanted that. I am someone who is full of love to give. But, recently i discovered that i had to give that love to myself first. Ive been working on it, and its not easy but its starting to feel more real. I have realized that the more i respect myself, the more i respect others. The more i know my own boundaries, the more i honor others boundaries. This was proven to me the other day when i ran into my ex after months of not talking. I said hi and tried to instigate a conversation to which he responded with a very painful “no.” It hurt me immensely. But it was a turning point for me. The “old me” would have ran after him and demanded to talk. But i turned and walked away. 2 reasons: i did not want to upset him. And because ive done alot of soul searching, i realized that i wouldnt want someone to break my boundary when i say no, so there was no reason for me to do it to someone i care about. Oh, and the third reason is that “no” is a complete sentence ❤

    For the first time in my life i have been able to talk myself down from self harming, drug use or any other self sabotaging/self abusive tendencies… the sort of which 15 years of my life has been comprised of.

    Its because i have been working on that relationship with myself all the time. Taking care of my mental/emotional/physical and spiritual needs. Ive been meditating and studying buddhism. Yoga too. Trying to remember the person inside of me who has just been covered up by years of hurting. Like i said its not easy but it is worth it. Thank you for this article

    • Hi Stephanie,
      Thank you for your honest and eloquent comment. I’m so glad that things have changed for the better for you.
      You’re so right, we have to have a healthy relationship with ourselves first, give ourselves unconditional love, respect and acceptance before we can really open up to a wonderful relationship with somebody else.
      I wish you peace and love and enjoyment on your journey, you’re doing great!

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