If you’ve been following our series on Healthy Relationships, you’re aware of the significance they have on your life and how influential they are as you steer your pregnancy journey.
Following up from the last blog, we discussed the major components of healthy relationships but in order to create them, we are responsible for knowing and understanding ourselves. Increased self-awareness allows for us to be more conscious of how we show up in relationships.
What can we do to cultivate meaningful, satisfying relationships? By taking better care of ourselves we are able to show up from a more clear, centered space that then creates more inviting spaces with others. The following are some tips on knowing yourself on a deeper level to improve your connections (please note this is just a brief summary, seek professional help and support to dive more deep into these sections):
Safety: Before we can address any other of the items listed below or increase in self-awareness and self-esteem, we must feel safe in our bodies. We must have some grounding or coping techniques that allow us to self-regulate and bring us back home in our bodies. This can include breathing techniques, visualization and relaxation techniques, grounding (getting out in nature, walking barefoot and feeling your feet o the ground etc), stretching, dance, or any other type of movement that will help us calm down and bring our awareness back to the sensations and feelings that are going on in our bodies.
Self-care: involves that we attend to our physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, and social needs. We can receive support and help from others as we work towards our own self-care but it’s our responsibility to ensure these needs are met in the most healthy way. A lot of our health issues stem from us attempting to get these needs met in unhealthy ways or us being unaware of having these needs.
Spiritual: Spending quiet time talking and listening with God through scripture, meditation, prayer, etc.]
Emotional: Identifying how you feel and expressing it in healthy ways such as through creative efforts (dancing, singing, writing, drama) or calling a friend etc
With identifying how you feel, there are underlying emotional needs that we have and must be brought to our awareness to meet these needs. Just like when we are hungry and eat to take care of our physical bodies, when we are feeling off, we have underlying emotional needs to attend to.
Boundaries: In order to even identify who we are, what we like and don’t like, what we think and how we feel, we must know where we end and where others begin. We must be able to acknowledge our separation from others. Boundaries are invisible lines that help us feel safe, let us protect ourselves from any harm, have standards and limits, and acknowledge our fair share in exchanges.
When we feel safe, connected, and trust in a relationship, we are able to let our boundaries down more and open up and be more vulnerable. However, it’s important that we know ourselves to know how comfortable we feel with someone or in a setting so that way we can begin to set boundaries to empower ourselves to take care of ourselves.
We have physical, emotional, financial and spiritual boundaries. This includes not accepting any type of physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual abuse or any threats of harm. We are able to get a sense of when we need to set a boundary when we feel unsafe, afraid, and uncomfortable. In these instances, we may verbally express our boundary or we may choose not to if the situation or person isn’t safe. If this is the case, please remove yourself from the situation further.
Proper Communication: Using “I” statements instead of “you” and being aware that your experience is separate from others. It’s vital that you speak from your own experience, refuse to talk over, gossip, blame, react, or criticize others. Instead, we are called to slow down, to speak mindfully from our own thoughts and feelings and express ourselves from a vulnerable and open place instead of being defensive. Yet, it will be difficult to share ourselves from this space if the relationship isn’t safe in which case, boundaries must be set in place.