A Relationship with Oneself

Sept. 12th, 2016

The word “relationship” has come to mean romantic connections in our culture, generally speaking. We do, however, have many other types of relationships. Family, friends, colleagues, classmates, all different, all varied in their management.

There is one relationship type that I fear we forget, and, if we do remember, neglect. That is the relationship with yourself. Olivia Penpraze said “Remember yourself as a little girl, she is counting on you to protect her.” How many of us give thought or effort to this protection and care?

Many people have “best friends”, people they confide in, rely on for advice, and in whom they have implicit trust. We treat our best friends very well and with a great deal of kindness. We encourage them, help them see their strengths and not dwell on their weaknesses. What contrast might we find if we compare our compassion toward that beloved person and toward ourselves?

An important element in any kind of relationship is trust. Anyone with ADHD can tell you it's very difficult to trust yourself when you are constantly doing things you know aren't helpful or even things you are unable to explain. So how can there be trust in that relationship?

Rewards are another stumbling block. If we promise ourselves a reward for some task and don't deliver it right away, or worse don't deliver it at all, the promise of reward ceases to be at all effective because there is no trust.

It takes time, but it is possible to regain this trust in ourselves. I believe the shape of what will garner this trust will look different for every person. The basic idea to regain trust is to promise something and then, no matter what happens, deliver it. At first, of course, the distrust will remain. Over time, however, the brain can learn that change is, in fact, occurring. What we promise does come to pass.

I wrote a blog post about motivating myself with a movie. The update on that experiment is that I entirely failed to reward myself with the movie. I lost faith in myself through that. This would not have happened if I had watched the movie. It seems a small price to pay.

Nothing is perfect, obviously, and of course sometimes life will prevent us from following through on things. The idea is to be as consistent as possible, and not give into the inner-nay-sayer and decide, after the fact, that we don't actually deserve that reward after all.

How is your relationship with yourself?