Your most important relationship is with yourself.
It can be easy to lose focus on yourself, especially when you're in a relationship giving your emotional energy to another. But according to Lysn psychologist, Nancy Sokarno, having a strong, loving relationship with yourself is the most important.
"It is paramount that we start from the inside – out," the expert reveals. "The relationship with ourselves helps us model the relationship we have with others. It aids us in knowing what we want to accept, expect and deserve."
Love yourself so you can feel loved
"Knowing your value and self-worth is important to be aware before having to figure it out in a relationship with someone else," the psychologist explains. "Security in who you are and what you offer can aid in building a healthy foundation in your relationship with someone else as it can help prevent jealousy and doubt. Building confidence in yourself helps you be assertive in what you want and need out of a relationship and to be able to stand up for what you believe in."
Nancy adds that having a low self-esteem before entering a relationship can have long-term damaging effects."The “not good enough” narrative may come in to play where you doubt your worth in the relationship. This can bring up conflict in regards to trust, honesty and connectedness with your partner.
"Some events in the relationship may exacerbate or validate the insecure feelings you are having about yourself and may cause anxiousness and discourse in the relationship. It can worsen your self-esteem and you may start to compare yourself with others and their relationships."
Invest in what you enjoy
While Nancy explains that as human beings, we naturally rely on connections and validation from others, it's important to strengthen the bond with ourselves by doing things we enjoy, alone. "This allows us time to reflect and work on insight and self-awareness," she says.
"We all need the time to mentally rejuvenate in our own safe space. Do the things that make us comfortable and happy without the pressures of engaging with others. It also builds on independence and helps us rely on doings things for ourselves in our own way."
Be open with your needs
If you're already in a relationship and feel unsure on how to approach the subject, Nancy explains that the relationship should not take away from your individual relationship. "Your partner should compliment and not complete you, and as such, should encourage you to nurture the relationship with yourself and vice versa.
"Open communication about your personal needs can help build trust and security, it allows for healthy boundaries in your relationship. It shouldn't feel like it causes a divide in the connection you share. Encourage a self care day or activities that you each find fulfilling on a individual level."