The Primary Relationship That Needs Updating Is The One You Have With Yourself
“THE PRIMARY RELATIONSHIP THAT NEEDS UPDATING AT MIDLIFE IS THE ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOURSELF.”
I love this quote from Dr Christiane Northrup and often think we could easily exchange the word “midlife” for “divorce”.
The major upheaval that comes with a relationship transition, separation or divorce creates the perfect opportunity to update your relationship with yourself. But for so many of us, overwhelmed with the myriad of changes, the fear of the unknown, and the powerful emotions swirling around us, we simply forget to devote any time working on our relationship with ourselves.
Do you know what you need? Do you know and like who you are? Do you put yourself first? Do you honour yourself and set firm boundaries? Do you listen to yourself? Are you focused on other people and things, rather than on yourself?
Connecting with and building a healthy relationship with yourself is vital in order to not just “get through” divorce, but to emerge with the inner peace, knowledge and strength to rebuild a beautiful new version of your life.
Here are my tips for building a beautiful, healthy, strong and loving relationship with yourself:
1. BE COMMITTED
Nurturing any relationship takes time and effort. The relationship you build with yourself is no different. It’s a lifelong journey. Make a conscious decision to be committed to developing a healthy, loving and robust relationship with yourself.
2. TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN NEEDS FIRST
Choose the relationship with yourself first. This isn’t selfish or self-centred. It’s vital. No-one can fill up others from an empty cup. That reminder from the flight attendants on a plane to fit your own oxygen mask before helping others? The same applies in all areas of your life. Make sure you are taken care of first – physically (nutrition, sleep, rest, exercise), emotionally and mentally.
3. CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF REGULARLY
Just as you check in with your friends and family to see how they are and what’s happening in their lives, so too we need to check in with ourselves. It’s simply not possible to tend to our needs if we don’t recognise what they are. Ask yourself, on a regular basis “how am I today?” “what do I need more or less of?”
4. ATTEND TO YOUR INNER WORLD
Make time to connect with your inner spirit, your essence, your soul - whatever you call it. There are countless ways to connect with and tend to your inner world. Meditation. Yoga. Journalling. Walking. Sitting still and silent in nature. Playing or listening to music. Whatever it is for you, make time for this connection to the inner, rather than the noise of the outer world. It’s as important as any other fuel – food, water, air - we fill our selves with.
5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVE
Actively choose to surround yourself with people who uplift you; people who love you and treat you with kindness, compassion and respect but also, people who already have or are actively working towards building a positive relationship with themselves. Let them be your role models and cheerleaders. Gently, with courtesy and compassion (for yourself and the other party) extract yourself from relationships which don’t feel loving and supportive. Surround yourself not only with people you love but with things you love, things that bring joy into your world. They needn’t to be expensive or extravagant and can be as simple as a flower picked from the garden or a favourite piece of music.
6. BE A GOOD FRIEND TO YOURSELF
That inner voice…. She can be harsh and critical. Start treating yourself as you would your best friend. Gently. Compassionately. With good grace and humour. Forgive yourself as you would others. Encourage yourself and celebrate your achievements. If you’re struggling with making a decision, ask yourself “what would my best friend do / say?” If you’ve made a mistake, laugh at yourself and move forward. If you’ve achieved a milestone, celebrate yourself.
7. RECOGNISE THE BARRIERS
Put simply, get out of your own way. Being “too busy” is a barrier. Putting others first is a barrier. Blaming others. Telling yourself spending time and energy building a healthy relationship with yourself is selfish, silly or not important? Barriers. We all have them. What are yours? Recognise them, get to know how they show up for you then gently break them down.
8. EMBRACE YOUR IMPERFECTIONS
We tend to have unconditional love for others – our kids, our family, our friends – but we are often not so compassionate with ourselves. Be curious. Recognise and work on your weaknesses or flaws, sure but accept them as a part of your whole. Work on them with self-compassion.
When you drill down under all of this, it really is quite simple. YOU are the foundation. Make it strong and sure, and build the rest of your post-divorce life around that strength.
Make a promise to yourself to take care of YOU in the very best way you can. Every. Single. Day.