Are You Ready to Learn Practical Tools to Build Healthier Relationships?
I’ll bet the answer to that question is, “Yes!” Over the last month we covered Principle 1 in this series: To have healthy relationships you need to develop a strong sense of yourself; a sense of who you are as a person – who is the real me? Today I’ll be sharing some practical tools to help you establish a healthier sense of self, as well as a positive, loving relationship with God, yourself and others.
If you missed any of these blog posts, or want to refresh your memory, here’s what we’ve covered so far:
It means having a clear idea of who you are as a person, treating yourself with compassion, respect and boundaries. When you have a strong relationships with yourself you learn how to be a good friend to yourself…to be for you, not against you.
Week 2 – Who Told You Who You Are?
I shared how the feedback (or mirrors) others gave you about what you thought, felt and did, especially when you were young, told you who you are.
There are many types of mirrors that give us feedback about who you are. These mirrors give you input on your character, intentions and motivations. It really matters how accurate these mirrors were.
Week 4 – Healthy Self vs Distorted Self?
I shared the ways a healthy or distorted sense of self develops, as well as compassionate words to say to yourself about all that you are learning.
This brings us to today – Practical Tools to Help You Build Healthier Relationships with God, Yourself and Others. As I shared previously, we tend to see ourselves as we were mirrored in our old relationships. To change this, we need to transform the faulty view of ourselves by relating to God, ourselves and others in healthier ways.
So Here We Go…
Tools to establish a healthier sense of self and deeper connection with yourself ~ the goal is to see and treat yourself like God does. More will be shared in future blog posts
- Be open to the idea that you have an inside self that needs to be seen.
- Let yourself feel the feelings that come up around realizing what “mirrors” of yourself you were given, and how those have affected your image of who you are.
- Write a letter (not to send) to the people who gave you an inaccurate reflection of yourself. “I’m realizing that you gave me the message that I ____________________. I’m realizing that this is not true, and I’m taking steps to scrub away this distorted image of myself, and instead begin to see myself as God sees me, and as I really am.”
- Talk to yourself with as much compassion as you can muster. “I realize that I believed things about me that weren’t true. I don’t want to see myself in a distorted way anymore. I am beginning the process of wiping away the lies of who I was told I was, and getting to know myself as I really am. I realize that I’m not ____________________ (pick one false attribute you have believed about yourself because someone told you that). I don’t want to reject myself like this any more.”
- Expect lots of grief as you enter into this process. Make sure you have a safe friend, counselor or group you can process your feelings with.
- Start forming the habit of asking yourself what you need, rather than running to a substance, activity, or another person to meet your need.
- Begin the process of learning to soothe yourself when upset (see chapters 8 and 9 in Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Innner Critic into a Compassionate Friend for ideas and exercises).
Tools to form a deeper connection with God. More will be shared in future blog posts. Ask God to help you learn to:
- See me as you see me.
- Develop into who I am on the inside.
- Value the qualities you created in me.
- See my weaknesses with the compassion and understanding that you have for me.
- Give me the courage to see myself differently than I think I am right now.
- See the love that you have for me, and how you accept me
- Read the Bible to see how God really sees you:
Isaiah 43:1b-4 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, Your savior; Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, and I have loved you.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Tools to form deeper connections with others. More will be shared in future blog posts
- Realize that the less experience you have with love and acceptance, the harder it will be to share your real self with others, and then be able to accept their love.This is normal.
- Go slow
- Think of someone who is safe to risk with by sharing a little more of yourself with
- Share with a safe friend something you believe about yourself (because it was mirrored to you). Ask them how they see you (i.e., mom always told me I was stupid, and I believe this deep inside — how do you see me?).
- Don’t put yourself out there with people who give you “shoulds” and criticism.
- Ask a friend what he/she sees as your positive qualities,
- Find a friend/ group/counselor who would be willing to listen as you talk through thoughts and feelings you have on the inside.
My encouragement to you is that you can grow and change in your relationships with God, yourself and others. This is true no matter what kind of unhealthy relationships have impacted you in the past. Pick one thing in each list above to work on, and you will start to experience positive changes.
Next week I will begin a series of blog posts dealing with Principle 2 of Pursuing Healthy Relationships with God, Ourselves and Others. I’ll be covering how important it is to have emotional connection in our relationships with God, ourselves and others.
I’d love to get your input on this blog post. What new ways of relating to God, yourself and others stood out? What are you already doing, and what would you like to try? Please leave a comment below and/or share this post on social media or e-mail so others can benefit.