Commentary: Self love key to healthy relationships

  • Published
  • By Vera Ensalaco
  • 445th Airlift Wing Director of Psychological Health

February brings Valentine’s Day, and along with that, thoughts of matters of the heart and relationships. However, research finds a healthy relationship with yourself can improve your mental well-being, enhance connections with others and correlate to increased productivity.

When your focus is on having a healthy relationship with yourself, you are aware of your strengths and positive qualities. Your self-esteem and self-worth are improved as you are aware of what you have accomplished, who you are and what you bring to those around you.

When attention is being channeled in this fashion, not only does your mental and emotional well-being benefit, so does your physical and social health.

Self-talk is important as that is the voice you hear most through each day. When this is positive, self-confidence is increased which can ease stressors and subsequent anxiety or depressive moods. When negative self-talk happens, this can increase the correlating negative emotions such as shame or anger.

As things happen throughout the day, ask yourself if you are handling things the way you would ideally like to be perceived. Are your reactions in line with your values? Negative thoughts are natural, and they have a place. They can remind of a situation that has occurred in the past that perhaps had a negative outcome or was dangerous.

However, it’s important to focus on the positive to remind us we have the strength and fortitude to persevere.

Spending some time alone, even at short intervals, can aide in giving space for self-awareness. During this time, focus on core beliefs and values – what you want or don’t want in your life and current challenges, as well as short- and long-term goals.

When we have a good relationship with ourselves and engage in self-care, it lays the foundation for having healthy relationships with others professionally and personally.

American author Dan Millman once said, “You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” We can’t control our first thought, though we can control how we react to it.

If you are struggling, consider talking with a professional in your area. If you don’t know where to look, contact me for resources at