12 Steps to Great Relationships: Step One, Know Yourself

Self knowledge can be difficult.  It’s tough to hold up the mirror to ourselves and see ourselves how we really are.  Even  more difficult is seeing ourselves how others see us.  That can go both ways.  You can either have a deflated sense of yourself or an inflated sense of yourself.  Either one can be detrimental.
In order to be good with others, you must first explore yourself.  There are many ways to do this.  The first thing I recommend it to build in some kind of reflection time each day.  Sit down in a quiet place and just reflect and be.  We are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS.  Find the time early in the morning or before you go to bed where you can just reflect.
There are more ways to know yourself.  You can meditate or be prayerful.  You can explore your values.  Sit quietly and note what you see, smell, hear, touch, and taste (if you are eating and drinking at the time).  You don’t have to set aside time to become more aware.  You can practice something called mindfulness.  That’s where you are fully present and in the moment all of the time, and there is no judgment.  Mindfulness is a powerful thing.  Research by Jon Kabat Zinn shows that mindfulness reduces stress significantly.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to practice mindfulness throughout your day, you can always do it at meals.  Fully experience your meals, look at your food, smell it, take small bites, chew your food thoroughly, and take your time.  Take at least 20 minutes to eat.  Did you know the average K-12 student takes less than eight minutes to eat lunch?
Take courses in self discovery, read books, take evaluations that measure personality or emotional intelligence.  But whatever you do, learn more about who you are and how you relate to others.  This is the foundation of great relationships.
I will be talking about one of the 12 steps each week for a while, but if you want to know more now, check out my book, Relationship Skills For Tough Guys:
And for Amazon Prime Members, the Kindle version is FREE!

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