Life is a constant crisscrossing of paths and people—a jumble of plans and interruptions, a mystery we attempt to figure out as we go. Along the way, we build many relationships. Whether good or otherwise, these relationships take up a great deal of time, energy, and emotion. Among all this interconnectivity, the relationship often neglected is the one we build with ourselves. It is remarkably easy to forget to build a relationship with yourself. Ironic that the person you spend the most time with, the mind you dwell in, the heart you live by, can be the one attended to the least.
Taking time to get to know yourself, to care for yourself as you would a loved one, can reap immeasurable benefits – inwardly, within your own consciousness, and outwardly, unto others and into the world. Here are some of the often overlooked benefits of taking some time with yourself:
1. You discover the power of your own thoughts.
Sit in silence with yourself and tend to your own feelings, your concerns, your yearnings. These are conversations we can and do have with close friends and family, but it’s helpful to have an internal conversation with yourself as well. Your opinion and your unique perspective may prove valuable sources of insight if you take the time to explore them.
2. In getting to know yourself, you learn your flaws, fortitudes, and convictions.
Where do you thrive? What are your weaknesses? Where are you likely to succumb to bad influence? To temptation? Where do your best intentions lie? What motivates you? What are your limits in anger, in love, in physical exertion, in booze, in standards, in extending yourself for others? These are questions you can’t ask others because the answers are yours to determine. Finding the answers to these questions and the like can help you to address areas in your life you’d like to improve, and to assert your strengths assuredly.
3. Building a trust with yourself is perhaps one of the greatest and most fulfilling gifts you can give yourself.
It’s an odd notion to entertain the idea of distrusting yourself, but we are fully capable of deceiving ourselves, of blurring warning signs until we feel some facade of comfort in stepping foot down paths we know better than to tread. Trust in oneself is not inherent; like any other trust it must be earned, maintained, mended when broken. Like any other trust, it is a privilege and not a right. I cannot stress enough the magnificence of trusting yourself in feeling and in outcome.
4. Getting to know yourself builds confidence.
The kind of confidence that stems from a place of trust and commitment is far more difficult for others to affect. You wear that confidence like a royal cloak; it fits perfectly because it was made by you and for you. There’s no better attire than wearing your personality with unbridled pride and self-respect. Clothes can create an image, but an image that emanates from within is far more impressive than one that is one layer deep, and far more difficult to damage. When you work to know yourself: your morals, your vices, your triggers, your passions, every unique element that makes you you. You become striking in your own skin. An adamant self-respect demands respect from others. Confidence exudes and it’s magnetic. People are drawn to it; and the beauty in this is that these people are drawn to the you you are at your core. That feeling is incredible.
5. Confidence also helps in avoiding people and circumstances that would be toxic in your life.
The intimidation factor of peer pressure shrinks the more unashamed you become in your identity, the more certainly you stand in your beliefs. Negative influence is more likely to creep in and entangle itself in your standards if you brandish those standards with hesitation and doubt. If they are an undeniable extension of what makes you who you are, they become far more steadfast and unwavering.
6. It opens you up to even more love in the world.
Time by yourself is transformed from a catalyst for loneliness to an opportunity for quality time with the person you’ve come to know and love. It changes the whole game. Building an appreciation for alone time not only increases the likelihood that you will use that time for quality self-reflection, thinking, and simply enjoying your own company, but it makes time spent with others more special as well. If you are content with being alone, you will not seek out the company of others to act as fillers and distractions, but rather because you genuinely enjoy being with them and find them to be a positive addition to your life. That selectiveness in the company you keep stems from building and appreciating a relationship with yourself. Taking care of you lays a foundation from which only good things can bloom. It’s an investment well worth it in every aspect of its aftermath.