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How do we form a relationship with ourself?

Valentine’s Day, the 14th February, a day, every year, to celebrate your relationship and express your love and affection for that person. Television and the internet is full of adverts reminding us to spend money on this other person, supermarkets and shops are full of items for us to buy to show how much we care. However, often even just small acts of kindness to demonstrate our love for others in our world, whether it is our partner, family members or friends can create positive emotions within us and that particular relationship.

But what about the most important relationship of all? The relationship with ourselves?

Sarah Caddy

Dr Sarah Caddy – Director & General Practioner

Find out more about Dr Sarah Caddy

How do we form a relationship with ourself?

Valentine’s Day, the 14th February, a day, every year, to celebrate your relationship and express your love and affection for that person. Television and the internet is full of adverts reminding us to spend money on this other person, supermarkets and shops are full of items for us to buy to show how much we care. However, often even just small acts of kindness to demonstrate our love for others in our world, whether it is our partner, family members or friends can create positive emotions within us and that particular relationship.

But what about the most important relationship of all? The relationship with ourselves?

How do you take care of yourself?

Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself; How often do you take the time to do small acts of kindness for yourself? How often do you take time to reflect on what can improve your emotional health and well-being and then put it into action? How often do you talk to yourself in a way you would never talk to your best friend? Why is this?

Why do so many of us struggle to invest even a small amount of time in ourselves yet we think nothing of putting our everything into others in our world whether this is our children, grandchildren, parents, partner, friends, work-life, the list goes on. As a GP I see many people who unfortunately reach burn out point from doing just this. It is so often a gradual process that the person doesn’t notice how their entire life and days are centered on others. This is all done with good intention; to help others. But it comes at a price. This lifestyle is not sustainable. Even if the person recognises this, they will often struggle with granting themselves permission to be “selfish” and put their needs first. Inevitably it leads to physical and emotional burnout.

But let’s look at this; the probability of being able to successfully sustain a busy life, whether it is work or home or both, is to make sure you are in a good place yourself. To be in a good place is most imperative to create a solid foundation for anything we want to do. If we can meet our own needs and sort out our emotions, we stand a much better chance of having successful relationships.

    So, this Valentine’s Day here is my poem to you:

    How can I do this you may ask. Here are a few ideas and suggestions to get you started:

    • Begin with yourself. What do you need to do to be in a good place, in other words, what are the basic needs of your Human and Chimp. (Beware however not to fall into the trap of spoiling the Chimp!)
    • Try to make friends with your Chimp. Our Chimps are always trying to protect us. Unfortunately, they often get things out of perspective but try to listen to the message from your Chimp. For example, if it’s telling you it’s overwhelmed, listen to it, reflect and make a plan. The plan may initially just be writing a list of everything you are trying to achieve. This way you can see if you have realistic expectations of yourself. (As a little tip, we usually have wildly unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others! Which of course then leads to feelings of disappointment and frustration)
    • Start to accept our Chimps and ourselves as we are. We may not always agree with the thoughts and behaviors of our Chimp but we can commit to continuing to work on understanding and better managing them. Take responsibility for your Chimp. If it has acted or behaved inappropriately it is important to apologise and put it right.

    So on February 14th 2022, this Valentine’s day, whether you are in a relationship or not, I encourage you to take some time for yourself. Take just 5 minutes to do something that makes you happy. Give yourself permission from this day onwards, you are investing wisely.

    Applying Emotional Skills

    Learn more about forming relationships at our annual conference. Our workshop ‘Relationships’ will explore the various relationships that we develop in all areas of our life. They will consider how we can optimise and build constructive and lasting relationships. 

    A 2-day event helping you to get the best out of yourself and other people – with a focus on Reviewing Performance, Relationships, and Managing Deceit from the Mind.

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