Taking care of yourself benefits all of your relationships. (2023)

A few years ago, Brandon Roman's after-work routine looked very different. On the way home, he stopped at a liquor store and then isolated himself from his wife and young children to drink and play video games until he passed out.

"Honestly, I don't remember my daughter's first two years because I was so drunk and isolated most of the time," says Roman, a 27-year-old former US Army infantryman and father of four. and current peer coach forimagine it TOGETHERin Colorado Springs, Colorado. "I used to wake up every morning with an anxious feeling in my chest. I would wonder if I did something illegal or ruined a friendship. I do not have it anymore; I wake up happier."

Roman's main relationship is also drastically different now. He and his first wife were divorced; He met his fiancée while recovering. Now he helps his eldest daughter with her homework in the evenings, the couple cooks dinner together and helps the children bathe. It also changed her relationship with her children.

"We used to have weekends full of selfish activities when I was drinking," says Roman. “Now I spend the morning with my son; sometimes I cook breakfast or do housework. All our activities are for the kids: gymnastics, swimming, jumping parks, whatever.”

Roman's sobriety and his work helping others has had a positive impact on his self-esteem and confidence in being a good father.InvestigateFindings going back decades suggest that parents with high self-esteem report much better communication with their children. and severalstudies pointed outWhen parents have a close, positive relationship with their children, it means children have much greater self-esteem when they are teenagers.

Some research has also found a more direct link between self-improvement and men's ability to be good fathers. on oneStudy 2010published in the magazinepublic health,Young parents have realized that self-improvement, particularly improving their education, getting a job and being a positive role model for their children, is an important part of being a good parent.

For example, whether it's regular exercise, seeking anxiety therapy, going back to school, or stopping drinking, self-improvement projects can be daunting, even when people don't have children. But recognizing areas of your life that can be improved and working to improve them is an important part of being a parent, she says.Debra pillow, Ph.D., author ofOvercome Parenting Anxiety: Rewire your brain to worry less and enjoy parenting moreand a psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety.

“Relationships are heavily influenced by mental health and well-being. So when you work on yourself, you are more available and more in tune with others, which is incredibly important as a parent.”

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How Self Improvement Makes Better Parents

Quitting drinking or using drugs is an important change to make. But of course, even the smallest changes can have a positive impact on how you feel about yourself and how you treat and interact with other people.

Marketing Author and Father.Miguel MorrisHe credits his meditation practice, suggested by his wife, with changing his life for the better. She does this every morning and says it gives her energy, helps her prioritize for the day and gives her more confidence in her decisions.

James Beard Award winning chef and fatherNate ApplemanHe started running after his son was born 15 years ago because he wanted to be a healthy, active father. Running and healthier eating habits helped him lose 80 pounds.

"I didn't want to be this lazy dad, too lazy to go to the park and play," says Appleman, who now runs regularly with his son Oliver.

Appleman doesn't think he would have had the strong relationship with Oliver that he has now if he hadn't started taking care of himself.

"I wanted to be a great chef, but I was frustrated all the time and there was no way out," says Appleman. “When I discovered running, that time alone allowed me to process and reflect on what was missing in my life. It was a total transformation of my mind and body, learning to eat, communicate and act as a member of society."

A self-improvement journey is good for relationships because it instills a sense of self-knowledge and the ability to grow and advance, he says.Alex Dimitriu, MD, who is dual-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine. Ideally, these goals are mutual and valued to further the needs of both people in the relationship, she adds.

Everything starts with self-awareness

Without this crucial insight into the things holding you back, self-improvement cannot take place. In other words, the first step is to identify the issues that you need to change.

Being aware of why you are the way you are and how you got there can affect how you interact with others, says Pillow. People get into trouble when they assume that all of their reactions are related to the other person and not based on ingrained patterns within themselves.

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Here's an example: Let's say your child didn't put the dishes away as requested. You might get mad at her because her instinct is to see clearing the dishes as a sign of disrespect for your upbringing. But with some awareness of this pattern, you'd better step back and not come to the conclusion that your child is being disrespectful. Maybe they just forgot, and failure is not an indictment of your position as a parent.

