You may be familiar with the phrase, “You need to love yourself before you can love another.” This is an important phrase to consider when applying resilience in relationships. Resilience is all about being able to recover quickly and face challenges and adversity head-on without losing who you are along the way. Building relationships is also an important component of resilience. Knowing ourselves and being the best version of ourselves also means being able to be at our best for the people we care about.
Similarly, have you ever stopped to wonder why flight attendants always make sure to mention “Please secure your own oxygen mask before helping others” which is in contrast to being told to always help other people first? This is so important because until we are stable and secure with our own situation, we can't effectively help others! The same holds true in our personal lives. We want others around us to feel supported, confident, and loved, but it's difficult to do that if we are unable to appreciate and love ourselves! How do we show others we are forgiving and non-judgmental if we are unable to overcome these challenges within ourselves? Overall, if you run out of oxygen yourself, you won't be much help to others. Therefore, if you want to have the most long-lasting, tightly bonded, resilient relationships, this requires you first look inward.
Resilient selves = Resilient relationships! Why is this?
When we are working on becoming the best version of ourselves, we are more likely to make healthy choices for ourselves, which carries over into healthy relationships with others. But, the reality is, that we do not always “love” ourselves and everything we do, and sometimes we make choices that we wish we hadn’t. However, this does not make us less resilient, or less worthy of healthy relationships!
The relationship we have with ourselves is very similar to relationships with other people. They include ups and downs, sometimes need work, and are far from perfect. It is important to value resilience and act in ways that promote self-love in both areas (with yourself and with others). We also must value the importance of building positive relationships just as much as increasing our own well-being.
What do resilient relationships look like? There are many ways to take care of yourself and others around you. Let’s start with a few simple ways to build a resilient relationship with yourself and with others.
Boundaries can be tough but are also essential in maintaining positive mental health as well as benefiting your relationships. When we say “yes” to too much and we don’t actually want to do something or feel we are spread too thin, this can lead to resentment towards others. Learning to say no is an important skill to learn, in order to make sure you're not overextending yourself and can be the best version of yourself. Learn more about boundaries here.
Taking time for yourself
Spending time with yourself is just as important as spending time with the important individuals in your life. We need our own space in order to help relationships thrive. Still having a life outside of your relationship and enjoying things with other people is a sign of a healthy relationship!
Just as having a life outside of your relationship is important - how you spend your time with the important people in your life also matters. Try to engage in activities you both enjoy, and limit outside distractions (such as technology) to really connect when you have time to yourselves!
Gratitude allows us to experience positive emotions and get more joy out of the good things in life. Try to “count your blessings” each day, noticing the good things you do, and appreciating the things your partner does. Being grateful benefits both the giver and receiver, resulting in shared positive feelings, love, and bond.
Expressing and respecting needs
Seeing ourselves and seeing who other people are requires us to be honest, open, and curious. It allows us to pause judgment and explore ideas, values, and beliefs and grow as individuals. Seeing other people doesn't require us to drop our boundaries or give up our beliefs if we don't agree. It actually invites a stronger relationship involving trust, respect, and vulnerability as it honors the humanity of being an individual.
Overall, healthfully supporting yourself is a prerequisite to being the best you can be for others. Resilience in relationships asks you to remain strong and secure enough for yourself and those around you while having the ability to bounce back from challenges quickly. Knowing who we are (our values, boundaries, needs) lets us identify the qualities we appreciate in others and that we enjoy being around. In turn, building resilient relationships makes our connections stronger and provides us with supportive benefits from others, making challenges easier to cope with. This skillful approach to building relationships allows us to surround ourselves with healthy connections that fill us with joy and gratitude!
Resilient people tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems. At Heritage Counseling, our therapists use Cognitive and Behavioral techniques to help you maximize your lifestyle through promoting optimism and incorporating personalized positive behaviors and healthy coping mechanisms into your routine. Please give us a call at 214-363-2345 if you are interested in exploring options that may help you increase resilience overall and in your relationships.