Notes to self… Please Read as Needed:

Before anyone can really “get you” you have to get yourself first. Using the phrase “they get me” seems to be the ultimate way to describe the connection between two people with no further explanation needed. I however, want specifics. Is it to be understood? Validated? Trusted? I would say these traits sound like good ones to have in a relationship with another person. But what about yourself?

Let’s rewind back a few years. I did not know what it meant for someone to “get me”. If someone asked me that question, I would have looked back with a blank stare. This lack of awareness was a classic interpretation of a “you don’t know what you don’t know” type of situation. I didn’t know the answers, because I had never been asked.

*Note* I didn’t come to this realization on my own. Going to therapy helped me to do that.

With that being said, I didn’t go to therapy with the goal of building a relationship with myself. I went to therapy, because I was unhappy in my romantic relationship. That was about all I knew going in (and I’m a therapist!). When I began therapy, I was a person who focused my attention outward and looked to others for approval. My relationship with myself being the problem was not the problem I had seen coming. While in therapy, I was asked questions about things I had never asked myself. My therapist listened to me and helped me to realize that I was the expert in knowing what I needed.

*Note* If I “get me” and I know what I need, then I can certainly work on figuring out how to give it to myself.

Long story short, I began learning how to take care of myself. I emphasize began, because a relationship with yourself is a classic interpretation of a “work in progress” type of situation. Each day I try to give myself what I like in the ways I like it. Some days I totally “get me” and sometimes I miss the mark a little. Taking responsibility for my self-care decreased my need for outside approval. Now my relationships with others are based on choice (freedom).

Important things to keep in mind:

  1. If asking yourself vulnerable questions feels difficult, that’s okay. It’s new and might feel weird.
  2. Learning to “get yourself” means taking time and being honest about what you like and what you don’t.
  3. Taking time doesn’t mean ending relationships. I’m suggesting incorporating more solo time into your routine and more self-talk that is (compassionately) centered around you.
  4. Change is hard, even the good kind.

*Disclaimer* Once you start taking more care of yourself based on your standards, it’s going to be harder to accept less from others. Your relationships with other self-care supporters will likely improve but with others might fall away …maybe for the best.