You may be asking yourself, why a relationship therapist is talking about the importance of being a whole person, and not a relational topic like affairs or how to communicate better.
Well, in my years of being a therapist one of the major themes that continues to show up that keep people stuck in their relationships is people’s inability to spend the appropriate time needed to do the work to be their best selves.
Have you ever heard the saying “To love others you must first love yourself”? It’s something much easier said than done and often overlooked when trying to figure out where issues stem from in relationships with others.
Unfortunately, many of us have fallen into the belief that our partners will “fix” us or that we can eventually be enough to overcome the areas of our lives that are so difficult to look at.
I came across a powerful statement that made me think about my own life differently, and I want to share it with you.
“The greatest gift you can give someone is a healthy you” said by Paul Scanlon.
How many people have heard a variation of this statement before?
Yet it is like what they say, sometimes it takes hearing it from someone else, for it to carry weight.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love “love” just as much as the next person, yet I deeply believe that in order to love another we must know how to love ourselves first. One of the most important relationships you will have in life is the relationship you have with yourself. It serves as the foundation for all other relationships in your life. The stronger you are with yourself, the stronger your other relationships can be. The best way to get there is to be what I consider a “whole” version of you!
So, you may wonder what does it mean to be a “whole: you and how do you become a “whole you when you are struggling to love yourself?
I have defined a “whole” you to be the intentional decision to do the hard, yet rewarding work of self-development. To be “whole” is not perfection, yet the decision to welcome in where you are not perfect, the decision to expose the areas of growth, and take a deeper look into the ways you can be accountable and open to showing up better for yourself and those who you are in a relationship with. To be “whole” is about asking yourself the difficult questions that lead you to healing and a better sense of self.
The good news is it is possible to learn how to discover a “whole” version of yourself in order to be confident in not only yourself but also what you have to offer in your relationships with others. I’m here to help you discover how to do just that.
To get started, here are some questions to ask yourself as you work towards finding the “whole” version of you.
What is trauma and is there evidence of trauma in my life?
How have my earlier childhood experiences impacted the way I understand myself and the world around me?
How have people treated me? And how have I treated others?
What kind of relationship do I have with myself?
What is forgiveness and what does it look like?
These questions are great starting points to really dive deep into some important issues that may be lingering subconsciously over the years without even knowing it. Addressing these important questions can help you understand yourself on a deeper level and allow you to identify areas of growth that can make you become a better person by working to improve yourself.
Now that we’ve addressed some important questions about your personal life, let’s dive into the steps one can take to begin moving towards being “whole”.
- Choose You: We can no longer make excuses for why we do not care for ourselves well. Making yourself your #1 priority both mentally and physically first will affect all areas of life. Remember the moment you begin taking care of yourself, the better you will be for others.
Whether it be making extra time to exercise, speaking more “kindly” to yourself, saying “no” to things that do not serve you, learning to rest when your body needs it, setting boundaries when needed, etc. Put yourself first so that you are in the best place you can be when in a relationship with someone else.
- Acceptance: This is all about learning to meet people where they are at, including yourself.
It’s the ability to love yourself unconditionally including the parts you cannot change. On your journey towards finding ultimate happiness you must accept what is and let go of what you cannot control.
- Set Boundaries: Remember that boundaries help us to be in a relationship with other people better. They help set parameters around protecting ourselves.
Setting boundaries can often be difficult and takes skill but they are important as it allows you to communicate your needs clearly so others don’t take advantage of you. By setting boundaries you are practicing self-care and self-respect so you can have healthy relationships with others.
- Break Unhealthy Patterns: Identify the cycles in your life that are no longer serving you so that you can cultivate healthier relationships with yourself and others.
Sometimes it becomes easy to get stuck in unhealthy, yet comfortable patterns. Doing the hard work to identify what is not beneficial for your well-being will help you become a better version of yourself.
- Utilize your local mental health professionals: You don’t have to do this work alone. Seeking professional help can provide understanding to things that are new to us and help uncover those patterns that need to be altered.
Your mental health affects how you think, act and feel and is incredibly important at all stages of life for all relationships you have with others so make your mental health a priority!
- Utilize support from family and friends: Community is important and while you are on this journey having people who love us and want the best for us is necessary to stay focused. When you feel the love and support from others that matter to you it will help encourage you to keep discovering the best version of yourself to be the happiest you can be.
So, now that we’ve identified the difficult questions that make you look inward and some tips to start doing the work toward finding the “whole” version of yourself, I hope you can now see that it IS possible to become the best version of yourself for you and your relationships with others.
It’s not going to be easy to change habits that you may have found yourself comfortable with over the years, but it is worth doing the hard work to have healthy and happy relationships with those who are important to you.
If you find yourself needing support to help work on becoming the best “whole” version of you, Solid Foundations can help! Learn more at solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!