Relationship with Self
If our goal is to improve relationships with others, we begin with the relationship we have with ourselves. This is a very difficult process. We often overlook this crucial relationship without realizing that it is the foundation upon which all other relationships are built. To improve the relationship with self, we honour our true self each day by aligning our actions with our values. Discovering our core values is the first step in this process.
Think of someone you would miss if they were no longer in your life. What would you miss about them? Make a list. These qualities indicate your core values. What do you need from others to be your best self? List them. These qualities also indicate your core values.
Now that we know what is most important to our self, we work to ensure our actions reflect this priority. When our actions and values are not aligned, the relationship we have with our self is not whole. We can learn to analyze the intentions behind our actions in order to deliberately honour our core value. To do this, we reflect on our interactions daily- digging deep to uncover our motivations. At times this comes easily, requiring us to stop and quickly reflect upon an interaction. If we discover that we did not uphold our values through our actions, we commit to taking different actions in future situations. Only then will we be truly honouring ourselves.
The process of reflecting can be challenging. As humans, conflict with our self and others is expected. Struggling to find the best path is a part of life for everyone. Emotions may cloud our understanding of an interaction such that we find it difficult to discern why we acted in a certain way. This is when an internal dialogue can be helpful.
Think of an argument you have had with a family member or co-worker which did not come to a true resolution. It may have ended with you both agreeing to disagree, or it may have ended in discontent.
Ask yourself the following restorative justice questions regarding this interaction:
What were/are you thinking?
What were/are you feeling?
What’s been the hardest thing for you?
Who has been impacted? How?
What do you need [to do] in order to go on?
Taking the time to answer these questions after disagreements will allow you to see a clear picture of how you and others were affected, and what the real issues are. After conferencing with yourself you will be able to determine a way forward toward repairing relationships. In difficult situations, you may discover the real issue for you was something deeper than what you were actually discussing. This root cause could be something you were not aware of. Having discovered the true cause will give you the opportunity to have a healing discussion and repair damaged relationships. At the core of each person is the understanding that all human beings are worthy, we all desire connection with others. We can obtain positive connections by actively engaging in healthy relationships.
Self-reflection is the genesis of establishing alignment between our actions and values. With this alignment we will allow our true self to emerge. We will move forward if we are always critically reflective of our actions in order to improve the relationships we have with others.
The ideas expressed here are simply beginning ideas for understanding the different relationships we have with our self and others. Relationships are very complex and many of the intricacies that make up our relationships require deep personal reflection to be understood. This can be accomplished through work with restorative justice.