“Friendship with oneself is all-important because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt, American Diplomat and Activist
The person that you spend the most time with is yourself! Do not forget to continue building and maintaining the relationship that you have with yourself. You may neglect this important aspect of recovery and forget to take time for self-care. Before you can support others or build strong connections, you may need to learn how to focus on fulfilling your own needs. When you do not look after your own needs, you may grow dependent upon other things to make you feel happy. The harsh truth is that if you are not looking out for yourself, you cannot fully be there for someone else. When you do not prioritize your own needs for self-care, you risk losing or weakening the relationships and connections in your life.
Training Your Inner Voice
One way to improve your relationship with yourself is to monitor your inner voice. When you face challenges in life or recovery, you alone may have to talk yourself through any negative thoughts that come up. Your inner voice may be putting you down or telling you that you cannot accomplish your goals. You may need to work on training your inner voice to connect with yourself. If you are unable to encourage or believe in yourself, then you will become dependent upon others to do this for you. When you train your inner voice to become more positive, uplifting, and encouraging, you can talk yourself through challenges and bad days. You can recognize when things are going wrong and when you may need to seek external support.
Take notice of your inner voice to determine if you need to work on this. You can train your voice in two ways:
Minimize Negative Thoughts and Self-Talk:
- You may hear the voice of someone else putting you down. This might even be the voice of someone from your past or present, who judges you or belittles you in real life.
- Change the negative voice by decreasing the volume or heightening the pitch of this voice until it sounds cartoonish or squeaky.
- Changing the volume or tone of voice can minimize the impact and help you ignore it or laugh it off.
Maximize Your Positive Self-Talk:
- Imagine your confident self-talking in a loud, encouraging tone of voice.
- Turn up the volume and change the tone to yourself or someone else, who has been a supportive figure in your life.
You may have heard of self-care activities during your treatment or discovered some on your own. When you are out of treatment, remember to continue scheduling time for yourself to do things that help you grow. Going out of your way to treat yourself can have an impact on your confidence and well-being. You are showing yourself that you care. You are teaching yourself that no matter what happens, you will be there for you.
Self-care activities are things that you do for your health and wellness. You get so caught up in obligations to others or busy with other responsibilities, that you lose sight of these things. Self-care includes things like:
- Getting outside in nature
- Exercising and personal fitness
- Attending support groups
- Reading about recovery and wellness
- Cooking healthy meals
- Personal hygiene
- Cleaning up your personal space
- Spending time on hobbies or other interests
- Spending time with friends or family
- Giving attention to pets and animals
- Listening to music
- Getting enough sleep and rest
- Taking a break when overwhelmed
- Going for a walk, hike, or run
- Taking a long, relaxing shower
- Nearly any healthy activity that you do that focuses on making yourself feel appreciated!
Setting Boundaries With Others
When you do not take the time to establish a relationship and appreciation for yourself, you may struggle with setting boundaries with others. Setting boundaries is a healthy and necessary part of any strong relationship. When you do not take the time to focus on and love yourself, you may struggle with understanding what your boundaries are. You need to love and appreciate yourself to know what your wants and needs are from others. When you are not able to provide a loving and encouraging relationship with yourself, you may be at the behest of others to provide all of your esteem needs. Where a sense of belongingness helps build some of your esteem needs and you look only to others to fulfill these needs, you will have a difficult time managing all of your relationships. You may be tempted to violate other people’s boundaries or you may allow others to violate your own. Be kind and learn to love yourself!
Fire Mountain believes that the most important relationship we have in life is the one we have with ourselves. Our relationship with ourselves provides the foundation for all other relationships and friendships that we build outside of ourselves. By taking time for self-care and remembering to value our needs, we can better understand what our boundaries are in other relationships. Having a strong and encouraging inner voice can help us learn to speak to ourselves respectfully. Setting boundaries is nearly impossible if we do not love and respect ourselves. If we do not value our time enough to care for ourselves, no one else will do this for us. While others may be available to support us and help us, we run the risk of losing these relationships if we grow to depend upon them for all of our esteem needs.
If you are struggling with self-appreciation, call Fire Mountain for support at (303) 443-3343.