The most important relationship you have or will ever have is with yourself.
This is because a) your relationship with yourself is central to how you experience life,
b) it affects how you live your life, and
c) it’s the only relationship you have control over.
Your relationship with yourself is central to how you experience life. Broadly speaking, you can only experience feeling loved by another to the extent that you love yourself. If you feel largely unloveable, you can be surrounded by enormous amounts of love, but will be unable to trust it and feel it. Likewise, if you have trouble seeing and appreciating the positive in yourself, heartfelt compliments coming your way won’t be able to get through to you as you won’t be able to receive them. You may tell yourself that the person giving the compliment doesn’t know you well enough, that you don’t deserve it, or you might minimize it and take it for granted. Others might place their trust in you, but if you don’t trust yourself, you will continue to doubt and question yourself. If you tend to believe, even at an unconscious level, that you are bad and have been chosen to suffer or be punished, you may tend to expect the negative in your life and you may tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive. You may tend to feel self-pity and be angry at the unfairness of life. You may be good at judging and punishing yourself.
How you see yourself affects how you live your life. Not valuing yourself or feeling worthy can result in a host of serious effects, including not taking good care of yourself physically and emotionally. It can lead to not exercising, abusing your body, having poor boundaries, easily giving up on yourself, being reckless, not having goals, being apathetic, and so on. If you don’t feel that you are worthy of good treatment, you may end up having difficulty engaging fully with those who treat you well, and instead find yourself involved with people who don’t treat you well. Of course, this is often at an unconscious level. Asking for respect is less effective if you’re not treating yourself with respect.
Your relationship with yourself is the only one you really have control over. Ultimately, we do not have control over anyone else. Regardless of how wonderful anyone is or how much he or she loves you, another person is always going to have the capacity to let you down, by virtue of being human, and because of difficult to control circumstances. It is actually very helpful to be aware of this, in order to have realistic expectations. But if you have healthy self love, you are more likely to not take such disappointments personally, and can continue to feel loved without as much or perhaps without any upset. For example, if someone forgets your birthday, you might understand that it is because of their circumstances, rather than feeling unimportant to them and feeling hurt and angry. When you accept yourself the way you are, you lose the fear of being judged by others and the misperception that there is a lot of judgement happening. You take your power back. If someone judges you, it’s their business and their problem. When we can be so easily negatively influenced by others’ judgement, perceived or real, we are giving away our power. So having a good relationship with yourself will make you much more resilient, and less easily upset.
Because your relationship with yourself is so crucially important, it’s well worth nurturing.