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How to Love Yourself and Improve Relationships

How to Love Yourself and Improve Relationships

Does loving yourself improve relationships?

It should come as no surprise that there is a strong link between self-esteem and the health of our relationships. If you have a low sense of self-worth, that affects a lot of your behaviors, which in turn affect your connections with others.

Specifically, having little love for ourselves tends to make us more negative in general. Think about how you react when someone around you is negative about almost everything. In contrast, you probably prefer to be around people who are comfortable in their own skin.

Below are a few steps you can take to start implementing self-love in your life, whether you have low self-esteem or even too much of it. If you want to improve relationships with those closest to you, then I highly suggest you start here.

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7. Affirm yourself.

A common symptom of low self-worth is constantly seeking affirmation and validation. You don’t believe that the things you do are good enough, so you obsess over seeking compliments from others. What you may not realize is that this really bothers people and can damage your relationships with friends, coworkers or a significant other.

Even if you are doing so with the best of intentions, people will typically view your behavior as “fishing for compliments” in order to suit your ego. That said, you need to take a look at everything you’ve accomplished and give yourself some credit. Otherwise, you can become susceptible (down the road) to social anxieties and even phobias that will make it nearly impossible for you to be assertive.

I know for me, I fear letting pride inhibit my ability to relate and connect genuinely with others. But it’s also important for us to recognize the good we’ve done and let it sink in. Once you start doing this regularly, you’ll find yourself being less reliant on the validation of others.

6. Serve others.

It may seem counterintuitive, but pouring yourself into other people is a form of sharing your love with them. Numerous studies have shown that acts of service and charity benefit the giver more than the receiver, at least in the sense of positive and emotional gains.

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Developing a personality built on service translates to all of our relationships as a result. Being a dependable and giving friend fosters a relationship that is built on goodwill and loyalty. Even gestures in a romantic relationship fit into this paradigm, as they cultivate emotional benefits contributing to a larger motive (such as commitment).

5. Keep your eyes up.

One of the best ways to improve relationships (and communication) is to practice good posture and eye contact. When you slouch and look down, you are subconsciously communicating to yourself (and others) that you are being submissive to them. This is how someone is able to determine instantly whether or not they can a walk all over someone else. The result is that you aren’t respecting yourself, and you’re letting others disrespect you.

Displaying poise and self-discipline will lead to self-respect and confidence. If you start to make a habit out of this attitude, then you will start to build relationships with others that are on equal terms.

4. Exercise and eat healthy.

Love yourself by showing love to your body. Being fit physically makes us fit emotionally, improving our moods alongside our health. Going to the gym and eating right gives us energy and relieves stress. As a result, we feel good about ourselves, and these positive feelings carry over to the people who are around us.

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3. Practice good hygiene.

In case you aren’t doing so already, start taking good care of your hygienic needs. Take showers every day, wash your clothes, iron them, wear deodorant and do all of the things your parents told you to do that you stopped doing when you moved out.

Seriously though, taking care of yourself is a form of natural survival and health, and it makes us more desirable to be around. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re practicing good hygiene, ask someone who will give you an honest and objective opinion. Like your parents!

2. Create something.

Whether you’re a painter, writer, movie director, trapeze artist, construction worker or professional singer, creating something that is wholly yours is self-love. You don’t have to literally create something out of thin air; it’s as easy as doing something you love to do better than everyone else. That sense of accomplishment and pride in your work plays a huge part in personal growth and maturity.

Producing things, whether they be for work or art, shapes into a person who has something valuable to offer to others. As you can imagine, this makes you a person that attracts people.

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It’s difficult to admit, but our relationships with others are conditional to a point. We favor those who enrich our lives. You can be that person if you start putting in the effort necessary to create something no one else has.

1. Be self-aware.

Start looking at yourself as a whole and identify your strengths, as well as your weaknesses. If you happen to have a lot of confidence, you may be inclined to gloss over the things you say and do that alienate others. But if you start to learn more about yourself, such as how you come off to others and what you instinctively say in certain situations, you’ll start to gain a self-awareness that will further your appreciation for yourself, as well as the people around you.

Recognize the things about you that are different and unique. Accept them and consider them a benefit because you are “you” due to these quirks. If you’re a little weird, don’t feel bad about it. Embrace the weirdness.

Self-awareness leads to other strong concepts that facilitate having a “whole” being, such as integrity. Being honest and consistent shows that you love yourself enough to be real with others, and this is easily the best way to avoid needless conflicts that would otherwise inhibit a strong relationship with someone close to you.

To sum up, loving yourself is about accepting who you are and what you can strive to be. You don’t have to be complacent about becoming a better person, but you also don’t have to set unrealistic goals for yourself that will never get done. Once you’re at a place where you love yourself, only then are you ready to start giving everyone else more reasons than ever to love you too.

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Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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