Creating a positive relationship with yourself

Graphic by Kash Patel

In the university community, there is constant talk of mental health. It covers study habits, de-stressing methods and healthy eating. While all are important for fostering positive mental health, I feel that the importance of healthy relationships does not have a strong voice. Specifically, the most important relationship — the one with ourselves.

Whether it was a harsh parent, a fake friend or unbalanced romances, each of us has experienced a less than satisfactory relationship.

How do we respond? We call it a waste of time, throwing harsh names at the people who have wronged us while validating reasons why we were right. But what about reasons why we were wrong?

Coming to university can be freeing. For some, it’s the first time you’re away from home. At the same time, university is an amazing opportunity to be challenged in your learning and ideas. It can be an introduction to party life, fast-food at 2 a.m. and sleeping in until 3 p.m.

When I was introduced to party life, I would drink every weekend until I was hunched over the toilet even though I started the night promising myself I wouldn’t have more than a few drinks. I’d binge on junk food and feel so guilty the next day about the choices I’d made, then do it all over again.

The concept of a healthy relationship with yourself begins with understanding choices. If you want the extra hours of sleep, it’s okay to say no to going out. If you’re bothered by something, speak up and listen.

You can fix things that are wrong by understanding why they’re worth changing.

The relationship you have with yourself is vital. Like any good relationship, it needs communication above all. So take the time this week, once each day, to remind yourself to be still and just breathe.

It starts by recognizing your state of mind. Are you feeling calm as you read this, or maybe stressed? If you’re stressed, take action! Pause, take a deep breath and remind yourself to be still. If you’re calm, feel that moment and enjoy it!

These small actions in everyday life can remind you that you are in control — that how you respond to the demanding world is important. You can make things radically better or worse by helping yourself recognize your emotional state.

I like to start the day with yoga because it reminds me to breathe and check in on my personal state, but this small action can be taken at any time. As if you are a child you love, ask yourself, how am I feeling right now? Is there anything I need to do make things better?

I tried something that changed my life: I began to pay attention to my emotions and ask myself why I internally felt how I did when I noticed something was different. Then I’d try and figure out what in my surroundings was reacting with me to produce that emotion. It helped me see more clearly why I did the things I did. I’d journal things about the day that were on my mind, and reflect on them.

The relationship you have with yourself is vital. Like any good relationship, it needs communication above all. So take the time this week, once each day, to remind yourself to be still and just breathe.

You are your best friend and that lets you give yourself critical self-love to tell yourself what you honestly could change, and listen to that advice to make your life better.

When you become your own best friend, you’ve always got someone watching out for you. Thank your body for providing what it does, treat it well and listen to its voice, because that part of you deserves to be heard.

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