"You have to know yourself instead of assuming that everyone is wrong and that the feelings you have are based on reality when they aren't," says Pillow. "We cannot be effective with others if we are not effective with ourselves."

Roman says it opened his eyes to discovering all the things he avoided when he was still drinking. “People's personalities were different. But they haven't changed," he says. "My perception has changed since I was no longer under the influence."

It is important to help children

"The idea of ​​'self-sufficiency' almost seems like a joke when you're just trying to get through the day looking after the kids," says Pillow. "But if a parent isn't doing well and, for example, loses their temper very easily, including them in caring for themselves will make them take better care of their children, too."

How self-improvement projects affect self-esteem has to do with a concept called "mastery," he says.Pablo Green, Ph.D., cognitive behavioral therapist in New York City. Mastery refers to anything you do that makes you feel accomplished, like paying the bills or cooking dinner for your family, Greene says. "When we have that sense of mastery, it makes us feel good and maintains a sense of self-worth."

For example, if a man goes to a nutritionist to improve his diet and lose weight, seeing the number on the scale go down will make him feel better in many ways, Greene says.

In fact, every healthy behavior you engage in makes you feel more grounded and balanced, adds Pillow.

It can help you regulate emotions

Learning to manage feelings when they arise makes people less reactive, which makes it easier to communicate effectively with others, says Pillow. But when working on yourself seems too difficult or overwhelming, self-improvement can help you regulate your emotions without even realizing it.

"When we regulate our emotions more effectively, we are less susceptible to emotions that can damage relationships, like anger and depression," says Greene. "Some parts of emotion regulation are a conscious effort, others we just learn."

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Research suggests that exercise, for exampleimproves moodand it helps reduce the risk of depression, Greene notes, so regular exercise makes people less susceptible to it, as well as other negative emotional states.

"Exercise by itself doesn't make us immune, but it's part of what it takes to regulate emotions," he says.

A healthy Mediterranean diet — which tends to be high in vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and lean protein — may also improve emotional regulation, Loma Linda University researchers concluded in a study.Study 2014. The authors found a positive correlation between diet and people's emotional clarity.

Greene, who is also an expert in mindfulness-based stress relief, says meditation and mindfulness training can be especially helpful for dealing with difficult emotions like fear and anger.

It can help you be more present with your loved ones.

For example, learning to manage anxiety can help you be more present in your communication with your children and partner.

"It will allow for better communication and better relationships," says Greene. "It's kind of a generalization, but I think it's true."

Good energy breeds good energy, Appleman adds. When he started taking care of himself, his outlook on life improved, as did his well-being.

"It motivated me and made me feel healthy about where I wanted to go all along," he says. "I'm excited and happy for life and ready to find things out."

Helps you model healthy behaviors for your children

Children pay close attention to what their parents do and how they live their lives. "So when they see their parents appreciating their physical and emotional health, they learn their lesson that it's worth doing," says Greene.

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Ironically, however, it can be children who prevent parents from modeling healthy self-improvement. They may feel they should change something, such as For example, they regularly see a therapist or go to the gym, but they worry that making time for themselves, away from their family, is selfish.

"Many parents are reluctant to work on self-improvement because of this, and some even worry that taking time for themselves could upset their children," says Greene. "Some parents have little tolerance for their children's dissatisfaction, for whatever reason."

But learning to tolerate uncomfortable emotional states is a necessary coping skill in life, he says.

"If parents have a 100 percent success rate at helping their child avoid negative emotional states, that child is not ready to face life," says Greene.

yes it can be too good

Of course, there are caveats to the hard work that self-improvement can do to improve relationships. For example, spending all your family's waking hours at the gym every weekend will obviously not improve your relationship with them. You also won't become so obsessed with your AppleWatch's health data that you can't pay attention to conversations with your partner.

When your kids or partner start making comments that you seem obsessive, it could be a red flag that you're taking your self-improvement too far. Constantly brooding over your project in a way that makes you unhappy is another unhealthy sign. (Being sober is an exception, however, because it can and should be exhausting for people, Greene says.)

