As human beings, it is only natural for us to want to couple up. We are wired for connection. We crave closeness, we seek to be seen and loved, and in return we want to love others. All of this is a part of the human experience, and it makes sense both biologically, economically and culturally. It is how we were raised, it is what we learn we are ‘supposed’ to do, and it is what we see those around us doing. Our culture places an emphasis on being with someone, on finding our ‘perfect match’ and coupling up and creating a life with someone else. All of these things are absolutely beautiful, special, and impactful. However, what about the most important relationship in our lives? What would it look like to focus on cultivating the one that will be with us forever- the one that we have with ourselves?
Being alone can be scary. It is normal to fear being alone and feel worried about not finding someone to match up with, spend time with, and live life with. It is a normal fear and not one to be simply brushed aside or invalidated. But this time of being single can be a beautiful opportunity to connect and cultivate the relationship we have with ourselves. After all, this is the most long-term and permanent relationship we will be in, so how can it be the one that fills us up most?
- Time for Yourself- You as a Priority
Since we love connection, it can feel scary to step back, say no to certain plans or people and intentionally spend time alone. It feels great to connect and spend time with others, but it can feel equally as great to take that time alone to reconnect with ourselves. Taking care of ourselves, going for a walk, cleaning our space, or crossing some things off of our to-do list can feel good. Taking the time to do these things signals to ourselves that we are a priority, and that taking time so slow down and intentionally pay attention to our needs is important. When we are more in touch with our needs, we feel more connected to who we are, and this is an essential building block in the foundation of nurturing our relationships with ourselves.
- Talk to Yourself Like a Friend
The language we use with ourselves is important. We talk to ourselves constantly, but since its often in our head, it can be easy to become unaware of how harsh or critical we may be. When you catch yourself being hard on yourself, think about how you would talk to a friend going through a similar situation. Would you beat them down and tell them not to worry or be upset? Probably not. Try using more kind, compassionate and gentle language with yourself whenever possible.
- Gratitude for Your Body
Loving ourselves is connected to loving our body. It can be too easy to pick out all the things we don’t like about our physical selves. Take some time to love the outside of your body. What parts of your body do you like? When you look in the mirror- what parts of you can you appreciate and be thankful for.
- Connect With What Brings You Joy
One way to cultivate the relationship we have with ourselves is to think about what brings us the most joy. This can include places, activities, people, songs, books, etc. Take some time to reflect on times that you remember fondly, and think about what you may have been doing, who you may have been with, and what about those times felt joyous. How can you identify what feels good for you and do more of the things that bring you joy.