They say that the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. And they’re right. Your relationship with yourself is vital to every other relationship in your life. It is said that you can never truly love another if you cannot love yourself. How can anyone expect to be in an honest and healthy relationship if they are not happy with themself?
Having been single for far longer than I’d like to admit, I have definitely cultivated the relationship I have with myself. I have explored new interests and gotten to know who I am as an individual. And I am here to tell you, I like me!
Correction: I love me!
As much as I love my friends and family, I am happy with just being by myself sometimes. There is something comforting about enjoying a quiet day alone, strolling down a sidewalk with nothing but an iPod and thoughts to keep me company or cuddling up on the couch with a trashy magazine and a glass of wine or soaking in a tub of fragrant bubbles after a hard workout. Being alone for just five minutes allows a person to collect their thoughts and revive their energy so they can tackle all that life has to offer.
As spouses and parents, friends and employees, a lot of the time we are so consumed with tending to the needs of others that we forget about our own needs. We’ve got to get reports completed, meals made, presents bought, bills paid. Life can be so overwhelming with tending to this and that. Time and time again, we lose sight of putting ourselves first and in doing so, other relationships suffer.
You’ve seen it on the Biggest Loser season after season after season. Mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers come on the show unhappy with themselves and mortified that they’ve gotten to the weights that they get because they forget to take care of themselves. They all have their stories: parents starting to see their children mimic their bad habits, singles with insecurities that make romantic relationships nearly impossible, and spouses who blame each other for where they’ve gotten. There are breakdowns and a-ha moments when the contestants finally realize that they are important enough to fight for. But at the end of every season, each contestant (and audience member) learns that taking a little time for oneself to work out and plan meals is vital to long-term success.
But it’s not just about physical health. We need moments to collect ourselves so that our mental health doesn’t suffer either. How many times have we blown up on someone because we didn’t take a few minutes to step away from the situation to count to ten and get our bearings?
Yes, it may seem selfish and it is, but that does not mean we are wrong. There are times in life where we must be selfish, when we must put our needs above the needs of others in order to be the best workers, mothers, husbands, and pals that we can be. If we take care of ourselves first, we are better equipped to help those around us and who can fault us for that.
In the event of an emergency, even safety brochures tell you to put your own mask on first and then help others.
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or excited or just need a chance to decompress, take a “me time” moment and do something just for you. Treat yourself to a full-body massage. Buy that gadget you’ve been obsessing about for months. Take the trip to the country you’ve always wanted to explore. Go ahead, be a little selfish.
You’ll thank yourself for it later.