Self-improvement can be great and positive, but not when it springs from a feeling that you need to improve because something is missing or inadequate, Greene continues.

"People who don't think they're good enough may constantly embark on self-improvement projects," he says. They can be useful, but if they're just there to reinforce the idea that you need to improve, it can erode your self-esteem, he says.

"The mindset that you go into these things is crucial," he explains. "If you go to the gym and think, 'This is going to benefit my health so I can be there when my kids go to college,' that's a great attitude. But if you go to the gym and think, 'I have to say this Fit Fat Ass,' that mindset may have some physical but less psychological benefit."

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Ultimately, self-improvement doesn't have to be time-consuming, difficult, or expensive. Taking small steps every day to become a better person can make a big impact. For example, noticing one thing each day that you are grateful for can help you feel more positive about how you live your life. As Pillow says, "You don't have to do 10 hours of intensive care therapy a week to make changes happen."


How can taking care of yourself help in resolving an unhealthy relationship? ›

5 Self-Care Tips To Help You Survive In Unhealthy Relationships
  1. Do Not Isolate Yourself. As much as your partner needs support, so do you. ...
  2. Keep Your Own Interests. ...
  3. Do Not Engage In Unhealthy Behaviour. ...
  4. Take A Time Out. ...
  5. Know When You're In Over Your Head.

How do you take care of yourself in a relationship? ›

Tips for self care when you're in a relationship
  1. Start a hobby. ...
  2. Set aside time for yourself. ...
  3. Have boundaries. ...
  4. Make time for friends. ...
  5. Try not to be too dependent. ...
  6. Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

Why the relationship with yourself is important? ›

At the end of the day, your relationship with yourself is incredibly important for maintaining your mental health and your interpersonal relationships. Your self-relationship impacts how you see yourself, talk to yourself, and interact with others — meaning it can help or hurt you in every other aspect of your life.

How do you stay emotionally healthy in a relationship? ›

  1. Actively seek change in your relationship. ...
  2. View the challenges you encounter as opportunities rather than problems. ...
  3. Respect all the feelings you have for each other. ...
  4. Keep the laughter in your love life. ...
  5. Pay attention to how you feel when your lover is not around. ...
  6. Listen to your body, not your mind.
Jan 9, 2023

What does self care in a relationship look like? ›

Self-care can be defined as prioritizing your emotional, physical, spiritual needs over those of others (partner, kids, family, work). In intimate long-term relationships, there is no self without the other.

What do relationships teach us about ourselves? ›

Your relationship gives you an opportunity to learn how to control your anger, your reactions, and your defensiveness, so you can find new ways of being affection, giving, and respectful of your partner's differences. It causes you to let someone depend on you.

What does true love feel like for a man? ›

They enjoy seeing you as much as you enjoy seeing them. True love feels like looking at the other, and knowing that they are really looking back at you, not a projection of the person they think you should be. This also means that you and your partner will prioritize each other's happiness even when things get messy.

What is the biggest change you make when you start falling in love? ›

You become happier.

Being in love releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain's reward and pleasure center, which makes couples feel happy around each other.

What men need in a relationship? ›

Clear communication, respect, and honesty can go a long way in helping them open up and reveal their innermost desires or insecurities. While you need to pay attention to their unspoken words and cues, giving them their personal space is also important in strengthening the relationship and communication further.

What does a real healthy relationship look like? ›

Healthy relationships involve honesty, trust, respect and open communication between partners and they take effort and compromise from both people. There is no imbalance of power. Partners respect each other's independence, can make their own decisions without fear of retribution or retaliation, and share decisions.

What does healthy self-love look like? ›

Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.

How does self-care lead to self-love? ›

Self-care can help us to get to a point where we love ourselves. If we begin to prioritise self-care (however hard it may be), that can slowly help us to feel a little more 'human'. Self-care can teach us that actually, we do deserve to be cared for. We do deserve to be looked after.

