Relationship to Self

By Natasha Sherman

In the spectrum of conversations we have about finding and sustaining great relationships, romantic and otherwise, we often hear, “You have to love yourself first”. It’s like the statement, “Just say no to drugs”. Really? It’s that easy? Mostly, we don’t know how to even begin.

Much of it is just shifting focus. If you give a presentation and 100 people tell you it was superb, and then two people tell you your performance was embarrassingly bad and a waste of time, which comments win out? Usually the two who said you were awful. We have much more faith in the negative and find it much more difficult to validate the positive. Train yourself to shift your focus. Connect different dots and a new picture will emerge.

This is also where it becomes obvious that feeling good about you can never permanently come from other people. It is indeed strongest and most sustainable from within. Loving yourself doesn’t mean that you never have self-doubt. Self-doubt is a good thing if what it does is trigger self-reflection, not self-bashing.

Loving yourself means that you can trip and fall or fail, say and do things you regret, mess things up, etc., but you are willing to embrace all of it as part of your humanity. It is acceptance of all the complex pieces of you, the ones you like and the ones you don’t. Then you can freely choose which things you want to change, grow, and transform – not from the context of fixing yourself, but from the context of growing yourself. We are meant to grow.

There are simple useful things you can do on a daily basis. Create a daily “win” diary. Moment by moment, make note of all the moments that feel good – a conversation that went well, a sense of pride in how you did something, a moment where you were afraid but spoke up anyway, laughter shared, noticing nature, noticing and appreciating how your body miraculously carries on without you giving it instructions, noticing a moment where you stopped the inner critic, and so on. It is most powerful if you actually record these moments as you notice them. You can make a short note in your phone, send yourself an email, etc. If that’s impractical, then do a written list at the end of the day. You want a permanent record. It is the evidence that can be referred to that will empower you going forward.

Usually what we use to judge the day is how we feel at the end of it. We blanket the entire day with how we feel at that moment. We forget that we had all those winning moments. Most people say they are grateful for many things, but if you ask them at what points that day they had actually experienced being grateful, they find it difficult. Gratitude becomes a concept, not an experience.  Your attention and your diary will shift that.

Even in the midst of painful lives, if you look, there were moments of laughter, a hug, a prize won, a friend, the person who smiled at you, and the person who trusted you with a secret. What will often immediately surface is, “Yes but there was something else that spoiled the moment”. For this exercise, ignore the “yes but”. Focus only on the moments of delight. Connect those and you will begin to create an outline for loving yourself.

NatashaShermanNatasha Sherman is a Life Success Coach and Separation/Life Transitions Coach who works with individuals and conducts group workshops. She hosts her own TV show, “Natasha”, on Princeton Community Television. Archived shows can be viewed at, and also stream at Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 pmET.,
“Live by Design/Not by Default™”   

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