Julie K Barthels, MEd, MSSW, LCSW, ACS
Every month, this page will address a topic
Building Healthy Relationships
Everyone talks about healthy relationships as though they are complicated and difficult to achieve. The reality is that healthy relationships only require two things… Two healthy people! I know! I know! Being healthy is sometimes complicated and difficult to achieve.
The core of a healthy person is acceptance, for themselves and others. How do I achieve that you ask? One way is to extend to yourself the same kindness you would like others to extend to you or that you may extend to people in your life. Sometimes people have trouble with self-acceptance because they have experienced abuse or trauma in their life and believe they are not worthy. The answer to that is more spiritual than emotional in nature. It requires that people recognize that their sense of worth comes not from their experiences, their accomplishments, or their relationships with other people. The core of self-acceptance comes from the belief that we are worthy simply because we exist, because we are here. Once we truly open ourselves up to that belief, we can embrace all of who we are… the pretty and the not-so-pretty parts of us.
Does self-acceptance mean that we stop trying to improve ourselves? Of course not! The difference is that our efforts at self-improvement come from a place of kindness. A core sense of self-acceptance means that we encourage change in ourselves rather than trying to bully ourselves into changing. When you think back to being in school (farther back for some of us than others…), was it the nurturing teacher that motivated you to learn or the grumpy teacher that constantly talked under her breath about retirement not coming soon enough? It’s the same with us. Self-nurturing enables us to grow and change as a person with a deep sense of self-acceptance.
Why does self-acceptance matter so much? Stay tuned for more on that next time!