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How good is the relationship with yourself and how can you improve it?

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Ben Steenstra Ben Steenstra
05-03-2020 8 mins read

The only person you should spend your whole life with is yourself. If you have a bad relationship with yourself, you won't be able to live a happy life. How does a relationship with yourself work and how can you improve it?

How good is the relationship with yourself and how can you improve it?

Every relationship is based on corresponding values, the prevention of disappointments, and a form of interaction in which compassion, love, and caring play a significant role. When these conditions are no longer present, there is no breeding ground to maintain the friendship or relationship. This is also how it works in the relationship with yourself.

Ignoring our values and their consequences

Consciously or unconsciously, we live our lives based on a number of values that we consider important. Usually, there are not many of them, and there is always a hierarchy in our values. The higher up in the hierarchy, the more annoying we think it is when someone or we ourselves ignore these values.

What are values, and how do we determine them?

Values are a collection of ideas about the world, people, time, and our environment that we partly inherit through our childhood, faith, culture, and environment and partly determine ourselves. They are the frameworks that tell us what is right and what is wrong.

A very religious person will find it very important to pray every day, and an atheist will not care. Someone who has been raised in a harmonious family full of love and compassion will find it important that there is little quarrel as possible, no one raises a voice, and everything can be talked about in peace. Someone who has been recruited as a child soldier somewhere and has been surrounded by violence from an early age, will not care and will be able to believe that the strongest and the cheekiest person with the biggest mouth has the best life.

Values are different for everyone and determine what you do and don't do and what you think is normal.

How does the hierarchy of values work?

Every value we find important has a hierarchy of values. Most people find violence, theft, and lying unacceptable. But what if you have to defend yourself, your children have nothing to eat unless you steal a little food, or what if you tell a little lie so as not to hurt anyone? Are the values set in stone then?

It's different when it comes to killing someone. Violence, theft, and lying come in many degrees, but murder is murder. Because it's so black and white, never killing anyone is a value very high up the hierarchy for most people.

Why is it important to know your own value and standards?

By creating a good and clear picture of your own norms and values, you give yourself a framework for how you want to deal with others and yourself and how you would like others to treat you. You get clear what you will never do, always want to do and when you can forgive another person or yourself if you or the other person does something you do not like.

Sometimes we or someone else do something that can make us very angry or sad. In most cases - if not all cases - we don't get angry or sad because of the act itself, but because some value is exceeded.

Having your own values clear makes it easier to be less worried or angry about some things and to act firmly when you never tolerate something.

Being disappointed in yourself by not living up to expectations

Disappointment is one of the significant triggers to get angry with someone else or yourself, which can ruin the relationship. Rarely does this disappointment say anything about other people or your environment, and usually, it only says something about yourself. A disappointment always comes from an expectation that is not met.

If you are disappointed in yourself, you had an expectation that you yourself did not live up to. This expectation may be related to something you want to happen to you or to exceeding a value you have set yourself.

Disappointment over something you hoped would come true

Without goals, ambitions, and wishes, we feel rudderless and lost. Even with clear values, we don't know what we are doing for what reason. Goals, ambitions, and wishes give us direction in our lives, and we feel comfortable with that.

The downside of setting goals and having ambitions and wishes is that we cannot expect to achieve them all. Some people are so talented in coming up with an infinite number of goals, ambitions, and expectations that only a small percentage can come true.

You want a good job, health, a lot of money, a nice relationship, often on vacation, beautiful clothes, appreciation of your surroundings, and of course time for yourself. That may seem simple, but of course, it isn't.

The more goals, ambitions, and wishes you have, the more often you will be disappointed. That is a universal law. The disadvantage of disappointment is that it will not make you feel good and can make your relationship with yourself deteriorate. You can even get angry with yourself because "nothing" seems to work out, while you were the one who set the bar so high.

Disappointment over a value that has been exceeded

Just like having too many goals, ambitions, and wishes, you can also make too many values very important. The bigger the list is of what you think someone or yourself should and shouldn't do, the bigger the chance of disappointment.

You impose on others and yourself, as it were, a set of rules that no one can obey. Neither can you. Having too many values is actually setting the bar too high to have a nice life. It is a form of perfectionism that does not give anyone, including yourself, a better and finer life. It is a life full of disappointment about others and yourself.

A good relationship with yourself through compassion, love and caring

Parents will usually have unconditional compassion, love, and care for their children. Thanks to this, they can forgive, motivate, and maintain a very close connection with their children.

If we lose compassion, love, and caring for ourselves, we can lose and sometimes even destroy the connection and relationship with ourselves. We can't even look at ourselves in the mirror, as it were. Worse still, we can start to consider ourselves as an outsider. As if we are no longer ourselves and your behavior, and you are no longer congruent. You no longer form a unity.

It could be that you find yourself too fat, too unhealthy, and should exercise more or that you think you are a failure because you still don't have a million in your bank account. As a rule, parents will always look at their children with compassion, love, and caring and continue to see their child for who he is. Not for what goals they achieve or for what mistakes should not have been made.

Looking at yourself, in the same way, makes it easier to be less strict with yourself.

Don't set the bar too high within the relationship with yourself and others

The more you demand of yourself, the harder it becomes to live with yourself. So don't set the bar too high. Evaluate if all your values and norms are equally important, evaluate if you do not have too many goals, ambitions, and wishes and be compassionate, loving, and caring for yourself. Nobody is perfect, and asking too much of yourself or others can lead to depression and even burnout.

_Tips... We are all born with a set of cards. Some of those cards are good cards and others less. Don't look at the individual cards, but at how you play the deck. You don't have to have the best hand to play a nice game, and you don't have to have the best hand to win the game. Remember that you are not the only one with both good and bad cards. The rest of the people in this world also have good and bad cards.

  • Learn, tolerate and accept
  • Forgive yourself and others
  • Enjoy what you do and what you've achieved
  • Enjoy people for who they are
  • Nobody's perfect, not even you

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