1 Resolution YOU SHOULD Make (& Keep): Love Thy Self!
"What's your motivation? How you gon' add to me? Yeah, uh? How you gon' add to me?"
I feel you, Ledisi. That's my question in the new year. How you gon' add to me? Although Ledisi was singing about a romantic relationship, I believe this is an appropriate question to ask about any relationship. The Oxford Dictionary defines a relationship as "the state of being connected by blood or marriage", and as "the way in which two people or groups regard or behave towards one another." The four most common types of relationships are familial, romantic, acquaintance, and friendship. Each of these takes time to cultivate and maintain.
Most of us have really great relationships. We have amazing friends, wonderful colleagues, and great family members whose relationships are very important to us. There are people in our lives who pour into us and to whom we pour right back into. Just as there are quality relationships in our lives, there are some relationships that seem to really suck the life out of us. We know we should let the relationship go, but for one reason or another we hold on to it for dear life.
At one of my author talks last year I shared with the audience how much richer my life had become once I stopped entertaining relationships that did not add to my quality of life. I explained that choosing to eliminate relationships with people who distract you from your goals, make more emotional withdrawals than deposits, and who overall add no value to your life is a form of self-love and self-care.
When we think about self-love and self-care we often associate it with moments or activities, which is also part of the process. As a matter of fact, I encourage everyone to engage in activities like soothing baths and hot showers, nature walks, naps, and self-hugs. However, your self-love and self-care has to extend to all aspects of your life, especially your relationships.
I want you to take a moment and think about the relationships in your life. First, think about those relationships that bring you joy. I can see you smiling as you think about the love of your life, your best friend, and your best work buddy. Now, think about those relationships that bring you discomfort. I can see you rolling your eyes and frowning as you think about your unfaithful spouse and family member who spends most of your phone conversation insulting you about your weight.
I challenge you in the new year to take inventory of all your relationships. Ask yourself some questions about the individuals in your life.
1. Are my interactions with this person pleasant most of the time?
2. Do I enjoy this person's company?
3. Do I laugh a lot when I communicate with this person?
4. When I leave this person's presence do I feel like I've gained insight or something from our time together?
5. Does this person call me regularly with a positive spirit and attitude?
6. Do we share the conversation when we talk? Do I feel like I have time to share what's going on in my life?
7. Do I feel exhausted after talking with this person?
8. When this person calls do I more often than not ignore their calls?
9. If I didn't have to communicate with this person because of work or familial ties, would we be friends?
10. Is this someone you wouldn't mind being stranded on a desert island with?
I want you to know that it's okay for you to set boundaries with people in your life who received less than desirable responses to those questions. It's okay for you to limit the time you spend with them and the time you communicate with them. It's more than okay for you to say NO to their requests to spend time with you. YOU are the most important person in your life. Without a great relationship with yourself that includes love and care, you cannot be present for others. When I decided to put myself first it changed my life! I am a better friend to those who deserve me. I am a better professional for my clients. I am a better person for society.
Now, I know people say don't make new year's resolutions, but I submit to you today that there is one resolution you should make for yourself. If you fall off the wagon with this resolution, it's okay because you can start over as many times as you need until you get it right. CHOOSE You! Make YOU a priority. Set boundaries. Eliminate people, things, and places that don't add to you or feed your soul. Love you more than you care about what others think about you. Teach others how to treat you by setting boundaries. YOU deserve it!