What is the most important relationship in your life? ›

Your Relationship with The Self

This, really, is the most important relationship in your life. You are the person that you spend most time with, and you will like some parts of yourself and not others. You need to come to terms with who you are, be comfortable with that, and have confidence in who that person is.

How do you help someone get out of an unhealthy relationship? ›

Be a patient listener – let your friend know that you hear what they're saying and that you'll support whatever they decide to do. Remind your friend that they deserve respect, honesty, and open communication. Help them to see that abuse is never okay – and that it's never their fault.

What is the best way to remove unhealthy relationships? ›

  1. Make a commitment. Decide once and for all you're going to end it. ...
  2. Enlist support from family and friends. ...
  3. Make a clean break. ...
  4. Don't try to be friends. ...
  5. Don't feel you need to rescue your partner. ...
  6. Fill the void.
Apr 23, 2013

What is the best way to end an unhealthy relationship? ›

And while it may seem scary to end an unhealthy relationship, there are ways to do it safely.
Initiate the conversation
  • Tell your significant other you want to talk with them about something important (time and place). ...
  • Be brief and direct. ...
  • Exit the situation.

What kills a healthy relationship? ›

Lack of Trust

Jealousy. Snooping. Blaming. Questioning their relationships with other people.

What can destroy a healthy relationship? ›

8 Ways to Ruin Your Relationship
  • Take your partner for granted. There's no better way to help hurry the end of the relationship than to just assume your partner is always there to make your life easier. ...
  • Stop talking. ...
  • Stop expressing your feelings. ...
  • Stop listening. ...
  • Kill the fun. ...
  • Nitpick. ...
  • Threaten. ...
  • Ignore your partner.

Am I being toxic in a relationship? ›

Having a superiority complex could be a sign of a toxic relationship waiting to happen. Contemptuous people destroy relationships because they see their partner as inferior. Rolling your eyes, curling your lip in disgust, or using a sarcastic tone with your partner are just a few telltale signs of a toxic relationship.

What is Breadcrumbing? ›

Breadcrumbing is the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal social signals (i.e. "breadcrumbs") in order to lure a romantic partner in without expending much effort.

How do you know when to let go of a relationship? ›

15 Signs It Is Time to Let Go of Your Relationship
  1. You are not being yourself. ...
  2. You are not genuinely happy. ...
  3. You want different things. ...
  4. You are constantly criticized and barely appreciated. ...
  5. The passion and the good times are gone. ...
  6. You feel lonely most of the time. ...
  7. You are trying too hard and compromise a lot.
Apr 12, 2021

What is the nicest way to end a relationship? ›

What to Say and How to Say It
  1. Tell your BF or GF that you want to talk about something important.
  2. Start by mentioning something you like or value about the other person. ...
  3. Say what's not working (your reason for the break-up). ...
  4. Say you want to break up. ...
  5. Say you're sorry if this hurts. ...
  6. Say something kind or positive.

What does a toxic boyfriend say? ›

An abusive partner might say things that make you doubt the security of the relationship, or even your own self-worth: “You're lucky I'm with you. I could have anyone.” “If you don't want to have sex with me, I'll find someone else who will.”

Why do some people stay in unhealthy relationships? ›

Some people feel unworthy

At the same time, an unhealthy relationship tends to lead to lower self-worth and an increased tendency to remain in the relationship over time. People may also cope with an abusive situation by feeling embarrassed or ashamed, especially if they experienced abuse while growing up.


1. Happiness Expert REVEALS The Common Habits DECREASING Your Lifespan! | Dacher Keltner
(Dr Rangan Chatterjee)
2. How giving black women time for self-care benefits the whole community
(PBS NewsHour)
3. Stephan Speaks | How to Improve ALL of Your Relationships | SDSC Retreat 2019
4. How Getting to Know Yourself Better Will Benefit Your Relationship | Sara Fakhraei, Couple Therapist
(Couples Therapist OC)
5. 5 Benefits of Self Care
(Fairyland Cottage)
6. Benefits of Self Love & Self Care
(WildPhlower Wellness)


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