We nurture relationships with people who are important to us. We make time for them, do thoughtful things for them, think about what pleases them and help them when they're feeling down.
But what about nurturing your relationship with yourself?
When was the last time you complemented yourself? Did something to foster spiritual or intellectual growth? Corrected the negative voices in your head? Said 'no' to an activity or person that drains you?
Here are ten ways to right any imbalances in your self-perception.
1. Learn to Forgive Yourself
One of the first steps we need to take to forgive ourselves is realizing the past is the past. You're not the same person you used to be. You're not the person you were during your childhood.
Stop beating yourself up for things that happened years ago.
We all make mistakes. It's part of the human experience. Learn to let go of guilt and shame. Apologize to people you feel you've wronged and take responsibility for your words and actions now.
2. Do One Thing You Love Everyday
We focus more on family and work over and above our own needs. Most of the problems we feel we have to take care of, will still be there tomorrow (just like the dishes!).
Doing something that we love everyday keeps life full of joy, recharges our emotional batteries and reminds us that sometimes living can be satisfying, fun and fulfilling.
So, spend an hour in your garden. Take your niece to the movies. Go on a real date with your partner. Research medieval history. Go listen to that band.
You only live once. Make sure you get off the duty mill at least once each day.
3. Schedule Time For Regular Intellectual and Personal Growth
One of the kindest things you can do for yourself is scheduling time for intellectual and personal growth.
Find a favorite podcast and schedule the time to listen to every episode. Find a book that deals with something you want to know more about, and read it.
Listen to motivational personal-growth talks.
4. Switch Off Once A Week
Dedicate a time each week to be completely shut off all electronics devices and just be with yourself.
Take your dog for a walk, meditate, take a bubble bath, etc. Use this time to rejuvenate and recharge yourself.
You can block off smaller chunks of time or take several hours, whatever works best for your schedule and lifestyle.
5. Stay Grounded
Many people spend their lives disconnected from life. Activates that engage your physical senses help you stay in the moment and aware of all life has to offer around you.
Exercise, yoga, gardening, or baking bread are great grounding activities.
Visiting or Face timing with family - actually seeing them and hearing their voices in real time - can be wonderful grounding activities.
Discover what works for you and practice it regularly.
We rush around like squirrels stocking up for winter without paying attention to what's going on around us.
Physically get out of your chair and take some time to think about all the things you most appreciate. Go outside and smell the flowers.
Drive down to the lake and watch the sun sparkling on the water. Or go to a coffee shop, order your favorite beverage and enjoy all the people around you.
7. Schedule Regular Self-Checks
Check in with your intuition. Lear to recognize that nagging unease when your gut is trying to warn you about someone or something.
Check in with your feelings. Does the thought of a specific person or situation instantly dampen your day? Does the thought of a specific task make you feel irritable and confused?
These are all signs you need to be aware of, so get into the habit of listening to your thoughts and noticing your feelings.
And listen to your body too!
8. Don't Assume
Assuming we're right and never questioning the way we do something or think about someone guarantees a mundane life.
When you can see yourself objectively, it can be both liberating and loving. It helps you recognize your strengths as well as your weaknesses.
It enables you to accept yourself and frees you to change things and move forward.
9. Accept Complements
Is it easy for you to compliment others, but you squirm when someone praises you? If so, train yourself to say "thank you" instead of making self-deprecating comment.
Learn to appreciate your true worth by keeping a journal filled with things like thank-you notes from people whose lives you've made brighter.
Read it and enjoy it whenever you are having a bad day, or just dealt with a particularly challenging co-worker or chronically-toxic family member.
Read it whenever negative self talk or doubt get in your way. The complements are genuine. Let yourself enjoy them!
10. Fill Your Own Bucket First
Don't wait for others to validate you. You'll most likely wait forever! Recognize that you are perfectly capable of validating yourself.
When you need it, allow yourself to ask for and accept help from others.
Find a coach or therapist if you need one. Hire someone to clean your house or order your groceries online.
Remember the fun stuff too: Take yourself out to a movie. Read a Chick Lit Romance, or a cozy mystery, or a taut thriller - whatever your taste in pure fiction. Buy yourself little rewards or treats every once in a while, and tell yourself, "job well done!"