The Most Important Relationship in Your Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately—not surprising since I am a work relationship coach. And I’ve taken a lot of time lately in between marathon sessions on the internet to think about relationships and what could make them better for people.

I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us have relationship breakdowns because we are not in touch with who we are and are oblivious to what we bring to our relationships with others.

Lack of Self-esteem?

What do I mean by that? I mean that often our own lack of self-esteem gets in the way of our seeing good things in others. Or it has us become envious of those that we think are doing better in life than we are. And because it’s in our ‘background of obviousness’ (all my coaching clients are now groaning in uniso) we don’t get how it’s coloring what we see ‘out there.’

The Ever-present ‘Background of Obviousness’

Ok, for those of you who don’t know the term, it’s all that stuff about us and our way of seeing the world that it so much a part of us that it recedes into the background. It’s like the chair that you’re (probably) sitting on at the moment. Did you think about it at all until I mentioned it? I doubt it. And just like that chair, our value system and what we ‘know’ about ourselves is lurking somewhere out of our conscious knowledge.

But we sure do act on it, every minute of every day. Part of being more present in our interactions with others is to be able to step back and observe those things. Until we notice it, I mean really see it for what it is, we can’t change it.

First, Start with Yourself

Our relationship with ourself is the first one we need to work on to make the other relationships in our lives more fulfilling, functional, and healthy.

I bet you’re wondering how you work on that relationship. Thought you’d never ask.

Start with Intention

The first thing to do is to have the intention that you really want to look at the things about you that don’t serve you. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it takes a certain amount of bravery and determination to step into really looking at our own foibles and sometimes it’s just too overwhelming. But as is often said, if you’re going to eat an elephant you do that by taking one bite at a time. (Who the heck would ever want to eat an elephant, anyway?)

Love Yourself

Another thing to do is to start loving yourself more. What? Don’t we all love ourselves? Nope, we don’t. Otherwise why would people take drugs, engage in self-sabotage, refuse to set boundaries in relationships with others, engage in all kinds of avoidance behavior to get out of taking care of ourselves—to name just a few.

Here’s How

I know, I know, now you’re thinking about how to love yourself more. Here are some of my tried and true strategies:

· Say no when you don’t want to do something. If you don’t want to do something that someone asks of you or because you’re afraid of how it would look, then just say no. (That sounds like it could be a good advertising slogan.)

· Give yourself the gift of time. Rather than running here and there and everywhere trying to avoid your issues, just sit with them. If you’re angry, then be angry. If you’re sad then be sad. And if you’re joyful, tell the world. Avoiding stuff just causes it to go inside and reside in your body—not a good place to store it. It can pop out when you least expect it as dis-ease.

· Drop the habit of always putting the needs of others before your own. Practice once a week putting yourself first—see the first bullet. And do it with a guilt-free conscience—or fake it till you make it.

· Love your body. This one can be difficult for a lot of us. Not to let the male readers off the hook, but this one is rampant among women. We are bombarded with messages every single day about body image: what our body should look like, what we should weigh, how we should dress, and so on. It gets hard to love our bodies. Know what? Just say no. (Oops, I used that line already, but it fits.) Stomp your foot, figuratively or metaphorically and refuse to hate your body for just being what it is. If you want to lose weight do it because you want to not because you think you should. If you like your clogs from 1982, then wear them proudly. If your hips are too wide to fit into a size 12, then buy a size 14 with a smile.

Lately I have been contemplating the wonders of my body. I’m in my 60’s and I am just blown away by the fact that my heart has been pumping continuously for all these years. It just amazes me when I think about it—and I am so grateful. I’m also grateful for all the wonderful experiences my body has taken me through in this lifetime. Seeing the Grand Canyon, Europe, and the Caribbean, having a baby, learning to dance the tango, smelling pine trees after a rain, and……well, you get the idea. It’s wondrous.

So how about spending more time thinking about the wondrous than dwelling on what is not present. If you stop worrying about what is not there you’ll have a better chance of creating it later on. But if you keep dwelling on it not being there, you’ll have no room for the good stuff. Ok, sermonette over.

We all want to live happier more fulfilled lives. And mostly that happiness is directly related to the success of the important relationships in our lives.

My very best advice is to start with the person who’s reading this post. (You!) And if you get stuck, I know a really good coach. Smile


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